Category Archives: SHARING GREAT INFO

Public Comments Being Accepted for Department of Interior’s “Review” of National Monuments Since 1996


Hey, you!–you huge fan of all our National Parks–MAKE YOURSELF BE HEARD!

You lover of nature, you camping, hiking, backpacking enthusiast, you birdwatcher, you insect-a-holic, you flower fanatic, you lover of all critters in air, on land, and under water, you wanderer, and even (especially!) you, dizzy daydreamer with daffodils in your hair, PLEASE SPEAK OUT ON BEHALF OF A LIST OF NATIONAL MONUMENTS (shown below) CURRENTLY AT RISK OF LOSING THEIR DESIGNATION AS SUCH, leaving them to be stripped, mined, drilled and permanently destroyed, all for temporary monetary gain.

Do you see this stunning photo of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument?  It’s located right here in my home state of Arizona and it is at risk for losing its designation as a National Monument.

Coyote Butte North at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona

The National Monuments being initially reviewed are listed in the following tables.

National Monuments Being Initially Reviewed Pursuant to Criteria in Executive Order 13792
Monument Location Year(s) Acreage
Basin and Range Nevada 2015 703,585
Bears Ears Utah 2016 1,353,000
Berryessa Snow Mountain California 2015 330,780
Canyons of the Ancients Colorado 2000 175,160
Carrizo Plain California 2001 204,107
Cascade Siskiyou Oregon 2000/2017 100,000
Craters of the Moon Idaho 1924/2000 737,525
Giant Sequoia California 2000 327,760
Gold Butte Nevada 2016 296,937
Grand Canyon-Parashant Arizona 2000 1,014,000
Grand Staircase-Escalante Utah 1996 1,700,000
Hanford Reach Washington 2000 194,450.93
Ironwood Forest Arizona 2000 128,917
Mojave Trails California 2016 1,600,000
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks New Mexico 2014 496,330
Rio Grande del Norte New Mexico 2013 242,555
Sand to Snow California 2016 154,000
San Gabriel Mountains California 2014 346,177
Sonoran Desert Arizona 2001 486,149
Upper Missouri River Breaks Montana 2001 377,346
Vermilion Cliffs Arizona 2000 279,568
National Monuments Being Reviewed To Determine Whether the Designation or Expansion Was Made Without Adequate Public Outreach and Coordination With Relevant Stakeholders
Katahadin Woods and Waters Maine 2016 87,563


The following link will take you to the Department of the Interior page where the so-called “review” (which so far, all seems for show only) of DOI-1027-0002 is open for public comment.

If you care about these National Monuments at all, please take the time to leave a public comment on the following web page:

Department of the Interior public comments page for DOI-2017-0002:

Comments will be accepted until July 10, 2017.

(Note:  Public comments in support of Bears Ears have already reached the cut-off date of May 26, 2017.)

If any of the National Monuments listed above mean anything to you, or if you wish to make a general statement about the whole list of National Monuments under review, please do so at the link I provided above. When I submitted my comment today, I noticed public comments numbered over ONE MILLION! Please make yourself heard!

Thank you so much!


Cabin Fever Cure: January 18, Free Entrance Day in National Parks

Got cabin fever? Beat the winter doldrums with the perfect cure: FREE entrance days in the National Parks!

It begins this year with January 18, 2016, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And we’re ready to take advantage of it. Watch out, Joshua Tree National Park. We’re coming to see you again! (Check out our last trip to Joshua Tree here.)

Joshua Tree National Park Split Rock Loop Trail
Sue hiking on Split Rock Trail

The National Park Service has rolled out the list of fee-free dates for 2016:

  • January 18:  Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • April 16 through 24:  National Park Week
  • August 25 through 28:  National Park Service Birthday
  • September 24:  National Public Lands Day
  • November 11:  Veterans Day

With 409 National parks to choose from, 127 of them normally charging an entrance fee, this is a great opportunity to cure yourself of the winter blues and simultaneously show all the folks who help preserve these incredible national treasures that you really do care about their efforts. What better way to prove it than to show up on one of the fee-free days and enjoy our National Parks! You’ll be so glad you did!

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Happy trails! Happy New Year!

Be safe,

Sue J signature

Morning Coffee with the International Space Station

international space station, observation schedule
photo from

Check the schedule and make a date to have coffee with the International Space Station. We did just that this past Tuesday morning around 6:40 a.m. in Southern California. Go ahead. Check the schedule for yourself. Then, spend a minute marveling as the space station races across the sky in plain sight over your home. Remind yourself that there’s a half-dozen people riding in that thing, cruising along at over 17,000 miles per hour, circling the planet every 90 minutes or so, and then try to tell yourself that you don’t see miracles around you every day.

Venus Fly Trap. One of nature's crazy cool and miraculous plants.
Venus Fly Trap. One of nature’s crazy cool and miraculous plants.

Miracles come in all forms, natural and unnatural–from flowers that instinctively open and close and even eat bugs (like the good ‘ole Venus Fly Trap) to man-made contraptions orbiting around the earth. Have a sip of coffee, remind yourself how blessed you are, and then give a wave to those brave astronauts floating around in space. They’re checking out YOU while you’re checking out THEM. Be a part of it!

International Space Station Observations

Have an awesome day!

Sue J.

Tis the Season: Whale watching in L.A. at Point Dume

Winter is a great season for whale watching in Southern California, and many sites around L.A. provide a great view. One of my favorite sites is Point Dume State Park in Malibu, CA.

Whale watching in LA, Point Dume, Southern California
Decent paths in the distance that head to the shore where surfers and sunbathers enjoy the beach

Point Dume is a tranquil, lightly trafficked site for whale watching north of Los Angeles. It’s no easy task to find this State Beach in Malibu (I relied on personal accounts on the Internet for directions), but it’s worth the trip. Parking spaces are hard to come by. Patience is required, as you’ll likely have to wait for one of roughly ten spots to open. I left my boyfriend to the task of parking while I sought a path to the ocean across a wide, vacant lot in an otherwise typical, Southern California suburban neighborhood. The best path for whale watchers of all ages (including seniors) is the one to the right where a chained metal gate attempts to restrict path use to pedestrians only. Surfers make use of the other paths, confidently balancing their boards on their heads, drawn by the taste of salt in the air and the point on the horizon where Gray whales dive and spout.

Whale watching in LA, Point Dume, Southern California
Mark and Sue’s mom checking out the whales

From the gate, the dirt path ahead quickly narrows and presents a fork. Stay to the left and you are gifted with a wide, steady boardwalk that leads to the ideal perch from which to spot bountiful whales. A large wooden deck edged with weathered but sturdy bench seats invites you to settle in with binoculars and await a splendid view of some of the largest and most intelligent swimming mammals in the world. If the tide is in, you may not even need binoculars. If Blue, Orca, Killer, or Humpback whales make a showing, which they sometimes do, you might make better use of a simple, everyday camera. Radiant smiles are a natural part of the scenery!

Whale watching in LA, Point Dume, Southern California