Recent comments

  • Big Cypress National Preserve: Is More ORV Access In Bear Island Unit Wise?   5 years 48 weeks ago

    You have two types of ORV riders. First you have the mature type who cruise checking out the scenery or going to there hunting camps all while respecting nature and following existing trails. Then, you have the retard punks doing the mud wheelies and donuts or going thru untraveled routes making new ruts and trails. We all suffer from the irresponsible idiot who only cares about his thrill not the natural beauty. I know plenty of airboat and buggy guys who go out of their way to tread as lightly as possible. Live by the rule "tread lightly."

  • First Ladies National Historic Site Struggles to Attract Visitors   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Come on, Bob. You know this park is a political boondoggle and is a poster child for the dilution of the National Park System. It was created Congressman Regula and his wife is the chair of the First Ladies Library Association. Two of the Regula’s daughters also work at the park.

    As for the cost per visitor. What about Isle Royale National Park? It got only 11,025 visitors last year and visitation is decreasing. Yet, it costs $4 million a year to operate and the NPS is asking for a $500,000 increase for 2009. I will agree that this is a significant resource and an important part of the National Park System. But at $400 a visitor, is that a valid expense?

    By comparison, in 2007, First Ladies NHS got more visitors than Isle Royale: 11,112***, and costs $1 million to operate, for $91 per visitor.

    *** [Ed: According to NPS official stats, the 2007 tally of recreational visits at First Ladies NHS was 10,881]

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   5 years 48 weeks ago

    "When seconds count law enforcement is only minutes away" I learned this first hand.

  • Wyoming Congressional Delegation Pushing Interior Secretary To Move on Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Maybe it was just a poorly inferred analogy, but the comparison between a human body's need (requirement, actually) for water and our nation's "need" for oil lacks substance and accuracy. We all understand that evolutional development within the human species has left us composed of approximately 78% water (saline in nature, as were whatever our ancestors were) and we therefore have a definitive need for water-based fluids and to some degree food sources. Without thought processes wandering into the abstract, without regular consumption of water in some form, from whatever the source, the human animal ceases to exist.

    Conversely, the national "need" for petroleum is by choice, not by any manner of requirement. The basis for our initial industrial development was the coal-fired and steam generation engines, not any sort of petroleum based product. Petrol is a convenience, not a necessity by any stretch of the imagination. Ours in an insistence thrust upon us by oil merchants, not the "choice of the people", and this is due solely to a lack of options available to the masses. These options exist, and have existed for decades, and have only been refined and improved during the course of the last twenty or so years to become more compatible with current technologies, but have been effectively blocked by the oil lobby, who strive to maintain complete economic control of the American public not for the good of the masses, but solely to further their own fiscal security. We are a Third-World country in terms of our development of alternative energy sources, due to the small mentality of the pathetic oil barons, who have sold out the nation's economic future for immediate profit. The major "needs" supplied by petroleum products all have alternative sources available IMMEDIATELY. Heating supplies are in almost literally endless supply though geothermal sources. Plastics are now the byproducts of soy and mostly corn, with the added bonus of being 100% biodegradable. Additional heating, lighting and some cooling are easily converted into advanced "Next Gen" multi-layered solar cells, transportation into hydrogen (100% pollution free), water and garbage burning engines, again the availability of which is effectively masked by the oil lobby. But alas, since the people of this nation are generally lazy, and believe the first thing they are told, no matter who the source may be, and are prone to complete gullibility in the doomsday scenario if we proceed with alternative energy development, we as a populace act the good little lemmings diving off the cliff simply because we though we saw someone else do it first, and God forbid we think and act independently and show some backbone and an initiative in taking control of our own future.

    Please spare me the "you don't realize how long it would take to bring these notions to the masses" logic. That usually comes from a lame position of "we can't start a program due to we're lazy and generally content". If we ever intent to lead again, we have no choice but to begin by taking control of our destiny away from both unreliable Middle Eastern sources and corrupt and contemptible internal energy suppliers. Drill for offshore oil? You're only prolonging the problem. With the BILLIONS that it would take to develop new sources, build platforms and refineries, transport and bring the products to market, you could make great strides into the burgeoning "next gen alt en" developing markets, making our national security independent of world politics.
    What a concept, eh? International independence! Something our politicians claim isn't realistic or possible.....

    As long as we, as a nation, remain stuck in the ridiculous "either Rep or Dem" mindset, we are destined to remain part of the problem, not the solution. Get fired up, get the lead out of yourself and Washington, and FORCE enacted change NOW, or be content with the economic woes that lie directly in the path of our future.

  • Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   5 years 48 weeks ago

    I live nearby and from what I read and heard on the local news, the little boy had been eating KFC chicken and had wiped his hands on his clothing. That would indicate to me the bear thought the little boy was a food source and was not attacking a human for the sake of attacking a human. His father was there and took on the bear as well to protect his son, but at that point the bear was probably thinking he was fighting something else for his food source.

  • Stanley W. Abbott, Wizard of the Blue Ridge Parkway   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Bob -

    Stanley Abbott's son, Carlton, has continued in his father's footsteps, and as far as I know, still has his own firm in Williamsburg, Virginia.

    During my years at Colonial National Historical Park, I had the opportunity to attend a number of meetings involving Carlton's projects in the park or surrounding communities. He's a gifted planner and designer in his own right, very sensitive to the NPS mission, and values his connections to the NPS through his dad's career.

    His years growing up in and around parks obviously rubbed off, and it's nice to see such a fine legacy continue.

  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 48 weeks ago

    I WAS THERE!!!!! i am a student who was there in line for breakfast when the huge rockfall happened i ran for my life it was so scary

  • Upon Further Review – A Rare Photo Op   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Well hello, Jim, it's been what, 23 years since we worked together at Big Thicket? My best Big Thicket wildlife siting -- alas no photo -- was a live armadillo. I'd seen so many dead ones upside down on the side of the road that I was taken by complete surprise when a live one walked out of the woods and practically into me in the Turkey Creek Unit. My wife, on the other hand, has never forgotten when a copperhead fell out of an overhead tree and into our canoe on the Lower Neches River.

  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 48 weeks ago


    They've reopened portions of Camp Curry. You can find some news at this site. I'd suggest you call the concessionaire at (801) 559-4884 to get more information.

  • Stanley W. Abbott, Wizard of the Blue Ridge Parkway   5 years 48 weeks ago


    Great article! You were correct in that I had never heard of Mr. Abbott, but have enjoyed his handiwork on many occasions.

    A fall foliage drive is part of my families yearly pilgramages. Living in Richmond Va. allows us to take Va. Rt. 33 towards Harrisonburg, and drive a fairly lengthy stretch across some of the higer Va. peaks southward to Charlottesville, where we can take Va. Rt. 250 back home. This drive can be accomplished in an afternoon, and the route can be reversed if so desired. Some of the vistas highlight either the Shenandoah valley to the West, or the sloping beginning of the Viriginia Piedmont to the East, as the roadway snakes along both sides of the ridges at different points along the route.

    It truly is a marvel of road building engineering, and does reside quite naturally along the spine of the Appalachians. A true wonder for all to see, if you're ever in the area.

    I must pose a hypothetical question concerning this higway, however:

    Would it be allowed to be built in the year 2008, along the same route and untilizing the same construction techniques?

  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 48 weeks ago

    We have reservations in Yosemite starting this Sunday. Have they reopened Camp Curry yet?

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 48 weeks ago

    No cigar, I'm afraid. The four-letter code for Noatak National Park & Preserve is NOAT.

  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial Vandalized   5 years 48 weeks ago

    this is horrible...

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Dear Beenthere and Bob:

    My guess is that "NOAA" is the code for "Noatak National Preserve," the largest park system unit in the administrative collective called the Western Arctic National Parklands.

    Noatak is distinctive as the largest, largely intact river system, including a vast number of tributaries, in the National Park System, although the upper Noatak is actually in Gates of the Arctic NP (intended to encompass mountain systems), and most of the rest in in Noatak (intended to be a valley park, or a watershed).

    Kobuk Valley is the National Park in this Western Arctic collective. These parks should each be managed by separate superintendents.

  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Time to move the "camp". (Aren't camps supposed to be temporary?)

  • Don't Forget Buffalo National River When You're Looking for Fall Foliage   5 years 48 weeks ago

    Charlie -

    Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you've had a chance to enjoy the Buffalo, and that you got to see it before quite so many others "discovered" the area.

    You're correct - many of the local residents, especially those who owned land that would become part of the park, weren't in favor of the idea when a park was proposed.

    I had a lot of contact with a number of those folks during the years I worked at the Buffalo, and I can honestly say that while some of them still weren't happy with the government, they didn't take it out on me as an individual. We made quite a few friends in the area, and had chances to talk about the changes. By the time I moved there in 1986, a lot of locals had come to accept the park, and realized that if it hadn't been established, it was likely that the area would have been flooded under the waters of yet another man-made lake. Under that scenario, the park was definitely the better choice for people who had lived there and used the river for years.

  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 49 weeks ago

    Mother Nature is devastatingly gorgeous.
    Would have been something to see!

  • Don't Forget Buffalo National River When You're Looking for Fall Foliage   5 years 49 weeks ago

    Thanks for the memories.
    I grew up in Mountain Home, Arkansas (about and hour and a half east of Buffalo River) and canoed and camped along the river in the early to mid 1960's.
    I believe this was during the discussions of making the river a National River. Many of the local residents along the river were opposed to the idea of big government taking over 'their' river.

    Thanks Again


  • Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park   5 years 49 weeks ago

    Thank goodness this did not happen in July or August when Camp Curry is packed!

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 49 weeks ago

    Beenthere, you really can't blame Traveler for thinking that NOAA is the four-letter code for Western Arctic National Parklands. The URL for the Western Arctic National Parklands homepage on the publicly accessible Internet is (try it for yourself) and there is no such URL as Perhaps you could explain?

  • Wyoming Congressional Delegation Pushing Interior Secretary To Move on Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan   5 years 49 weeks ago

    "I also wonder about the longevity of snow coach use within the park. If and when snowmobiles are outlawed completely, snow coaches will find themselves squarely in the crosshairs of the same groups that oppose snowmobiles, and the battle will begin anew."

    Good point; but wouldn't it be nice for a change for the Park Service to be able to go to court and say, "We made our decisions based on years of scientific study by both our own internal scientists AND independent study groups, recommendations from the EPA AND public comment after public comment (not just from locals, but from Americans in general....each and every one of whom own Yellowstone); rather than going to court and saying, "We made this decision because this is what a handful of powerful politicians and local business owners want"? I kinda think they would win.
    Yellowstone belongs to all Americans, not just to a handful. The Park Service has a responsibility to protect and preserve our parks; not only for us, but for generations yet unborn. Our parks were never meant to be amusement parks, nor were they ever meant to be places that the common man could not afford to visit. In the winter Yellowstone has turned into both. Even a quick ride on a snow coach into Old Faithful and back costs 140.00 a person! Heaven help an average family of four trying to rent snowmobiles and a guide for the day. They need to take out a second mortgage! Skiers and hikers many miles from the road can still hear snowmobiles buzzing around, and best technology or no, if you are on the road when they go by you can't breathe for 20 minutes. I've been there. Half starved wildlife is unduly stressed at a time of the year when food is scarce and travelling only a few hundred feet in deep snow might be enough to sap their last ounce of strength, but people who are heading for the lodge, a hot chocolate, chef prepared dinner and a warm bed.
    I would be 100% percent in favor of helping out local snowmobile outfitters during a transition period from snowmobiles to snow coaches. Tax credits, low interest loans; even subsidies. These are just honest folks trying to make a living. They shouldn't be made to suffer. But neither should Yellowstone, her employees or her wildlife.

  • Are There Really 391 Units in the National Park System? You Won’t Think So After You Read This!   5 years 49 weeks ago

    Just another slight correction - the acronym for the Western Arctic National Parklands is WEAR, not NOAA. We refer to NOAA often in AK, but it stands for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Or maybe you were thinking of the Northwest Ontario Archivists Association?) Great article, though. I wonder if they'll ever straighten it out?

  • Wyoming Congressional Delegation Pushing Interior Secretary To Move on Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan   5 years 49 weeks ago


    “Huge Internal Combustion Fee”? Give me a break. Just what means of transportation do you employ on a daily basis?

    Every single good or service that you and I benefit from is carried on the back of fossil fuel burning devices, from the food you eat to the computer you use to blog. Gas is dead? Hardly. Even if a viable alternative to IC engines was announced today, it would take at least a decade for that technology to make it to the masses. Also consider the fact that if the next powerplant runs on any media other than a liquid, then the entire fueling infrastructure of the world will have to be retooled. Do you think that’s just going to happen overnight?

    Within that same scenario is the fact that we cannot just dispose of every IC powered craft on Friday afternoon and start with the new technology the following Monday morning. The vehicles, construction equipment, aircraft, ships, et al will have to be phased out over a period of time, probably measured in decades. Fossil fuels will be around until they are depleted, and will probably be replaced by a synthetic after that. IC engines will outlive us all.

    There’s an “Inconvenient Truth” for you.

    I’ve also grown weary of this whole “Addiction to Oil” mentality. To say this country is addicted to oil is akin to saying the human body is addicted to water. It is an absolute necessity, not something we crave.

    Am I for cleaner transportation technology? Absolutely. Am I for bettering the environment through reducing harmful emmissions? Without a doubt. But until we have a viable alternative, we must continue to use the best available modes of transport available to us, and not demonize them.

  • Assateague Island National Seashore Rangers Troll Internet For Big Catch   5 years 49 weeks ago

    Granted she was wrong. The comment regarding the ORV and that those fisherman should be banned from the beach - that's just plain ignorant. Banned from the beach???? What is this world coming to?

  • Wyoming Congressional Delegation Pushing Interior Secretary To Move on Yellowstone Snowmobile Plan   5 years 49 weeks ago

    @anon: IMO, a fee would send the wrong signal. If motorized recreational vehicles are detrimental to either the resources of a park or the experience of that park by other visitors (which is of course a resource in itself), then they should not be taxed, but banned. A high fee means: It is OK to endanger the park or diminish the recreation of others for your personal fun if you can afford it.

    And that is not only true for purely recreational vehicles. If should apply to cars as well. Shuttle buses (and maybe trams where applicable) should replace individual cars in a lot of parks. But that is a long term thing, because funding will certainly not be easy for the foreseeable future.