30 December 2014

Good bye 2014

I don't know if I will get to post something tomorrow on New Year's Eve, so I figured let's do it now.  It has gotten colder today after a spell of really nice weather and except for s few piles of snow in parking lots, none of that white stuff here.

So Happy New Year and hope for Peace!

29 December 2014

Costa Rica Crime

We had pondered visiting Costa Rica this winter, but decided to go elsewhere.  It is a beautiful country, with friendly people, but alas, it is becoming more and more Americanized every year.

Tourists are loving it to Death.

Crime is everywhere and this report from Tico Times highlights (lowlights) 2014 Crimes.

25 December 2014

Top environment news for Costa Rica in 2014

Tico Times is the English language newspaper in Costa Rica and provides us with news of interest for the region and the world.  Tico Times reports today the 5 top issues in Costa Rica.

Feliz Navidad!

23 December 2014

International tourism record numbers in 2014

International tourism is set to hit a new record by the end of 2014 with over 1.1 billion international tourists travelling the world in one single year. During the first ten months of 2014, the number of international tourists grew by 5% according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, rising above expectations. See the UN report.


18 December 2014

Robert Moses Birthday today

Robert Moses would have celebrated his birthday today, but since we are more concerned about Beyouncy (sic) or Brad Pit 9sic) I figured I would spend a moment highlighting an important career.

Known for his planning in New York City and local environs, I tend to like his work centered on parkways.  As Americans were "driven" by Detroit to give up mass transit and become addicted to the auto, Moses propose a highway system that was both practical and scenic.  Since driving for pleasure remains a popular activity, these parkways are valuable resources.

16 December 2014

Beaches Resort and Lie Detectors

Employees at Beaches Resort and Spa in the Turks and Caicos Islands are outraged by the hotel's decision to start asking staff to take lie detector tests.

While hotel officials are saying that these tests are not mandatory, employees fear that they could lose their jobs if they refuse to subject themselves to this new policy.

Read the full story at this link.

09 December 2014

07 December 2014

Appalachian Trail Boundary Monitoring 2014

A couple times of the year I go out to the AT to walk along the boundary of the National Park.  A video of the walk is found on YouTube.

It is all about finding these monuments.

04 December 2014

Fun Happens

I came across these students playing on the snow bank from last week's snow storm.  All the snow has basically left, but these guys are making the most of it by creating a small jump and rail in which to practice twirls or whatever they may actually be called.

Fun Happens.

24 November 2014


I have been thinking about this post for a while.  Since it is so large, I will probably split into several different blogs in order to give the topic the attention it deserves.

First is cash.

Now, I am by no means a major world traveler, but I have been travelling overseas for over 30 years and have some stories to tell.  Bullets for this topic:

Get some local currency, if possible, before your trip.  You can always get some cash at the airport, and from my experience, this can be as expensive as your local bank with fees and exchange rates.  But do try to have some local currency in your pocket.  Sometimes I have some money left over from a previous trip and can use that.

Know the current exchange rate.  I round that figure so I can do some basic conversions in my head.  For web access try http://www.xe.com/.  And get an app for your phone.  And understand the rate both to US Dollars (in my case) and from it.  So right now, as I write this, $1 US is equal to 0.804 Euros, and one Euro is good for 1.242 US Dollar.  It will likely be different next week.

If you are someplace that uses US dollars, remember the costs of things can be higher or lower than back home.  So you might not be able to buy from the dollar menu from the local McDonald's.

And some places will take US dollars even if they have there own currency.  Your change may be in the local currency, and in some places you can get dollars back.  If you have a choice, think ahead on how much cash you may need and how easy or costly it might be to get more.  I will write about getting cash and other spending issues at a later post.

At the end of the trip, if you have local currency, you can spend it as extra tips, donate to a local charity, spend it at the airport, and/or throw into you luggage for your next trip to that destination.

Finally, some places you might be counting the costs to make sure you have enough through your trip without breaking the bank.  Other places, you may be living like royalty due to the lower cost of living.  In either case, with some careful planning you can enjoy the trip and not worry too much about money.

21 November 2014

Roy Wolfe RIP

Roy I. Wolfe, Professor of Geography Emeritus, York University, died on November 15, 2014.


Some of his works include:

Wolfe, Roy I. 1951. “Summer cottagers in Ontario.” Economic Geography, 27, no. 1: 10-32.
Wolfe, Roy I. 1952. “Wasaga Beach: The divorce from the geographic environment.” Canadian Geographer, 1, no. 2: 57-66.
Wolfe, Roy I. 1962. “The Summer Resorts of Ontario in the Nineteenth Century.” Ontario History, 54: 149–161.
Wolfe, R.J. (1964) ‘Perspectives on outdoor recreation: a bibliographical survey’, The Geographical Review, 54(2): 203–38.
Wolfe. Roy I. 1965. “About cottages and cottagers.” Landscape, 15, no. 1: 6–8.
Wolfe, R.J. (1967) ‘Recreational travel: the new migration’, Geographical Bulletin, 9: 73–9.
Wolfe, Roy I. 1970. “Discussion of vacation homes, environmental preferences and spatial behavior.” Journal of Leisure Research, 2, no. 1: 85-87.

Essential reading for my grad school work at Southern Illinois University.

(thanks to C.M. Hall for compiling this bib for RTS Listserv)

19 November 2014

TCI stats online

That's Turks and Caicos for you guys.  I like the tourism stats. but I wish they published links and such instead a fancy animations of gifs of tables.  Raw numeric data is of interest to recreation and tourism geographers.

But it is certainly more up current than the data found on OneCaribbean.org.

05 November 2014

Faculty Search!

we are hiring for a new Geographer.  See the link here for more information.

04 November 2014

RIP Tom Magliozzi

You might not recognize the name but if I say Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, you will immediately recognize Car Talk on NPR.  He passed last Monday at 77.

He will be missed.

03 November 2014

Public Participation for Recreation Planning

My colleague, Marijoan Bull is highlighted in the current report in Planning.

Elevating Public Participation 
Every planner knows public participation is fundamental to our work—it is in our code of ethics, our academic training, and our laws. And we have all heard the warning stories of projects that have failed for lack of critical stakeholder involvement or knowledge. Yet often our practice of participation is shallow and perfunctory, or even completely ineffective. As planners we need to elevate our practice of and commitment to public participation. For many of our projects, the demands are great and the funds are low. We believe in public participation, but it is just one piece of the complex planning projects we manage. We are scrupulous about the legally mandated requirements, but it is well documented that routine public hearings are not conducive to community dialogue and problem solving.  Participation has received some bad press lately because some see public involvement as an obstacle to change, or they worry that decisions based on public input are made purely on the basis of narrow self-interest or often repeated untruths. I fear this could fuel a backlash. We need to critically assess our own role in these processes. Taking participation seriously, we can invest resources in designing ethical approaches, including diverse views, and supporting equitable outcomes. Of late, if engagement gets attention it is all about a new technology. There is a real danger of getting swept up with these tools because basic principles, not technology, should lead the process. My recent experience in a marginalized low-income neighbor- hood reinforced this observation. Our CPAT group [APA’s Community Planning Assistance Team] developed a survey tool and went to residents with the survey on tablets (no data entry needed!) and some hard copies. The old-fashioned paper copies were overwhelmingly preferred and the tablets went back in the box. My take-away is: be flexible. Good practice means we must match the approach to the context and population. Certainly new technologies integrated into a well-developed participation plan may expand our reach or enrich the experience. However, our primary obligation is to design an effective, high-quality, inclusive engagement process.    Sister organizations such as the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, National Civic League, Deliberative Democracy Consortium, International Association for Public Participation, and International Association of Facilitators can help. These groups offer webinar training, case studies, research results, and modeling by professionals with engagement expertise. I am not actually a Pollyanna about engagement. I acknowledge there is truth in the critiques. I know engagement can be lengthy and costly, and some individuals wear blinders while others build opposition on inaccuracies. Further, land-use decisions involve a technical and legal understanding that exceeds the common knowledge of most residents. There’s a wider societal phenomenon at play: Americans need civics lessons that go beyond how to express self-interest; they need to know how people can work together as a community. Planners can help. Meaningful engagement may require that participants learn new concepts, gain a wider understanding of the workings of government, or develop the skills to critically evaluate claims. The benefits of participation are well known: inclusion of voices that are too often unheard, better decisions due to enhanced information, support for implementation, and more efficient permitting. But planners bear an added responsibility for doing it right. The public’s experience in our engagement processes can color their attitude toward government as a whole and affect future—planning and nonplanning—participatory processes. Finally, we need to standardize evaluation as part of the process. A project should not be considered complete until we have assessed the effectiveness of its public involvement. Our response to engagement challenges should not be less participation, but better participation.
Marijoan Bull, aicp, is an associate professor of geography and regional planning at Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts. She has 23 years of professional planning experience in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, has participated in two CPAT projects, and is currently a board member of the International Association of Public Participation.

30 October 2014

Halloween is one of my favorite seasons

Seasons, since the weather is turning cooler, the leaves are changing color and horror films are found on the tube.  While most of the 1000 TV channels favor the contemporary films that are filled with blood and guts, I prefer the classics from the 1930s-1950s.

Tonight on Turner Classics is

8:00 PM
A millionaire offers total strangers a fortune to spend the night in a haunted house.
Dir: William Castle Cast:  Vincent Price , Carol Ohmart , Richard Long .
BW-75 mins, CC, Letterbox Format

and tomorrow

8:00 PM
A space probe unleashes microbes that turn the dead into flesh-eating zombies.
Dir: George A. Romero Cast:  Judith O'Dea , Russell Streiner , Duane Jones .
BW-96 mins, CC,

20 October 2014

Bela Lugosi's Birthday

Bela Lugosi (1882-1956) is best known for this role as Dracula, (1931) and perhaps lesser known for Plan Nine From Outer Space (1959).  But he was an accomplished actor of both stage and screen.  Just a few weeks back we watched our 16 mm print of Dracula on the big screen, and indeed the subtle nuances of his acting were fantastic.

RIP Mr. Lugosi!

15 October 2014

NERR joins Society of Outdoor Recreation Professions 2015

So the historic Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium is joining SORP to hold the annual meeting in Annapolis, Maryland next spring 2015.  For the CFP and details see http://www.recpro.org/2015-conference.

06 October 2014

Annual GARP Department Halloween Movie and Food Drive

Annual GARP Department

Halloween Movie and Food Drive

Westfield State University
Ely Campus Center Lounge
Thursday 30 October 2014 at 7 pm
Bring a non-perishable food item to benefit the Westfield Food Pantry and enjoy the show!

01 October 2014

Volcano Tourism

I wonder if the interest in volcano tourism will drop as the death toll increases in Kiso Japan. Toxic fumes are erupting from Mount Ontake, and rescue attempts to reach climbers have been difficult.

This raises several issue.  Should rescues even take place?  Is it fair to risk the life of rescuers attempting to get some recreators off the mountain.  I don't know.

But in the meantime, I will continue to be a volcano tourist. Photo is western flank of Arenal in Costa Rica.

26 September 2014

Chicago Airport closed, air travel stymied

Gosh, it seems just like a few months ago when the winter weather created havoc in air travel.  Me?  We got stranded in Miami and spent a night in the airport hotel (thank goodness) when bad weather canceled our flight home.  And this has happened several times during our annual flight to escape winter.

So today, it is a human-caused fire that disrupts ORD and the rippling effect will be felt across the country and perhaps the world since this is one MAJOR hub.

Hope folks have a book to read.

23 September 2014

Planning air travel

you know what I hate about air travel? Well several things but one problem I have now is trying to find out who flies where and on what days.  So I can use a search engine to find flights, but what do I do when an airline only operates 2 or 3 times a week?  My travel dates a flexible so if a schedule could be downloaded I can find my flights.  Instead I am forced to plug in multiple dates and times, connecting airports and then eventually book my flight on my timetable, on my connecting cities and my duration.

this stinks.

22 September 2014

NERR Proceedings for 2011 and 2013 now available

Took awhile but the Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium Proceedings are now published online at this link.  At present, just two years, but I suspect 2012 will be along shortly.  See the NERR homepage for details.

17 September 2014

The Song Remains the Same

We miss the days of rock concert movies.  I am watching, more like listening to the 1976 movie called "The Song Remains the Same" chronicling the Led Zeppelin concert from 1973 in the Madison Square Garden.  I mean, it is not my favorite, but it is like listening to a live album for a couple of hours as I make dinner.  

My favorite, of course is "The Grateful Dead Movie" released in 1977 from a series of '74 concerts.  This one rocks!

And then there is the rockumentary "This is Spinal Tap."  I bought the soundtrack for that one!

There are others out there too.  But we no longer see artists producing them.  Maybe it is time for newer musicians to create another rock opera? 

14 September 2014

The Big E opens this weekend

Some rain was sandwiched between some great days, but that won't dampen (pun intended) the interest is this fair.  The typical rides, food, displays, including all those "shown on TV" must-haves, and of course, some farm animals, will be available to the guests.  Lynyrd Skynyrd is on tap for next weekend, but ZZ Top canceled.  Fried food is plentiful, too.

We did an economic impact study some fifteen years ago, and after attending the fair daily for 2 weeks during 1999, I have not returned.  Filled my appetite I guess.

10 September 2014

Westfield City Council rejects move to rescind Community Preservation Act

Good news for our Town, As reported in the media, the Community Preservation Act is safe, for now.

The measure assesses property owners one-percent of their property taxes to raise funds for preservation of historic property and buildings, open space and housing. It exempts the first $100,000 of property valuation.

For Westfield's CPA page, click here.

Since the town dissolved the BID (Business Improvement District), all citizens will bear the burden to keep our city alive, not just those who profit from it.

08 September 2014

Star Trek premiered today in 1966

I remember watching this show on a Black and White TV,  Remember those?

For everything Trekky see http://www.startrek.com/

06 September 2014

the web and the Image Of The Day

The web has always been good for "something" of the day sites.  I remember early work (maybe by Yahoo?) of producing a link to a new site every day to showcase something new.

Here is a site of the day site that deals with remote sensing:


check it out!

03 September 2014

Air Rage and smaller seats on planes

Southwest and United cram six more seats on their flights to increase profits.  That is at a loss of one inch of space on each row.  American added 10 seats on 737-800s increasing the number of passengers to 160.  And Delta shrunk the toilet  to gain 4 more seats (as if the toilets weren't small enough).

So this does not sit well with the passengers who must go through security gauntlets, fight for the limited space in the overhead bins and otherwise be herded like cattle.

So, everyone must remain calm.

01 September 2014

no worries about hurricanes....

Tourism in the Caribbean is up this summer.  Consider TCI and this report.
This seems to jive with the report from the official tourism site in TCI

But before you head to the island, check on the weather at the National Hurricane Center. For example, Pelican Beach Hotel (above) closes during hurricane season

19 August 2014

APS StampShow 2014 in Hartford Connecticut

This Weekend 

Thursday to Sunday 21-24 August 2014

The Connecticut Convention Center 
Hartford Connecticut
10 am to 6 pm (except Sunday when they close at 4 pm)


Dealers, displays and of course....


05 August 2014

21 July 2014

Climate change and ski tourism research

An interesting use of Google Maps and research on climate change and ski tourism can be found at


Check it out.

20 July 2014

Volunteers help out at the Westfield Dog Bark

Yes, volunteers are always needed for parks and recreation since competing needs of tax dollars cause governments (that is us) to cut back on "funding for fun."

See the Facebook page for our local dog park at https://www.facebook.com/WestfieldDogBark?ref_type=bookmark

19 July 2014

Almost half of the world actually prefers instant coffee



Well, as reported in the Tico Times, Costa Rica and home to the best coffee in the world, the headline read "Almost half of the world actually prefers instant coffee."

And this was the week that delivered by semi annual delivery of the good stuff.

July 11, 2014 16:14 San Jose - Costa Rica Shipment picked up
July 11, 2014 20:05 San Jose - Costa Rica Processed at San Jose - Costa Rica
July 11, 2014 20:28 San Jose - Costa Rica Processed at San Jose - Costa Rica
July 11, 2014 22:12 San Jose - Costa Rica Departed from DHL facility in San Jose - Costa Rica
July 12, 2014 06:02 San Jose - Costa Rica Departed from DHL facility in San Jose - Costa Rica
July 12, 2014 12:42 Miami, FL - USA Arrived at DHL facility in Miami, FL - USA
July 12, 2014 12:58 Miami, FL - USA Clearance processing complete at Miami, FL - USA
July 12, 2014 14:11 Miami, FL - USA Processed at Miami, FL - USA
July 12, 2014 23:10 Miami, FL - USA Processed at Miami, FL - USA
July 13, 2014 06:49 Miami, FL - USA Departed from DHL facility in Miami, FL - USA
July 13, 2014 11:30 Cincinnati, OH - USA Arrived at DHL facility in Cincinnati, OH - USA
July 13, 2014 12:08 Cincinnati, OH - USA Arrived at DHL facility in Cincinnati, OH - USA
July 13, 2014 12:22 Cincinnati, OH - USA Processed at Cincinnati, OH - USA
July 13, 2014 16:51 Cincinnati, OH - USA Processed at Cincinnati, OH - USA
July 13, 2014 20:47 Cincinnati, OH - USA Departed from DHL facility in Cincinnati, OH - USA
July 14, 2014 07:32 West Hartford - USA Scheduled for delivery
July 14, 2014 08:30 West Hartford - USA With delivery courier
July 14, 2014 15:04 West Hartford - USA Shipment delivered

DHL Rocks!

16 July 2014

Transportation Survey

You say, what does transportation have to do with Recreation?  Well lots if you include:

"Projects that preserve existing regional assets such as parks, historic areas and farms. These projects include elements to protect open spaces, parks, agricultural land and provide access to historic and cultural resources. An example would be the construction of an off road bicycle path along an abandoned railroad corridor or utility right of way." (PVPC)

to Take the survey, click below.


11 July 2014

Trying to escape the cold weather

Yep, we be talking about February 2014 travel to overseas locations by Americans.  According to the National Travel and Tourism Office:

February 2014 YTD Market Share

U.S. travel to overseas locations accounted for 45 percent of U.S. outbound international travel.

    Europe, a 12 percent share;
    Caribbean, a 12 percent share;
    Asia, an eight percent share;
    Central America, a five percent share;
    South America, a three percent share;
    Middle East, a three percent share;
    Oceania, a one percent share, and
    Africa, almost a one percent share 

For details, see this link.

10 July 2014

Sandford Principle and Britain's Breathing Spaces

UK National Parks go it right with the Sandford Principle:

“Where irreconcilable conflicts exist between conservation and public enjoyment, then conservation interest should take priority”

(Source: http://www.nationalparks.gov.uk/learningabout/whatisanationalpark/ aimsandpurposesofnationalparks/sandfordprinciple)

UK Parks cite an example:

"A fisherman would like to fish at a lake shore. He has access to the lake and so he can enjoy his day fishing, which fulfills the National Park purpose of understanding and enjoyment.

There are also Ospreys nesting in a tree nearby, which catch fish in the lake. Ospreys are a protected bird species and are easily disturbed by noises and movements during their breeding season. Looking after the breeding Osprey fulfills the National Park purpose of conservation.

In this example the two main purposes of National Parks, conservation and understanding and enjoyment are in conflict. By applying the Sandford Principle the conflict is resolved and conservation, in this case the nesting Ospreys, take priority. The fisherman is encouraged to find another fishing spot during the osprey breeding season. When they Ospreys have migrated away in winter, the fisherman can fish in the lake."

Good Stuff.

02 July 2014

Arenal may be quiet but what about Poás ?

Tico Times reports "National Seismological Network to monitor Poás Volcano with four new cameras."

For the future link see http://www.rsn.ucr.ac.cr/index.php/es/.

The site provides some really great educational material on volcanoes.

15 June 2014

02 June 2014

Airlines merge (American and US Airways)

Since I frequently head south during the winter to warm up in the Caribbean, these two airlines are frequently used.  I try to stay faithful to rack up frequent flyer miles and have earned several flights, upgrades to first class and otherwise enjoyed some modest perks from frequent flyer programs.

We have accounts in both airlines and can't wait to combine miles for the next trip.

That said, as with any flight planning, you really need to check sources of flights.  AA and US Airways are used after I have searched the major travel search engines (Hipmunk, Kayak etc.) if the flights are time conveniently and priced well.  Some places you can't use your favorite airline (Iceland is a good example).  And while I have used American to fly to Europe, Air Canada's schedule and price could not be beat one time.

The final point here is that these two airlines have different pricing depending on which site you are searching. So check both sites for prices!

01 June 2014

30 May 2014

Travel to the States

Read this Press Release:

Highlights(1) from the 2013 International Visitation to the United States Report
2013 international visitation sets a new record to support the National Travel and Tourism Strategy.
The United States welcomed 70 million international visitors in 2013, three million more than the year before-a five percent increase over 2012.
In 2013, the top inbound markets continued to be Canada and Mexico.
o Non-resident visits from Canada grew three percent, which set a new record in 2013.
o Mexico, with 14.3 million visits, grew one percent.
Seven of the top inbound overseas regional markets posted a record level of visits to the United States.
o Asia grew nine percent;
o South America jumped 16 percent;
o Oceana increased eight percent;
o Middle East increased 14 percent;
o Eastern Europe expanded 18 percent;
o Central America increased four percent; and
o Africa was up 18 percent.
Visitation from Western Europe grew two percent partly due to increasing visits from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
Visits from Japan, the People’s Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong), South Korea and India spurred Asia to post a nine percent increase for the year.
Annual overseas visits (excluding Canada and Mexico) totaled a record 32.0 million during 2013, up eight percent over 2012.
o In 2013, travel from overseas markets accounted for 46 percent of total non-resident visits to the United States.
o Twenty-seven of the top 50 overseas markets set new visitation records in 2013.
To view or download a PDF version of the report, go to: <http://travel.trade.gov/outreachpages/inbound.general_information.inbound_overview.html>

27 May 2014

Rachel Carson's Birthday

Notice how Google showcases some interesting fact on the homepage?  Well today is Rachel Carson's 107th Birthday.

See the link.

23 May 2014

Travel and Tourism that is Growing our Economy and Creating Jobs

President Obama visited the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday to promote international tourism to the states.

Some of the points include:

Tourism is America’s most important, and largest, services export: growth in international visitors has created roughly 175,000 American jobs over the past five years, and meeting President Obama’s goal of 100 million visitors in 2021 will support hundreds of thousands of additional jobs.

The number of international visitors to the United States has grown from 55 million in 2009 to 70 million in 2013, and each overseas visitor spends on average $4,500 per visit, at American hotels, shops, restaurants, and other domestic businesses.

Steps taken by the Administration have supported this impressive growth: The State Department issued 9.2 million visas in 2013, up 42% since 2010. Waiting periods for visas in important markets like Brazil and China have dropped from as high as several months to less than five days on average. The Department of Homeland Security has significantly expanded Trusted Traveler and expedited clearance programs that improve the experience of travelers entering the United States.

Through close partnership with airports and industry, we have seen dramatic improvements to the entry process and reduction in wait times for passport control and customs processing at airports. At Dallas Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare, a combination of measures such as Automated Passport Control kiosks and Global Entry services reduced average entry process wait times by nearly 40% over 12 months, and cut in half the number of visitors waiting longer than 30 minutes.

22 May 2014

Airport Map

Here is an Airport Map that shows proximity to other airports.  You can also find airports that are remote.

15 May 2014

The Future of Water-based Recreation

If the models are correct, paddlers will have so many more opportunities to canoe around the world.

See World Under Water.

14 May 2014

AP Reports: Winter Flight Cancellations Were a Record

yep, I know about that. Got a phone call at midnight noting that our 6 am flight was cancelled and would we like to be booked on the flight for the next day/

Yessiree, and after contacting our hotel out of the country, had to deal with extending our return flight a day so we would not miss out on a day in the sun. (this is important for us in New England who 'enjoyed' a cold winter this past season).

See some interesting facts from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

07 May 2014

Recreation Geography Defined

Over the years, I have attempted to define recreation geography.  Sometimes it is recreation and sometimes it is geography, but hopefully it is mostly "recreation geography.

I started this blog several years ago to share my rambling thoughts about recgeog, and while I (frequently) share my thoughts on other subjects, I do try to keep it focused on the theme of the blog.

Consider doing a search on the definition to see the different ways it has been considered.

06 May 2014

Open Space Planning

So every state has some mechanism to plan for recreation and open space.  In Massachusetts we have this link for information.

Every community needs to do the same, so in Southwick Mass, you can find this link.  For a paper on Southwick Open Space and the Community Preservation Act (CPA), see this link.

04 May 2014

Brazil 2016 headaches

If Sochi worked so can Brazil,  But the summer Olympics is bigger than the winter one, so it will be a challenge.

Read this report from Tico Times (Costa Rica).

30 April 2014

National Trails Day 7 June 2014!

National Trails Day is coming soon.

"American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® is the country’s largest celebration of trails. Mark your 2014 calendar for Saturday, June 7 to prepare for next year’s big celebration. If you are thinking about hosting an event next year, click on the host information tab below for host guides and prep materials. National Trails Day events include hikes, biking and horseback rides, paddling trips, birdwatching, geocaching, gear demonstrations, stewardship projects and more."

But despite the lousy local weather this week (rain), consider getting outside and enjoy the trails.

Where?  Just do a google search and specify your area to find a nearby trail.

28 April 2014

Curling Sweeps Springfield Mass.

Yeah, I know it is a bad pun, but I couldn't help it.  Check out the story online at Masslive, our local web 'zine.

22 April 2014

Cult movie and Food Drive

yes, as part of the Community Service Day event at Westfield State, we are hosting a movie and food drive tomorrow night.

so, if in the neighborhood, stop on by our campus center lounge and check out the flick!

21 April 2014

Arenal may be quiet but check out Poas

Costa Rica is a known ecotourism destination and while Arenal has been quiet, Poas is pretty active.  So why not take a trip to Costa Rica during the green season.

For info on the volcano (and others), check out this link.

Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica.

18 April 2014

61st Running of the Westfield River Canoe Races

Saturday, 19 April 2014, will herald the 61st running of this race.  Check out the details at their site, or better yet, go up to the Hill and Dale Rapids to watch!

Or best of all, grab your wet suit and run the river!

16 April 2014

Storm Chasing 101

Springtime brings out the weather fans and they converge on the American Midwest to catch a tornado.

Storm chasing is a growing pastime and was made popular after the movie Twister hit the big screens.  and continues to draw interest with a variety of TV shows on cable.

For a quick little introduction to Storm chasing, see:

Bristow, Robert S.; Cantillon, Heather. Tornado Chasing, Parks & Recreation. Sep2000, Vol. 35 Issue 9, p98. 8p.

14 April 2014

Hunters sue to end Sunday ban

"Sportsmen in two of the six states that do not allow Sunday hunting are suing to end the ban."  This was the lead sentence in the article by Frank Sousa.  Hikers and other outdoor "persons" should fight to have a day in the woods when they are not threatened by guns!

10 April 2014

Cities and Urban Heat Islands

Just check out these animations about city growth that highlight the need to set aside parks to mitigate urban heat islands.

For example, the former Westfield City Green "used" to have cooler temperatures.

Isotherms of cooler Temps around former Green.

08 April 2014

New Wilderness Area!

On March 13, 2014, President Obama signed legislation designating 32,557 acres of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan as Wilderness, the first congressional designation under the Wilderness Act since 2009.

"President Obama and Congress have given the American people a priceless gift by ensuring that this extraordinary landscape with its towering sand dunes and bluffs will be preserved forever as wild and primitive," said Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell. "Hikers, anglers, paddlers and others who venture into this wilderness will find it just as the Ottawa and Chippewa tribes have for the past 3,000 years - a place of quiet solitude, spectacular views, and abundant wildlife.

The Wilderness Act, signed into law in 1964 and celebrating its Fiftieth Anniversary this year, established the highest level of conservation protection for federal lands. Wilderness areas generally do not allow motorized equipment, motor vehicles, mechanical transport, temporary roads, permanent structures or installation. Visitors can engage in non-motorized recreation in Wilderness areas, including hiking, fishing, camping, and hunting.

05 April 2014

20th Annual Westfield River Symposium TODAY

Always a great event, Westfield State again hosts the Annual Westfield River Symposium on campus.
The program is found on the WRWA site, so check it out.

And consider attending next year!

03 April 2014

Medical Tourism Survey

The Medical Tourism Association is sponsoring a survey.

Please visit this link to participate. (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/53WHBX9).

Link is good until tomorrow Friday the 4 April!

02 April 2014

ok, yesterday was my annual April Fools Day Blog

but one needs to wonder about all that electromagnetic radiation going through our bodies.

See this link though.

"The Current Radiation Level in Japan
Except for the neighboring areas near the nuclear power plants, there is no dangerous level of radiation detected in Japan. Tokyo is NOT within radiation contamination area, as it is located over 200km (124 miles) away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant facilities. The radiation level in Tokyo is similar to that of New York City."

01 April 2014

Insta-weather App for Android

The debut of a new weather app for Android devices has been announced.  At first you might say, why do we need another app?  I mean, we got a dozen or so right now; what makes this new one so great?

Well first it is free, and we all know that free is good.

Second, this Insta-Weather App downloads data from NOAA and through its Bluetooth, transmit a small pulse at 149 gigahertz to the user's cerebral cortex to stimulate emotions.  Yes, so when the weather is rainy and gloomy, that is, a low pressure system and high humidity, the brain will receive happy thoughts.

Insta-Weather will become available online later this month.  April showers bring may flowers!

After all, we need rainy days to appreciate the sunny ones!

28 March 2014

Southeastern Recreation Research 2014

SERR 2014 is coming.

March 30th - April 1st 2014
Asheville, NC

See the webpage for details.

24 March 2014

Fee Free Days 2014

Save the dates:

Date 19-20 April 2014  National Parks Weekend (NPS Free)
Date 14 June 2014 National Get Outdoors Day (free National Forests)
Date 25 August 2014 National Park Service Birthday (NPS Free)
Date 12 October 2014 National Wildlife Refuge  Week (NWR Free)
11 November 2014 Veterans Day  (All Federal Public Lands Free)

18 March 2014

Community Preservation Act in Massachusetts

The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is a smart growth tool that helps communities preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing, and develop outdoor recreational facilities. CPA also helps strengthen the state and local economies by expanding housing opportunities and construction jobs for the Commonwealth's workforce, and by supporting the tourism industry through preservation of the Commonwealth’s historic and natural resources.

For more info, visit http://www.communitypreservation.org/

16 March 2014

9 inches by 14 inches by 22 inches

Sounds like a pack of gum, eh?  Well that is the size limit United Airlines is imposing of passengers who try to board the plane with those huge suitcases for the overhead bins.

As people scramble to be first to board, they can claim the best storage leaving those in Groups 5, 6 and 29 without a place to store the kitchen sink.

Promoted as an effort to quicken loading and ensure space is available for all, it is certainly something that all airlines will likely embrace.

I just hope I don't get a bulkhead seat!

08 March 2014

2014 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium

yep,  Springtime in the Northeast might mean longer days and springlike weather.  Snow may linger (a foot is still on the ground) but the flowers will start to pop up.

It also means the annual Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium.

Sunday, April 6 - Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Otesaga Resort & Conference Center
Cooperstown, NY

Consider becoming "friends" on Facebook.

I'll be there presenting "The Carbon Footprint in Recreation Events."

06 March 2014

Zusammenhang and Recreation


zusammen- +‎ Hang
Zusammenhang m (genitive Zusammenhangs or Zusammenhanges, plural Zusammenhänge)

(Source: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Zusammenhang)

05 March 2014

Recreation Geography Defined

I opened this Blog a few years ago with that statement.  See (or search) for multiple definitions on the Blog.

04 March 2014

Virtual Tourism

After traveling to Belize to present a paper on human dimensions in recreation at the International Symposium on Society and Natural Resources, I thought about the experience of planning my trip using the internet.  Now, mind you, the internet was in the early stages of development, at least for the masses.  Academia had BITNET, ARPANET and other educational networks to ftp and otherwise communicate between computers, but the web was something new.

So I wrote the paper:  Bristow, Robert S. (1999) 'Commentary: Virtual tourism — the ultimate ecotourism?', Tourism Geographies, 1: 2, 219 — 225.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616689908721311

Abstract:  The advent of the Internet has become one of the most important events of the
twentieth century. On it we can access live weather reports, make travel reservations
and visit a foreign destination without leaving our computer. Surfing the
Net in anticipation of a trip is an important element of the total experience.
Although it is unlikely that a virtual field trip will replace the actual travel experience,
it may be the second best alternative. This paper explores some of the
potential elements of virtual ecotourism and cautions of the potential impact of
visitors exposed to a virtual visit.

01 March 2014

Top 10 Foreign Airports (Passenger Traffic to/From U.S.)

From TI News: An information service from the National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO)

I have been to three of them.  (See travel.trade.gov for more info)

Top 10 Foreign Airports (Passenger Traffic to/From U.S.):
37.8% of Total Air Traffic

% Chg y-o-y
London Heathrow (LHR)
Toronto (YYZ)
Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Cancun (CUN)
Mexico City (MEX)
Incheon (ICT)
Frankfurt (FRT)
Paris/de Gaulle (CDG)
Vancouver (YVR)
Amsterdam (AMS)

26 February 2014

History of National Parks

The history of US National Parks is pretty interesting.  While the US is fairly young but we were pioneers in the protection of public lands and the establishment of national parks.  NPS.gov has an useful page on the history.

24 February 2014

Trails in Massachusetts

I am a bit disappointed that Mass GIS doesn't show that many trails for the Commonwealth.

While the entire state view looks like this:

Even when you zoom in to the large open space lands in our area, you don't get that much more information:

So to get trail data for the area, you need to do a Google Search.  You might find, for example, this site.http://www.americantrails.org/resources/statetrails/MAstate.html

And you might find buried in WWW land, this 2003 trail guide for the area. http://robertbristow.home.comcast.net/~robertbristow/userguideweb/guide.html

21 February 2014


Where can you find info on recreation in America?  Well besides Google, try http://www.recreation.gov/. You can search by location (with or without a map) activity or just browse the databases.  This site links many other federal government websites.

Good stuff.

19 February 2014


The US has some unusual weather this season.  The west is experiencing a serious drought and the rest of the country has been hammered with cold and snow.  You can track the season of snow, and compare it to the snowfall in the west.

For local weather, see our station at this link.

18 February 2014

Jamaican Bobsled Team

No gold, but we have to give them credit for their Olympic Spirit.  Here is a news report from the Caribbean Journal.

15 February 2014

75,000 flights cancelled since 1 December 2013

and 14,000 just this week!

Seems weather is the big culprit.  But can we really call weather the culprit since we may be the blame for at least some. of it?

The site FlightAware keeps these kinds of records (reported by wire services). The site is also good for tracking flights and even estimating arrival times, something I do when I need to pick up someone at the local airport (BDL).  Also you can weather reports, news reports related to the industry and lots of useful information for us, the client/passengers.

14 February 2014

Curling rocks.

In between shoveling a foot of snow, I watched some more curling on TV.  Check out http://www.sochi2014.com/en/curling

I know they are athletes and all, but I am glad most of them look like normal people and we find individuals all different ages.

Curling is the sport of all ages.  Locally you can check it out at the Petersham Curling Club

10 February 2014


Last week's foot of snow was generally light and fluffy.  It fell on an inch or two of crusty ice.

I needed to increase the number of paths for our dog to walk in since the main path around the property was pretty well "visited".  So I figured a snow shoe path would be good for the dog to traverse.  She is pretty small and since the snow is still a foot deep, often you just see her curly tail above the snow.

Increasing Biscuit's snow trail system.

09 February 2014

I am feeling very Olympic today, how about you?

Who said this?

Think about it.

Ok, I'll tell you.

It is one of my favorite films:  Cool Runnings.

This is a great film and I highly recommend viewing it and do it now, as the Winter Olympics are live of TV.

Good stuff Sanka!

See http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2014/02/cool-runnings-gifs-life-lessons.

07 February 2014

good website

I always like the site http://sectionhiker.com/
that helps novice and expert hikers.  A recent post dealt with water along the AT in the Presidentials and noted several good springs with maps to get a bit of water.

check it out.

05 February 2014

Yippee Snow Day

We in academia are lucky.  I mean even with "adult" children, the administration closed school today.

Sure, there is about 10 inches of snow on the ground right now (9:45 am) on top of the 2 inches we got over the weekend, but just think about all those workers in the real world, going to work in the grocery stores and Walmart, so that people like us can buy another loaf of bread.

I encouraged my students in Recreation Geography to go play in the snow and I hope most do.  This class of students seems to be more active than the last class.  More activities outdoors and more places to do the activities.

So what I am doing on the computer?  Well, doing some tax stuff, and getting ready to snowblow the driveway, so I can get that loaf of bread.

02 February 2014

Biggest Sporting Day of the Year

Yes, it is the Bowl Day.

Puppy Bowl and new this year is Kitten Bowl.

What a great day for sports.  Adopt a shelter animal.

29 January 2014

A European View on Recreation

This is a good report on recreation in Europe.

A citation would be....

Simon Bell and Liisa Tyrväinen and Tuija Sievänen and Ulrike Pröbstl and Murray Simpson,
"Outdoor Recreation and Nature Tourism: A European Perspective",
Living Rev. Landscape Res. 1, (2007), 2. URL (cited on <29 2014="" jan="">): 

It is important to compare and contrast recreation across the globe.

28 January 2014

National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, & Wildlife-Associated Recreation

The Census Bureau keeps a good database of recreation demand data at this link. http://www.census.gov/prod/www/fishing.html

Hint Hint for my Quantitative Methods Students... a good database to "play" with (pun intended).

27 January 2014

Recreation Demand

While there a lot of good sites to get recreation demand data and forecasting information, this commercial site is useful.  

The Outdoor Recreation Participation Report is the only detailed study of its kind tracking American participation trends in outdoor recreation. The study is based on an online survey capturing responses from over 40,000 Americans ages six and older and covers 114 different activities. "

26 January 2014

Downton Abbey

I was entranced with the very first episode and now I can't wait for the next episode.  The next episode for us now is Season 5 and if PBS continues the trend that won't occur until January 2015.

Maybe I need to move to the UK, where the next season will be broadcast in the fall of 2014.  Or continue what we have done by donating to PBS to get the whole season early in the States.

If you don't know about this remarkable TV show, check out this link.

25 January 2014

Biking in Westfield

MassBike has published a report on the "Bikeability" of Westfield Massachusetts and can be found at this link.  Several recommendations are made to make the city a better place for bicycles.  Let's hope the recommendations come true!

24 January 2014

NASA Interactive map

NASA is great for educational resources and the new interactive map found at this link is just another example of the good stuff.

23 January 2014


What's this have to do with Recreation Geography?  For a definition see this online dictionary.  You can also read this paper published by the USDA-Forest Service.

22 January 2014

Recreation and Geography go together

If the Library of Congress (LOC) group recreation and geography, who am I to question the logic?

See this Wikipedia notation.

21 January 2014

A different kind of medical tourism

In this case, both the patient and the doctor travel overseas for a procedure.

In this case, despite the $40,000 bill, it was an issue of timeliness.  See the article.

20 January 2014

Weather and travel

So, it has been over two weeks since I last blogged and I am going to mention something about that old.

The first of the year was pretty bad for weather disruptions, especially by air.  Our trip to the Caribbean was delayed a day and while our lodging could meet our needs, all I can say is this:

If you need to connect in Miami (MIA), especially returning from out of the country and needing to clear immigration with checked luggage....

give yourself 5 hours!

Welcome to America!

01 January 2014

Smoking banned in parks

Boston Massachusetts has banned smoking it the city parks!  The ban takes effect immediately and applies to tobacco, pot, and lighted or vaporized stuff.  Police and park rangers can impose a $250 fine.

This will help improve health.  See the story at the Boston Globe site.