Recent comments

  • Lost Backpackers Reunited with Families at Denali National Park   6 years 10 weeks ago

    I repeat myself when I say that I'm truly thankful that these two women were found alive and well. But I can't help but wonder why they would venture out without a GPS unit considering that they cost less than $100 and only weigh five ounces.

    Yes, it would be dumb to go hiking without a good map and compass and the knowledge to use them, but a little emergency backup technology might have been a real life-saver in this situation.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 10 weeks ago

    I doubt serious if any of these people had a concealed carry permit and I don't know of any one that has a concealed carry permit, including myself, that engages in such stupidity.
    That's one big problem, everyone seams to think that any one who has a concealed carry permit is like these guys, and that's simply not true.
    Unfortunately, people like these guys give a bad name to all people who own guns.
    These people you speak of are the ones that should not own guns and are a thorn in the side to the rest of us who do.

  • National Park Quiz 7: Islands   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Bob,

    You've pulled a fast one. The Cat Island in your photo is from Gulf Islands National Seashore, not Apostle Islands National Lakeshore as noted in question 5. Very clever!

    Here's a link to our Cat Island...
    http://www.fws.gov/arsnew/photos/printfriendly/Cat_I_Dune_AINL1.JPG

    Bob Krumenaker
    Superintendent
    Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

    PS 11 of 11!

  • Guns in the Parks: A Bad Idea   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Chris Chubb:

    If you do run into a meth lab or back country marijuana farm run by a foreign cartel, they will use AK-47's to keep you from ever leaving. That's what happened a ranger quite recently. How helpful is your handgun going to be in those circumstances?

    Countertop:

    You have the law wrong. You can carry a firearm in a national park provided it is unloaded an inoperable. No need to re-route your trip; just keep your gun in the trunk. Moreover, your claims in your second post evidently re-stating John Lott's "More Guns, Less Crime" have been widely debunked. That study relied on data generated from 1977-1992; examination of subsequent data reveals that states with the most restrictive gun laws actually enjoyed substantially reduced crime rates, comparable to or greater than those of states who adopted concealed carry laws, or otherwise allowed "shall carry laws." Interestingly, the rates of forcible rape in "shall carry" jurisdictions was markedly higher than in "no carry" areas. See Ayres and Donohue, "Shooting Down "More Guns, Less Crime," Stanford Law Review. It is one of many studies that rely on Lott's data, and subsequent data, to arrive at decidedly different conclusions.

    Note to others:

    Criminals don't start out as criminals the day they buy their weapons. 53% of women killed in domestic disputes are killed by gun owners, most of whom did not have criminal records and have no prior history of criminal activity. Not everyone that has a gun is a good guy, and the deterrent effect of "the armed good guys" has been proven to be quite modest, and at times completely illusory. It is inconceivable to imagine that back country gatherings, which many rangers report are conducted with copious amounts of alcohol and (often) illegal drugs, could be rendered more safe if every back-country hiker were armed.

    And to those of you scared of wild animals, an interesting point; Brown bears killed a total of 18 people between 1980 and 1995 (Herrero); that's 2 people in America per year. Your chances of getting hit by lightning are far greater than your chance of being attacked by a wild animal. I've encountered black bears on trails, and they scrupulously avoid people. Heck, even grizzlies don't consider humans prey, most often limiting their attacks to hunters who are going after them.

    On the off chance that a grizzly does attack you unprovoked, pepper spray is a lot more effective than a gun, unless your gun happens to be a .44 Mag or a Desert Eagle.

  • National Park Quiz 7: Islands   6 years 10 weeks ago

    It was Kurt, Kurt, Kurt that done the deed, not me. I do thank you very kindly, MRC, for extending me this opportunity to score a rare weaselspeak double today.

  • National Park Quiz 7: Islands   6 years 10 weeks ago

    First of all a big thank you for your quizzes. They are great, even if they show a certain bias to National Seashores. But I'd like to repeat my comment from the second quiz: Please use other filenames for the pictures that accompany the quizzes, as your normal naming scheme gives away one answer each time.

  • Backpackers Rescued at Denali National Park Didn’t Know How Lost They Really Were   6 years 10 weeks ago

    did something like this in my youth while hiking in Pennsylvania. The difference being, in Pennsylvania, you eventually end up in someone's backyard!
    Glad they're safe.

  • National Park Quiz 7: Islands   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Being the Hauptquizmeister, I make the rules. My new rule is this: the Hauptquizmeister can go back and change the question to match the answer. I have already done this with the item in question. I trust you will note that I have achieved a level of weaselness formerly thought to be unattainable. (Gosh, sometimes I even surprise myself!) Now then, Anon, do you have any other complaints about my quizzes?

  • Commentary: Who Runs the National Park System?   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Hello Betty,
    I read your opinion and feel the same. I would much rather spend my $$.$$ to hear a wolf singing than to hear exploding bombs which fall on the face of Yellowstone from some chopper (not so high above the tree tops.) Do we really want to blow up Yellowstone just so that a few people can ride snowmobils? With the "out of control" fuel costs their may be even fewer snowmobils out there but the bombs must still fall (to maintain winter trails.) AMERICA...I ASK, "WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT?" Sincerely,
    Paula Jean Tyler

  • National Park Quiz 7: Islands   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Bob, I guessed Ellis Island for question #6 and wanted to let you know that I'm taking full credit for it. :) I thought you were trying to trick people who knew the statue itself wasn't on Ellis Island. I picked Ellis Island because it was partially correct. According to the NPS, "The park [Statue of Liberty National Monument] is comprised of two separate islands, Liberty Island and Ellis Island. The Statue of Liberty is on Liberty Island and Ellis Island, the former federal immigration station, is currently a national museum of immigration."

    http://www.nps.gov/stli/faqs.htm

    I had to google "Bedloe's Island" to find out that's what they used to call Liberty Island back in the day. Sabattis, I thought it was your job to nitpick Bob's quizzes.

  • Congressman Calls for Emergency Declaration to Protect Grand Canyon National Park from Mining   6 years 10 weeks ago

    This is great news. Kudos to Congressman Grijalva for standing up to protect our monuments. It's nice to know that some folks in DC still view our national parks as something more than shooting galleries and oil fields.

  • Olmsted Island, Great Falls Park   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Great Falls Park is a unit of the National Park System seperate from C&O Canal. www.nps.gov/grfa

  • National Park Service Open to Cutting Single-Track Bike Trails in the Parks   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Like any proposed use of the national parks, mountain bike access by trail to a park's back country, or on single tracks, should be examined via a standard public process before given the green light. The National Park Service has an open and public process to review and make assessments on impacts from uses like this, and the National Parks Conservation Association fully supports the continuation of that process to make assessments on mountain bike use. If the Park Service determines on a case-by-case basis that mountain bikes won't harm a specific trail's environment, or the experiences of other visitors, then that activity would have a place in that park.

    Ron Tipton
    Senior Vice President
    National Parks Conservation Association

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   6 years 10 weeks ago

    It isn't the responsibility of the Park Service to ensure your safety. Sanitizing the trails is a poor alternative. The loss of human life, while tragic, isn't the fault of the parks, it is solely the responsibility of those who undertake the trek to various points of interest in the NPS, who then discover too late their vertigo or other associated conditions they might not have even known existed. The parks are to blame for people's fears, lack of skills, over-estimating their ability, under-estimating the terrain, and not taking proper precautions and making proper preparations? You can install all the safety chains you want, carve steps into the sandstone, place enough warning signs to scare off a mountain goat and it will have no effect on the human animal and their inborn bravado. How do you plan on taking "cost effective" or for that matter "ecologically responsible" and perhaps "esthetically acceptable" steps to ensure that some idiot isn't going to attempt a running ascent or worse, descent, in flip-flops or sandals? What measures will guard against the fools who start a July climb at 11:00a with no water, figuring, as I have heard commented on the West Rim Trail that "it'll only be a couple of hours, we'll be alright".

    The trail itself is highly manageable without any modifications, unless of course you're intention is to make EVERY trail in the system wheelchair accessible. Go to your local congressman and see how quickly that appeal falls on deaf ears, since they would have to provide the funding. On the other hand, get the hell out of Iraq, spend $100B annually on the parks service and all God's chillins are happy. The point is that currently, to scale this peak, like Half Dome, takes no specialized gear or experience. This isn't like entering the Subway. Unless you plan on stringing safety nets along EVERY cliff in the NPS you cannot possibly hope to be ABSOLUTELY certain that there is never a cost to be paid in terms of human life. Whatever happened to personal accountability? Why are we always seeking to place blame for our failures everywhere but where they belong? Life ain't no video game. You start with one life and there aren't any opportunities to refill your health or pick up any bonus lives. And yet a certain segment of our populace calls us the most advanced species, when we whine and cry about the lack of safety in nature? Instead of sanitizing, try thinking first. It'll save a lot more lives than ANY safety gear you can imagine. It's simply the most cost-effective safety device we have. Sorry, it requires effort on your part, which puts it above the reach on most I guess. Pity.

  • Park History: Director Hartzog and the Automobile   6 years 10 weeks ago

    I would submit that Yellowstone is also a national park devoted to the automobile as a recreational experience. The road system was specifically designed to get cars to each of the primary park resources (the falls, Old Faithful, Norris Geyser Basin, Mammoth, etc.). Enormous parking lots cover acres of land in these destination sites and the overwhelming majority of visitors do not venture more than 100 yards from their cars. Numerous guides are printed to direct visitors to auto touring the park and waysides in pull outs are designed to be read from the car. Pretending that this park is not primarily a auto visit experience for the majority of visitors is to ignore reality.

  • Park History: Director Hartzog and the Automobile   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Oh no - not at all! Sorry for the misleading post. The two National Parks "devoted to the automobile as a recreational experience" are of course the Blue Ridge and Natchez Trace Parkways*. I picked out Colorado National Monument as just one example where the automobile as a recreational experience is also a part of a larger mix of recreational experiences, and the auto-touring works within the overall mission of the Park - unlike auto-touring in Yosemite Valley. Obviously, many other National Parks successfully include auto-touring as a significant part of the recreational experience including Yellowstone, Glacier, and Gettysburg (or pretty much any of the military Parks) - among many others.

    Sabattis

    * - I didn't include the George Washington Memorial Parkway in this category because you can at least make the case that it is not devoted to auto-touring by virtue of things like Great Falls Park and the Mount Vernon Trail. That, and the fact that it is used far more heavily for commuting than auto-touring anyways.

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Sabattis, you've said that

    the National Park Service has the responsibility to minimize the loss of human life in any cost-effective way possible.

    To "cost-effective" I would add, at a minimum, "ecologically responsible" and perhaps "esthetically acceptable."

  • Lost Backpackers Reunited with Families at Denali National Park   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Yes, Traveler characterized Nelson and Flantz as experienced hikers with very limited Alaskan wilderness experience. And yes, Nelson took her cell phone with her. Why would she do that if she didn't entertain the notion that she might want to use it? Experienced backpackers don't haul extraneous weight around, not even on an overnight jaunt. They'll even whittle the extra plastic off a toothbrush handle, for crying out look. We'll see how this thing shakes out when we get access to facts gleaned from the debriefing. Meanwhile, Traveler does not back off on its position that wilderness hikers can get into trouble for reasons that include failure to appreciate the limitations of cell phones and PLBs as factors mitigating inexperience, lousy judgment, and other elements of risk. We do understand, as I'm sure you do as well, that any one instance, such as this DENA rescue episode, doesn't affirm or disprove that general observation. One last thing, Sabattis. As a defender of the English language I must insist that you stop using the term "shibboleth" incorrectly. ;-)

  • Park History: Director Hartzog and the Automobile   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Are you implying that Colorado National Monument is one of only two national parks "devoted to the automobile as a recreational experience"? I find that statement somewhat curious, not just because COLM offers hiking (14 trails totaling 40 miles), bicycling, and other recreational opportunities of the nonmotorized variety, but because many other parks have heavily invested in windshield touring. That said, COLM's 23-mile long Rim Rock Drive, with it's three neat tunnels and spectacular vistas, remains one of the more scenic drives in the National Park System.

  • Park History: Grand Teton National Park   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Jim,

    After reading your comment, I did a little research on Rockefeller and was quite surprised to find out he was a moral man, a devout Christian. He never smoked or drank and was very adamant about tithing his 10%.to the church.

    He amassed his fortune into the billions, wealthier than the Waltons or Gates, and he donated billions to the welfare of the people. "Where is it written that no one can get rich"?

    Evidently, he was smarter than the average "brown or black bear."You speak of a global energy crisis, adversely hurting the poorest people in society. I'm going to rephrase and say Rockefeller taketh away and giveth back. How is this abuse? I wonder if the comedian , Mrs. Hughes is right.
    Is menopause and hot flashes, Global warming. I am constantly looking over my shoulder to see if Al Gore is stalking me!!!!!

    Bottom Line: The little fish can swallow the big fish as long as he has a strong bottom line.
    Using the statement: bottom line is the last line of an income statement, revenue is the top line..

    Strictly,my opinion: Rockefeller had the revenue to purchase the land, he gave the land back to the people and the government to oversee its welfare. To me that was quite a loss or net income,the last or bottom line of an income statement.

    Ends and means, a morally right action taken to produces a good outcome.

    I thank the Rockefellers for the wonderful gift of God and nature

    Brenda Byles

  • Should Anything Be Done With Angel's Landing?   6 years 10 weeks ago

    The Naitonal Park Service frequently does "visual inspections" for certain Ranger programs. So it can be done.

    Human life is precious. If cost-effective steps can be taken to reduce the loss of human life, then they should be taken. Period. The National Park Service is already involved by virtue of building, maintaining, and advertising the trail to Angel's Landing. Thus, the National Park Service has the responsibility to minimize the loss of human life in any cost-effective way possible.

  • Lost Backpackers Reunited with Families at Denali National Park   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Previous reports have indicated that Ms. Flantz and Ms. Nelson were both experienced backpackers, and were working as concessionaires in Denali. It seems unlikely that they ever planned on using a cell phone as a safety net. Indeed, it took them many days to establish a signal. I know the issue of inexperienced hikers relying on cell phones to summon expensive SAR operations is one of the shibboleths of this blog - but it doesn't seem to apply in this case.

  • Park History: Director Hartzog and the Automobile   6 years 10 weeks ago

    Well its a little overblown to say that "the automobile as a recreational experience is obsolete." The Blue Ridge Parkways is one of two National Parks devoted to the automobile as a recreational experience, and remains one of the most-visited Units in the National Park System. What works in a Parkway however, or at Colorado National Monument, does not necessarily work in Yosemite Valley. Yosemite already has one of the best bus systems in the Park System, and hopefully they can take it the whole way in removing those unsightly parking spaces from the rest of the Valley...

  • National Park Quiz 7: Islands   6 years 10 weeks ago

    9 out of 11! I had initially put down Apostle Islands - but then changed my answer! Darn!

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 10 weeks ago

    No worries...we WILL soon be allowed to carry LEGALLY in our national parks. As it should have always been anyway for LAW ABIDING CITIZENS. Sheesh....