Recent comments

  • Sharpshooters To Begin Reducing Elk Herds in Rocky Mountain National Park   5 years 46 weeks ago

    On my first trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, I was absolutely amazed at the number of elk. I have been numerous times since then and have never failed to see the animals. In the winter even Estes Park has them roaming downtown. I hate that any have to be killed.

  • “10 Best National Parks”? National Geographic, You Have Got to be Kidding!   5 years 46 weeks ago

    All lists like this are subjective, but I wonder about the credibility of one that doesn't include Yellowstone but does include New Orleans Jazz Park. I agree with the above posts that Rocky Mountain National Park should always been under consideration for inclusion on a ten best parks list.

  • Yosemite National Park Returns To Square One on Yosemite Valley Plan   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Let's hope the NPS can get there act together this time. A good start would be to just rebuild what is already in Yosemite Valley rather than try to urbanize more land that was reclaimed by mother nature when the Merced River flooded. With the exception of the Ahwahnee Hotel and some employee lodging, just about everything in the valley is in a sorry state of disrepair.

  • Where in the World is Paul Fugate?   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Thanks, Rick for this update on the Fugate case. I remember reading a quite lengthy article in the L.A. Times in 1983 about the case and some of the background information that you mentioned. The speculation was that he was abducted by criminals when he stumbled into an illiegal activity. I seem to recall mention in the article of witnesses who thought they saw Mr Fugate in the company of possible criminal types several days after he vanished. This was never confirmed. The Chiricahua National Monument is so rugged that a plane that vanished there in 1956 was not found until a back country hiker stumbled into the wreckage in 1965.

  • The Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges   5 years 46 weeks ago

    It depends on which park you're visiting, Bob. Some folks use RVs, some stay in cabins, some parks offer tent-cabins.

  • Remember, No Mardis Gras Beads or Dry Ice While Floating at Niobrara National Scenic River   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Well, until NPS gets some Protection Rangers with enforcement authority on the river, these rules will mean absolutely nothing.

  • The Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges   5 years 46 weeks ago

    How do you stay withing the park but not stay at a lodge, if your not camping ?

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Beamis, contradictions abound in life. As do disagreements and disparaging. Some folks like some "facts," but not others.

    Neither time nor space allow for a thorough dissection of these points, but suffice to say that there is no possible way to get 535 people to agree unanimously on anything. Probably not even on the sun coming up in the morning in the east.

    Likewise, you can't change an entire nation's habits overnight. I see no hypocrisy in exploring the wonders of the National Park System while at the same time offering climate change education and trying to work on solutions.

    As for your position on climate change, I've seen no evidence of cooling, only of ice sheets breaking up, hotter-than-usual weather, and stormier weather in many parts of the world. Here are some sites that do a much better job than I ever possibly could in addressing your denial:

    http://www.grist.org/article/series/skeptics/

    http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2007/07/23/anti-global-heating-claims-a-reasonably-thorough-debunking/

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11462

    I particularly like this passage from that last site: If you believe that tens of thousands of scientists are colluding in a massive conspiracy, nothing anyone can say is likely to dissuade you.

    http://www.climate.org/topics/climate-change/debunking-climate-change-myths.html

    Happy reading!

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Shuttle systems can often make a big difference in parks where heavy road congestion is a problem and parking is scarce. To say that they also help solve environmental problems is probably a bit of a stretch because these various conveyances all come with their own set of strengths and weaknesses as it relates to impacts, real or imagined, upon our planet's health.

    I grew up using mass transit so it seems like a good idea to me to implement these systems in parks that closely resemble urban cores during busy peak times of usage. The thing to remember is that the true history of the NPS is one of intensive road building with which to facilitate access for the public via personal transport. It was all a part of a 20th-century auto culture which pervaded the land and was actively promoted through an interlocking relationship with government and industry that bestowed upon us the interstates, cheap government subsidized FHA loans which helped to sprout tract houses by the square mile on former farm land (we now call it sprawl) and the degradation and eventual demise of most interurban rail systems, as well as the death of many urban cores. Federal government policy with the direct connivance of Big Oil, Big Rubber and the Big Three auto makers in the last century produced the present face of America as we know it today. The development of national parks followed along many of these same trajectories and in most ways still does.

    It may take a while for the public to change their habits and accept a ride on mass transit as a viable means of enjoying a national park visit. It has not been part of the equation for most visitors until recently so it may take some more getting used to. Where they fit, I'm all for 'em.

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Geez Frank, with all the hypocrisy on this site, it really does amaze me that you read it.

    Kurt, I read your site for the same reason I did as RangerX: it's the best place for national park news not found anywhere else, and it's also the best national park discussion forum on the web. My intention is not to sh*t on your work, but just to point out a few inconsistencies in tone among global warming alarmists. I think Beamis summed up my intentions well. I've tried to take a humorous approach to a charged topic. At any rate, I am off topic and will sign off on this thread.

    Thanks for allowing my comments. I'd be more than happy to make a donation--as I do for several blogs I read--to NPT for the services it provides.

    Thanks again.

  • Dinosaur National Monument: More Than You Can Imagine   5 years 46 weeks ago

    I hate the way monuments in Colorado keep getting converted into Parks just so they'll get more visitors (and yes, Dinosaur is in Colorado as well as Utah). Keep it a monument.

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 46 weeks ago

    And in midst of the above discussion--I welcome the park shuttle systems described in the story as one positive - if even small - change from the status quo.

  • Glorieta Pass Civil War Battlefield Finally Gets an Interpretive Trail   5 years 46 weeks ago

    I took the ranger-led tour of the Glorieta battlefield three years ago. It was interesting enough, but the most memorable thing about it was the ranger -- a real contrarian who delighted in poking holes in all my (admittedly limited) historical understandings of the West, the Civil War, the United States, etc.

    At that time, the park was struggling to preserve a ranch building along the side of the road that was one of the few remaining historical structures from the battle era. I believe it was used as shelter and hospital during and after the fight. I was told the building was slated to be demolished for a road widening project. Does anyone know if they were successful in preserving the site?

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Kurt I think that Frank C is just taking all of this climate change nonsense, which it most certainly is, to its logical conclusion. Here we have a government that is going to tax free enterprise out of existence with "cap & trade" legislation, that no one on Capitol Hill apparently bothered to read, while at the same time encouraging people to visit national parks in their carbon spewing autos. Shovel ready stimulus projects are all about carbon spewing road construction which just creates more sprawl and more roads for cars. What gives with these guys? Should their stand on anything be taken seriously?

    Remember this is the same government that spends trillions of borrowed and printed out of thin air dollars blowing up territory and innocent civilians on a daily basis in southwestern Asia while running the largest carbon spewing war machine in the history of the world. Does anyone ever stop to think about how much fuel is consumed and exhaust created by this brimstone belching death machine?

    The truth of the matter is that there are many contradictions in this debate and mass transit is often just as messy and carbon spewing as private cars. Since I don't believe in human caused global warming, remember I bet everyone last year that the earth was going to be cooling (and so far it looks like I'm right), I don't have a dog in this fight. Global warming is truly one of the greatest hoaxes in all of human history.

    So when Frank C takes the opportunity to point out the contradictions in the logic that is inherent in this ridiculous debate I generally cheer him on from the sidelines, mostly because his stuff is often funny (and tongue in cheek), well thought out and backed up by some facts. The mendacity of those who would try to spook us into fearing that planetary evil known as carbon dioxide, which I happen to exhale on a regular basis, is something that should be lampooned and laughed at by those of us who can see this issue for what it really is: a power grab by false saviors.

    I know the plants in my neighborhood really appreciate the carbon being exhaled and spewed in their direction and I reciprocate much thanks for the oxygen given back in return. Now that is what I call being a good neighbor on this here Mothership.

  • Sections of Pacific Crest Trail Poached by Mountain Bikers; Could Problems Arise in National Parks?   5 years 46 weeks ago

    There are iresponisble Mountain Bikers, hikers and horse people alike. For the last 35 years I regularly enjoy our trail systems in all three ways. Common sense, and frankly (kind) policing those that choose to break rules will keep these trails enjoyable for all.

    After all, trail maintaince is the responsibility of us all. Extending the use to many will help to keep those same trail systems growing with the internest of the public that uses them.

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Unless it's derived from wind or solar??? Since when is wiping out thousands of acres of wild land, only to string thousands of miles of inefficient powerlines the answer?!

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Damn, Frank, ya got me.

    I'm no earth scientist, I'm a leftist hypocrite, and I drank the climate-change Kool-Aid.

    I've placed misguided belief in scientists who are not fly-by-nighters beholden to environmental terrorists but rather who have made careers out of studying the Earth and its systems and how humans impact those systems.

    I've pledged blind faith to the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change, a scientific body comprised of some of the best scientific minds in the world, one that is said to reflect the consensus of the international scientific community, one that publishes reports -- based on peer-reviewed studies, mind you -- only after they are gone through line by line and word by word and approved by all member countries.

    I read E.O. Wilson.

    Too, I've been misled to learn that CO2 isn't the only greenhouse gas driving the climate, but that others impacting the atmosphere include methane, nitrous oxide, the entire family of hydrofluorocarbons, the entire family of perfluorocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride, nitrogen trifluoride, trifluoromethyl sulphur pentafluoride, halogenated ethers, and other halocarbons, and so obviously have wrongly come to accept that there's not just one culprit.

    I've also taken the IPCC's word that "carbon dioxide radiative forcing increased by 20% from 1995 to 2005, the largest change for any decade in at least the last 200 years."

    (*Radiative forcing is a measure of the influence that a factor has in altering the balance of incoming and outgoing energy in the Earth-atmosphere system and is an index of the importance of the factor as a potential climate change mechanism -- IPCC, 2007: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.)

    I could continue, but you get the point, and you refute the point.

    Global temperature change and "environmental Armageddon"? This from a September 2008 Washington Post article:

    Moreover, new scientific research suggests Earth is already destined for a greater worldwide temperature rise than previously predicted. Last month, two scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of California at San Diego published research showing that even if humans stopped generating greenhouse gases immediately, the world's average temperature would "most likely" increase by 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they based their calculations on the fact that new air-quality measures worldwide are reducing the amount of fine particles, or aerosols, in the atmosphere and diminishing their cooling effect.

    The IPCC has warned that an increase of between 3.2 and 9.7 degrees Fahrenheit could trigger massive environmental changes, including major melting of the Greenland ice sheet, the Himalayan-Tibetan glaciers and summer sea ice in the Arctic. The prediction that current emissions put the planet on track for a temperature rise of more than 11 degrees Fahrenheit, Le Quéré said, means the world could face a dangerous rise in sea level as well as other drastic changes.

    Richard Moss, vice president and managing director for climate change at the World Wildlife Fund, said the new carbon figures and research show that "we're already locked into more warming than we thought."

    "We should be worried, really worried," Moss said. "This is happening in the context of trying to reduce emissions."

    The new data also show that forests and oceans, which naturally take up much of the carbon dioxide humans emit, are having less impact. These "natural sinks" have absorbed 54 percent of carbon dioxide emissions since 2000, a drop of 3 percent compared with the period between 1959 and 2000.

    But then, you no doubt view media as leftist pawns.

    You're right, Frank. To avoid hypocrisy the Traveler should be a fear-mongering portal that urges the NPS to lock the gates to the parks and tells travelers to stay at home, sell their cars, and cancel their electrical service unless it's derived from solar or wind power. Of course, I suppose we should also pull the plug on the Traveler itself to save the planet so folks don't waste electricity by firing up their own computers to read our drivel.

    You're right. Let's let somebody else try to build more advocates for the national parks, let someone else point out the current science, the growing impacts of climate change on the parks and their resources, the possible solutions that we all can participate in.

    Geez Frank, with all the hypocrisy on this site, it really does amaze me that you read it.

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 46 weeks ago

    :) AMEN!

  • Park Shuttle Bus Systems are Growing in Popularity Around the Country.   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Frank, a climate change convertee?;-)

    Still a skeptic. (Or, if you prefer the UN's and Al Gore's smears, use "denier".)

    People are going to travel.

    Especially if the hospitality lobby gets involved. (Aramark, a government-granted monopolistic concessionaire, gives money to the National Park Foundation, which in turn, encourages travel to parks.)

    Then there's NPT, which has on several occasions sounded the alarm on anthropogenic climate change's predicted effects on national parks. And in almost the next CO2 exhaling breath, NPT encourages people to travel to national parks, and as a result, generate more CO2 for non-essential travel.

    Statist, collectivist undertones permeate each post and their comments; "we" (the state) must act to protect parks; "we" (the state) must do something to halt catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.

    It's extremely hypocritical to ask the government to do something (through coercive means) to stop a supposed future environmental catastrophe while simultaneously and actively encouraging such actions that will supposedly bring about the aforementioned catastrophe. Equally complicit in the hypocrisy are the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation, National Parks Traveler, and many other governmental and leftist organizations that use fear to wrest increasing amounts of power and money from the People.

    If you really believe a slight increase in CO2, a TRACE gas--comprising a scant 0.038% of the atmosphere--will bring about environmental Armageddon, then walk the walk. Live a simple life without electricity, cars, plastic, computers, or any of the modern world's conveniences, and eliminate your "carbon footprint".

    But please stop lobbying the Federal government. Government intervention--in the form of cap and trade--essentially taxes production, and that tax will be passed on to you and me, the consumers. I don't know about you, but I'm currently paying 50% of my income to the State, was recently laid off (thankfully found another job), and am suffering from government-induced inflation, which has driven up the cost of energy and food. Creating a massive bureaucracy reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions .1 degree C by the 2090s is sheer lunacy in this economic crisis.

  • Get Your Free National Parks "Owner's Guide" From The National Park Foundation   5 years 46 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing this information, Kurt.

    This looks like a useful guide, the price is sure right, and the fact that it's available for download saves a lot of paper vs. a printed guide.

  • Reader Participation Day: Tell Us Your "Dream" National Park Vacation   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Mine would be to take a driving journey through the Rocky Mountains & adjacent parks. I would begin at Mesa Verde (or one could start at Grand Canyon and include Monument Valley) then go through Canyonlands and Arches. Then I would go through Colorado National Monument then up to Dinosaur National Monument. From there I would travel US 40 to Colorado 14 and over Cameron Pass then down into Estes Park and into and through Rocky Mountain National Park. From the Western Side of Rocky Mountain, I would go up to Grand Teton through Dubois. After spending time also in Jackson WY, I would go up to Yellowstone (spending at least 5 days there) and then up to Glacier/Waterton. One could also continue north to the Baniff/Lake Louise area. To do this trip justice, it would require at least a month and you would usually need several days at most parks. However, you would see some of the most beautiful scenery and diversity (as well as a plethora of animals - raptors [Bald & Golden Eagles plus numerous Hawks & Owls), mammal preditors (Wolves, Grizzly and Black Bear, Coyotes, Fox, Badger, Marten among others) and ungulates (Mule and White Tail Deer, Elk, Pronghorn, Moose, Moutain Goat & Sheep and Bison) as well as many, many birds, and small animals) that the National Park System can provide in the Western US.

  • Senator From North Dakota Trying to Legislate Elk Management in Theodore Roosevelt National Park   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Will you see these very same "riders" on Congressional appropriations bills as being so detrimental when it produces funding for something you agree with?

    I know I'm a little late to this particular party, but I think it's fair to accuse folks of favoring riders for their projects but rejecting riders for other projects.

    IMO, the great flaw is the way in which bills are written into law, not the result. A good result is only an accidental result in our current process.

    What has happened, and what I think would make some of our founders cringe (although I think they suspected it would happen), is how these things get passed not by intelligent analysis and debate, but on favoritism and kickback and re-election and fear. Our current Congress is so unconcerned with facts and intelligence and discourse it is shameful. Most, if not all, bills are voted on unread. They are subjected to what passes as "debate": a series of crafted attacks, party-supporting arguments, and veiled threats to strip dissenters from favor. They are NOT subjected to analysis on whether or not a bill will actually move the nation forward. And the act of a Congressperson attaching a rider to an unrelated bill due to some parliamentary flim-flam is cynicism at its worst.

    If our own elected officials don't respect and honor the integrity of the democratic process, then who will?

    ============================================

    My travels through the National Park System: americaincontext.com

  • Senator From North Dakota Trying to Legislate Elk Management in Theodore Roosevelt National Park   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Just as with the current system, those with the best political connections likely would get the greatest largess.

    Sort of like Bank of America, Citi-Group, GM, Chrysler, Goldman Sachs, Haliburton, Blackwater, Boeing, AIG, General Electric and Wells Fargo?

    Yeah, I see what you mean.

    I wonder what kind of shenanigans the lobbyist representing Yosemite would be able to wangle in Washington? Or the lawyers representing Yellowstone? Could it be much worse than the current system? Maybe.....maybe not.

    Good thread Kurt.

  • Senator From North Dakota Trying to Legislate Elk Management in Theodore Roosevelt National Park   5 years 47 weeks ago

    Tracking earmarks is not always easily done. Sometimes the information quickly pops up under a Google search, sometimes it doesn't. Google today and you'll find a 2005 list of park-related earmarks totaling a bit more than $4 million.

    But as I noted earlier this year, tens of millions of dollars are earmarked for a wide variety of NPS projects.

    I'm not so sure, Beamis, that turning to NGO-administration of national parks would end the earmarks, either. Congressfolk already direct millions and millions of dollars to NGOs for a variety of projects. You can explore this issue at this site.

    As of yet I've seen no convincing argument or model for abandoning the current management system of the national parks as a whole. At least there's a central hierarchy -- regardless of what you think of it -- that in theory tries to balance all the needs of the national parks. Toss that out and turn to a system of 391 NGOs and I fear the unevenness of funding and management will grow even greater. Just as with the current system, those with the best political connections likely would get the greatest largess.

  • Senator From North Dakota Trying to Legislate Elk Management in Theodore Roosevelt National Park   5 years 47 weeks ago

    I'm glad to hear your opinions on this subject Jim and Kurt and believe that this issue touches on a much bigger problem in American life, namely an out of control spendthrift government awash in a sea of unpaid debt.

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090704/D997DOMG0.html

    The system is what is and as Jim said it probably won't change any time soon. Having said that does anyone have a general idea how much pork per fiscal year is park related? Would changing the present system cut out a stream of funding that is not getting to the parks through the regular appropriation process?

    It goes without saying that I have been a consistent proponent of alternative NGO administration of the national parks. The current malady called Federal governance is beyond repair and the day of reckoning for this house of cards is close at hand. This thread has attempted to address but one small issue in a galaxy of dysfunction and corruption emanating from that den of thieves on the Potomac. The time to get the parks into more capable hands is NOW!