Thursday, June 25, 2015

Throwback Thursday

The first automobile to make the drive to the Grand Canyon began its journey on January 4, 1902. Anticipating that the 60-mile drive would take only four hours, Oliver Lippincott, along with a guide and two writers from Los Angeles, left Flagstaff without any extra food or water. Unfortunately their Toledo Steamer, a 10-horse power engine built by the Toledo Automobile Company, really wasn’t ready for the rough drive as they traveled cross-country without roads, and broke down several times. Two days later, the hungry and dehydrated party finally arrived at their destination at the Grandview Hotel on the South Rim. Three years later a three-day drive from Utah was required to reach the North Rim for the first time.




Jeff
Hiking in the Smokies

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Higher Prices and Limited Access Coming to a Park Near You

Perhaps the title to this blog might be construed as being highly provocative, but reality tells me that many of the trends I'm seeing are already pointing in these directions. Please note that I'm in no way advocating for either of these as possible solutions to perceived problems, but rather simply pointing out where I believe our national parks are headed.

The perceived problem among many within and outside of our national park system is that our parks and recreational areas have become overcrowded. One only has to look at the almost constant gridlock in Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains, or the over-crowded parking at the Bear Lake Trailhead in Rocky Mountain, or the congestion on Yellowstone's roads throughout the summer, to see that the pundits and park managers may have a point. As further evidence, you may also recall that our national parks saw record breaking crowds in 2014.

As a result of many factors, including increased visitation, almost every major national park has raised entrance fees over the last several months. Other parks and national forest lands, such as the Great Smoky Mountains, have instituted, or have increased backcountry camping fees.

This past May Glacier National Park announced a public comment period for a series of alternatives they're proposing to manage the Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor. Included among those proposals to manage congestion on the road are to "utilize a timed entry system or reservation system during peak season" and "require day hike permits on some trails during peak season".

It's pretty clear to me that the wheels are already in motion for raising fees and limiting access to high traffic areas.

What prompted this blog posting was an interview I heard the other night on the nationally syndicated John Batchelor Show. The host interviewed Terry Anderson from the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana, who has put forth several possible solutions to overcrowding in our parks and recreational areas. The 10 minute segment starts at roughly the 19:25 mark in this podcast if you wish to listen to the interview. You can also read the original article, which sparked the interview, as published in the Montana Standard.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cosby Area Temporarily Closed Due to Storm Damage

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the temporary closure of the Cosby entrance road due to flood damage. On June 22 at approximately 4:00 p.m., flash flooding along Rock Creek spilled over the banks damaging road shoulders along 1,500 linear feet of the Cosby entrance road. Underground electric and phone lines were exposed along most of the road where the shoulder area was washed out up to 6 feet deep. All electric power and water service to the campground and picnic area has been shut off.

Park maintenance crews cleared rocks and debris from the roadway and coned off washed-out road areas to allow one-lane traffic to escort campers from the campground this morning. The campground, picnic area, and all roadways will remain closed until power and water services can be restored and the repairs are complete. Park crews are further assessing the condition of the road today and will begin making repairs immediately.

Trails remain open at this time, but there is no trailhead access, which includes the Gabes Mountain Trail and the Low Gap Trail. Hikers are advised to use caution throughout the area. Crews are currently assessing the area for any damage to trails and footlogs. Roads are closed to all pedestrian traffic in the area throughout the closure.

For more information on road and trail closures, please visit the park website.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

5 Tips on Solo Hiking

Have you ever considered solo hiking? If so, you may want to consider these five tips from Backpacker Magazine before hitting the trail:








Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Throwback Thursday

During the night of August 13, 1967, the unthinkable happened. Despite a 57-year history of experiencing no deaths as a result of grizzly bears, Glacier National Park experienced two in one night – in two separate incidents. It would become known as the Night of the Grizzlies, and the subject of a book and documentary film. One woman, a park employee, was killed on the west side of the park by an old and sick sow that was conditioned to human food, and was basically stalking the camping party that evening and throughout the night.

The second death occurred near the Granite Park Chalet, a backcountry lodge near the Continental Divide. Jack Olsen, the author of Night of the Grizzlies, concluded that the park was responsible for both deaths. In particular, he was highly critical of the park for allowing food to be thrown into a garbage dump, which was located near the campground just downhill from the chalet. The mauling took place at this backcountry campsite. Fortunately the park took the criticism to heart, and began to aggressively manage potential human-bear interactions, including the removal of the waste dump at Granite Park. Despite the tragic incident, the chalet remains as one of the most popular destinations for both day hikers and overnighters, and can be reached by one of the best hikes in the entire National Park system.




Jeff
Hiking in the Smokies

Monday, June 15, 2015

Yahoo Falls Healthy Hike Scheduled For This Sunday

The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area recently announced a one hour ranger-led interpretive hike to 113 foot tall Yahoo Falls on Sunday, June 21st. The public is invited to enjoy a hike with Ranger Karen Thompson starting from the Yahoo Falls parking area to learn more about the natural and geological features of Big South Fork, and to experience Yahoo Falls, a large rock cave and towering sandstone cliffs. This fun, fact-filled hike begins promptly at 11:00 a.m. (EDT) at the Yahoo Falls parking area located on Yahoo Falls Road off Highway 700 near Whitley City, Kentucky.

The park asks that you wear weather-appropriate clothing and footwear. The trail is considered to be moderately difficult because it does contain a long set of stairs. Everyone is welcome. For further directions or additional information, please call the Blue Heron Interpretive Center at (606) 376-3787.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
HikinginGlacier.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
TetonHikingTrails.com

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Independence Monument in western Colorado received its name from John Otto, the first white man to explore the canyon. After pounding iron pipes and carving out footsteps into solid rock for several weeks, Otto became the first person to stand atop the monolith on June 8, 1911. On the Fourth of July of that same year, Otto placed the American flag at the top of Independence Monument, thus starting a tradition that continues to this day.

After Colorado National Monument was established, Otto was hired as the first park ranger. For the next 16 years he continued building and maintaining trails while living in a tent in the park. Eventually Otto would try to settle down. On June 20, 1911, at the base of Independence Monument, he married an artist by the name of Beatrice Farnham. Only a few weeks after the wedding, however, she left him and never returned. It’s not entirely clear as to whether Independence Monument received its name as a result of Otto placing a flag atop of it on the Fourth of July, or because his bride left him there….

Here’s some additional info on hiking to the base of the monument.




Jeff
Hiking in the Smokies