22 May 2017

United States projected to lose $1.3 billion in travel-related expenditures in 2017

Well, that is what is reported here.

"Using first quarter ticketing data from the Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC), publicly available travel data and GBTA’s economic research and models, GBTA developed an ‘uncertainty forecast’ for 2017 showing the impact this mounting geopolitical uncertainty is having on the economy. There is no question that uncertainty is bad for business travel and bad for the global economy. - See more at: https://www.traveldailynews.com/post/united-states-projected-to-lose-13-billion-in-travel-related-expenditures-in-2017#sthash.OXI7MNHH.dpuf"

Time will tell so you might want to check out the info from Global Business Travel Association GBTA.

18 May 2017

Commencement Tourism

If your college commencement is this weekend, good luck trying to find a decent hotel nearby.  For our graduation you can check this link for places to crash.  Or try the local state parks?

14 May 2017

Fun in the Woods

Here is another blog on Blogspot that might be of interest to you hikers that want to know how you can help manage the Appalachian Trail.

The mission?  A blog about volunteer trail maintenance on the Appalachian Trail in Massachusetts.

11 May 2017


One of my neighbors decided to dine at my neighbors' bird feeder the other night.  (S)he finally ran off when I disturbed the meal.  Oh well.

Oh yeah, the US Postal Food Drive is this Saturday.  Donate to help others (and not bird seed)!

09 May 2017


A fitting close to Travel and Tourism Planning at Westfield State.  Let us all celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week!

Check out the factsheet.

250 Billion for Food?

08 May 2017

Westfield River Fish Ladder

Tour the Westfield River fish ladder Sunday, May 21 this year, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Sponsored by the Westfield River Watershed Association  this annual event is fun for all.

07 May 2017

Connecticut River fish Ladder Open in Holyoke

The annual migration of the Atlantic Salmon can be observed at the Robert E. Barrett Fishway in Holyoke MA.  Open to the public and free the viewing continues until 11 June 2017.  Tours are available weekends at 1:30 PM.  For more info visit the Holyoke GE site.

02 May 2017

Abraj Kudai, the largest hotel in the World?

With 10,000 rooms (yes 10k), this hotel is expected to open this year and will have 70 restaurants and five helipads.  Ten of the towers are intended to provide four-star accommodation while the remaining two will offer luxurious five-star amenities. Catering to the needs of tourists, the city receives around 2 million pilgrims for the annual Hajj. And another 20 million the rest of the year.

Seems since these tourists are not permitted to enter the US, tourism in Saudi Arabia will boom!

30 April 2017

Leave No Trace

There are many reasons to Leave No Trace and as folks prepare for the hiking season, besides ticks, we should be reminded about minimizing our impact.  See the LNT website for an EXTENSIVE bibliography of related information.

26 April 2017

Travel and Tourism Videos

Since everyone has a video camera, or at least a smart phone, travel videos are widely available on the web.  So besides Youtube and Vimeo, this site looks promising.  I also like the GoPro videos.



18 April 2017

Overbooked Flights

Seems this topic has been the topic around the water cooler lately?  What, no water cooler, well then what about the coffee maker?

Well anyway, PBS republished report last week just for you and me.

Further, a quick little google search will find tons of sites discussing this very common hassle at teh airports.  See this one for instance.

The only time we had to deal with this was on a flight to Orlando for vacation.  Instead of the 6 am flight, we flew a 10 am flight, first class and started our vacation a bit later.  No big deal.

Open Air Airport.  Our flight from Puerto Plata got cancelled since New England was snowed in.  So we flew to San Juan, PR and spent the night there.  Our return home trip took 48 hours!

17 April 2017

Paper accepted in Leisure/Loisir

Here is the abstract of our paper accepted in Leisure/Loisir.  Leisure / Loisir is the official publication of the Canadian Association for Leisure Studies/Association canadienne d’études en loisir ( CALS). While Leisure / Loisir is based in Canada and offers a primary outlet for individuals affiliated with Canadian institutions, the journal encourages international submissions.

Travel behaviour substitution for a white-water canoe race influenced by climate induced stream flow

The World Tourism Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization (UNWTO-UNEP-WMO, 2008) have identified one of the consequences of climate change is an interference of normal precipitation.  This research investigates the changes in travel patterns by participants and spectators at an annual canoe race as influenced by variable stream flow.   Given that stream flow varies seasonally, one might hypothesize that should a permanent reduction of water flow take place in the future, a decline or shift in water-based recreation might be expected.  Using data collected over two years at the Annual Westfield River Wildwater Races, interviews were conducted at the staging area as participants waited in the queue.  Observers of the race were also interviewed.   The two sampling years represent a low flow season and a normal flow season and yield a sample of 142 parties. During the low flow season, one that is projected to become the norm under climate change models, expert paddlers travelled a greater distance characteristic of destination substitutability while spectators decreased travel distance and this suggests a reduction of interest in observing the race.

Keywords:  Climate change, water-based recreation, substitution, travel behaviour, streamflow

14 April 2017

Annual Westfield River Races

Saturday, April 15th 2017 will be the running of the annual Westfield River Wildwater Race.

Nice weather is planned and while the water temps will be chilly, the race will go on.  For more info see the race website.

For stream gauge data, click here for the USGS.

12 April 2017

North by Northwest

This is one of my favorite films.  Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason, this classic thriller was a remarkable event to see on the big screen.  North by Northwest is more than just the airplane scene or Mount Rushmore, it is a fast paced adventure following Grant (RoT) as he is chased and chases the bad guys.

Thanks to TCM and Fanthom Entertainment for getting this film on the big screen.

03 April 2017

AAG in Boston

Just check out some of the session titles sponsored by the Recreation, Tourism and Sport Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers this week:

Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Specialty Group
An exploration of dark(er) liminal spaces in tourism
Engagements with nature-based tourism
Geopolitics of Tourism I
Geopolitics of Tourism II
lifestyle mobilities and local communities
New moral natures in tourism 1
New moral natures in tourism 2
Our National Parks: 100 Years and Beyond
Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Specialty Group Business Meeting
Rural Geographies and Tourism
Sports Geography
Staging the Nation: Tourism and the Geopolitical Gaze
Sustainable Tourism - Resilient Destinations: Future Governance Strategies in Tourism Development?
The Call of the Wild: Writing and Walking in American Landscapes
Tourism and the Politics of Wilderness Management and Governance
Tourism Geographies and Evolutionary Economic Geographies: New Perspectives on Change in Tourism Regions
Tourism Geographies: Examining the Past and Charting the Future
Tourism Geographies: Systems, Space and Sustainability
Tourism Geographies: Urban Tourism
Transnational Cultural and Natural Heritage in Asia: Contours of Boundary-Transgressing Memoryscapes (I)
Transnational Cultural and Natural Heritage in Asia: Contours of Boundary-Transgressing Memoryscapes (II)
Urban parks and green space: Working for the city (2 of 3)
Visitors, Art, Food and Creativity on the edge: Overcoming Path Dependency and other Challenges

If you are in Boston, this week, check out one of these sessions!

02 April 2017

Real Coal Mine Tourism

yes, of course, the blog from yesterday is my annual April Fools report.  Appropriate,  Right?

Anyway, you can tour coal mines.  Most abandoned mines are probably not safe for visitors, but like a cave, if you have lights and are safe, it can be fun.

01 April 2017

Dark Tourism?

Since Mr. Trump has decided to open up "clean" coal mines again so we get cheap energy for people and provide jobs for the out-of-work coal miners, a new tourism business is frantically trying to get started before the mines open for digging.

Yes, the ultimate Dark Tourism will provide tours underground in the dark, damp mines that have been out of commission since the coal industry was declared unsafe for humans and failed to keep prices below those for natural gas.

The 3 day adventure begins with a standard tour of the mine including a chance to drive one of those short digging machines.  The last night is spent in the mine so the dark tourist can experience the complete darkness during a simulated coal mine disaster.  Similar to the survival classes, the tourists must survive the night with nothing but a bottle of Perrier and a Clif Bar.

What fun!

30 March 2017

Appalachian Trail Database

Even though we got snow on the ground (and more expected tomorrow), springtime gets me thinking about hiking and such.  I cam across this website for information on the Appalachian Trail that you might want to check out.

It includes some pretty useful information for the long distances hikers.  For instance, back in 1974, I slept on this porch!

25 March 2017

Sustainable Travel

One of my weekly news feeds showcased this website.  All good stuff and the one I practice on a daily basis is to carry a cloth bag when I shop so I don't need that bad plastic bag. Yes, we can all become a better traveler.

To learn more, also visit Tourism Geography Today.

Good stuff!

15 March 2017

Belize 2017

A bunch of our students are travelling in Belize this springbreak, hitting many of the famous ecotourism sites.  After all Belize is probably one of the first ecotourism destinations in the world, up there with Costa Rica, Ecuador, Dominica and even Mexico.   See the early work by Boo.

Boo, E. (1990). Ecotourism: the potentials and pitfalls: country case studies. WWF.

Belize is pretty neat, easy to get around, and has lots of neat places to visit.  Trouble is, like Costa Rica, it is being "loved to death" by American Tourists.

View north from Xunantunich.

Visit Belize soon, before it becomes Florida.

14 March 2017

Who is Stella?

So here we go again with all the weather hype.  I am not saying a snow storm dumping 3 inches of white stuff an hour is nothing to sneeze about, but I still need to ask

Who is Stella?

Seems Stella is a commercial name of this latest nor'easter as an attempt to personalize a weather event.  Now, we do name hurricanes, but that is a function of the government.  Stella comes directly from a for-profit cable channel.  So to get a commercial free and accurate assessment of weather, go to the weather.gov (not the dot com one).

Here is what we got as of 12 noon.

Oh yeah, check on your neighbors, especially the elderly.

10 March 2017

Robert Osborne RIP (May 3, 1932 – March 5, 2017)

This name may not ring a bell for many of you, but since the start of Turner Classic Movies, the cable commercial free channel, his wisdom on movie and everything about the art form was highly cherished.  In reading his obits this past week I was surprised about his small acting role in the pilot of Beverly Hillbillies, a class comedy from a a past era.  Further it was neat to read that Lucille Ball encourage Mr. Osborne that Hollywood needed more writers that actors.  How true is that!

If you get a chance to watch TCM for the classic films, I think you will be pleased.  It is only a $5 add on for those of you who stream TV, or $10 for those still depending on cable.

06 March 2017

Learning by Doing: Spring Break

Here is a neat paper on service learning trips during Spring Break.  Heck you can drink beer and lay of the beach anytime.  The Abstract:

This is a case study based on the Hospitality and Restaurant Management program at a
comprehensive Midwest university in the United States of America (n = 164). The sample
selection for this study was a convenience sample of the students enrolled in a meetings and
events management course. The purpose of the study was to investigate how the incorporation of
service learning/hands-on experience in a meetings and events management class influences
student learning and interest in community service. The results indicated that participants’
involvement in service learning/hands-on experience in a meetings and events management class
significantly influences student learning and interest in community service.

04 March 2017


Way too early to consider Trump Slump (yesterday's Blog), but still shows the volatility of tourism in a global market.  The full summary:

The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that 8.0 million international visitors(1)(2)traveled to the United States in August 2016, down two percent (-2.1%) from August 2015.

In August 2016 the top inbound markets continued to be Canada and Mexico. Non-resident visits from Canada declined five percent while visits from Mexico increased five percent. The United Kingdom (-6.6%), the People’s Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong) (+9.9%), and Japan (-4.0%) rounded out the top five. Four of the top inbound overseas regional markets(3) posted increases in non-resident visits in August 2016, with Western Europe, South America, Oceania, the Middle East, and Africa posting declines.

For the eight months of 2016, international visits (50.8 million) were down two percent
(-2.3%) when compared to the same period in 2015.

Country of Residence
% Change August
2016 vs. 2015
% Change
YTD August
2016 vs. 2015
United Kingdom
People's Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong)
South Korea

Source:  The National Travel and Tourism Office.

03 March 2017

Trump Slump

Trump Slump is the term that travel expert Arthur Frommer has coined to reflect the potential decline in tourism in the states due to the new president's actions.

"Experts across the travel industry are warning that masses of tourists are being scared away from visiting the United States, and the loss of tourism jobs could be devastating."

Well, we will see when I report the stats from The National Travel and Tourism Office at a later date.

Stay tuned.

01 March 2017

Cannibal Tours

Cannibal Tours is a great video for Tourism classes.  While it is a bit dated, it does provide a reality TV show view of the tourists interacting with the locals in a region of Papua New Guinea.  What is remarkable however, are the exchanges between the two groups, each trying to hold onto what they value and for the tourists they are totaly oblivious!

It is a jaw-dropping video and can be viewed on YouTube.

27 February 2017

Tornado Chasing and Bill Paxton RIP

It is sort of ironic that Bill Paxton, star of Twister died this weekend AND we had a tornado in Conway, Massachusetts.  It was the movie that prompted me and students in Recreation Geography to study storm chasing and deliver a paper at the Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium.

The paper abstract is "Tours devoted to tornado storm chasing have become popular in recent years, especially with the emergence of many profit and non-profit storm chasing organizations. While most literature in risk recreation has been directed toward rock climbing or other high-risk outdoor recreation activities, tours devoted to storm chasing are quite unlike these traditional activities. The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of these organizations from information collected in a mailed survey. Areas to be discussed are specific tour details for each company, basic demographics of tour attendees, and other areas of tour requirements."

25 February 2017

In like a lion, out like a lamb, February??

With temps in the 70s at the end of February and the month starting with two hefty snow storms, is the second month of the year going to be the new March?

Is it climate change?

Oh yeah, today is International Sword Swallowers Day!

22 February 2017

U.S. Travel and Tourism Exports Total $21 Billion in December

Sounds like a big economic impact right?

"The National Travel and Tourism Office today announced that international visitors spent more than $21.2 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States in December, an increase of nearly three percent ($564 million) when compared to December 2015 - setting a new record for monthly U.S. travel and tourism exports.

International visitors spent a record-setting $247.1 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services in 2016, an ever-so-slight increase (0.4%) when compared to record levels of spending in 2015; conversely, Americans have spent an estimated $158.9 billion abroad, yielding a balance of trade surplus of more than $88.2 billion for the year."

For more details see The National Travel and Tourism Office.

21 February 2017

Is eco-tourism the future of science funding?

This is the news heading on CBS tonight.  So it seems since there is a decline of funding for climate change research, the only way scientists can explore the world is to join the world of a tourist.

For example, I had a chance to visit Solheim in Iceland in 2013 and again in 2015 and can report a retreat of 100 meters.

Check out this picture taken in 2015 that shows the glacier location in 2010.  Is there are any doubt about climate change??

19 February 2017

An exploration of dark(er) liminal spaces in tourism

This is the name of the session we organized for the American Association Geographers meeting in Boston later this spring.

Paper Session:

4112 An exploration of dark(er) liminal spaces in tourism

is scheduled on Saturday, 4/8/2017, from 8:00 AM - 9:40 AM in Room 201, Hynes, Second Level

Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Specialty Group

Robert S. Bristow - Westfield State University

Robert S. Bristow - Westfield State University


8:00 AM   Author(s): *Nitasha Sharma - Indiana University Bloomington

 Abstract Title: Liminality, ethics and perceptions towards death

8:20 AM   Author(s): *Robert S. Bristow - Westfield State University
Ian S. Jenkins, Ph.D. - University of Iceland, Háskóli Íslands

 Abstract Title: Dark liminal spaces in fright tourism

8:40 AM   Author(s): Marion Karl - LMU Munich

 Abstract Title: The role of risk perception in travel decision-making and destination choice

9:00 AM   Author(s): *Maggie Christine Miller - University of Waterloo

 Abstract Title: Exploring Climbing Sherpas' stories of death and disaster as moments of liminality

9:20 AM   Author(s): *Velvet Nelson - Sam Houston State University

 Abstract Title: Objectivity or Empathy? Representing the Enslaved at Heritage Museums

Session Description: This session seeks papers that explore the liminal nature of tourism travel behavior.  Dark(er) tourist attractions may range from the lighter end (e.g., Fright Tourism for entertainment) to the darker side (e.g., sites of genocide). Further some sites may have "darker" reputation due to one's perception of fear and safety. So people can be expected to have different motivations or reasons to visit (educational, pilgrimage, entertainment).  Studies should pertain to the transition in liminal space from one's ordinary life into a spatial and temporal one found at the destination, from either the tourist's viewpoint and/or the site's management.  International destinations are encouraged.

The International Journal of Tourism Cities has invited manuscripts from this session.

17 February 2017

My AT Story

For some great stories, check out this web link.  For those who have hiked, or hiked the AT in particular, this site will sing to you.

Mount Moosilauke

13 February 2017

NCAA Concussion Injury Litigation Information

In re National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation,
Case No. 1:13-cv-09116
(United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois)
If You Are a Current or Former Student-Athlete Who Played An NCAA-Sanctioned Sport at an NCAA School At Any Time Through July 15, 2016,
Your Rights May Be Affected by a Class Action Lawsuit
A Settlement, subject to court approval, has been reached in a class action lawsuit called In re National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation, Case No. 1:13-cv-09116 (N.D. Ill.).  It is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
The lawsuit claims that the NCAA was negligent and breached its duty to protect all current and former student-athletes by failing to adopt appropriate rules regarding concussions.  The lawsuit seeks medical monitoring relief to diagnose possible long-term effects of concussions or the accumulation of sub‑concussive hits for all current and former student-athletes. The lawsuit also seeks changes to the NCAA’s concussion management and return-to-play guidelines.
The NCAA denies these allegations and denies it did anything wrong.  If the Court does not approve the Settlement, the NCAA will argue, among other things, that the case should not be a class action.  The Court has not decided whether or not Defendant did anything wrong.
You are a Class Member and included in the Settlement if you played an NCAA-sanctioned sport at an NCAA school at any time up to July 15, 2016.
The NCAA has agreed to a Medical Monitoring Fund of $70,000,000, which, after deducting administrative costs, and attorneys’ fees and expenses, will fund the screening of Class Members as well as medical evaluations for those Class Members who qualify as a result of the screening during the 50-year Medical Monitoring Program. The medical evaluations will be designed to assess symptoms related to persistent post‑concussion syndrome, as well as cognitive, mood, behavioral, and motor problems that may be associated with mid- to late-life onset diseases that may be linked to concussions and/or subconcussive hits, such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and related disorders. In addition, the NCAA has committed $5,000,000 to fund research regarding the prevention, diagnosis, care, and management of concussions and mid- to late-life neurodegenerative disease.  The NCAA has also agreed to chang e its policies and procedures for concussion management and return to play. You can download the Second Amended Settlement Agreement from www.collegeathleteconcussionsettlement.com or call the toll-free number listed below and request one.
The Court appointed the law firms Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and Siprut PC to represent you.  You do not have to pay these attorneys or anyone else to participate.  They will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees and costs, which would be paid from the Medical Monitoring Fund. You may hire your own lawyer to appear in Court for you; if you do, you have to pay that lawyer.
Do Nothing and Remain in the Settlement.  If you do nothing, you are considered a participant in the Settlement.  You will be bound by all Court orders.  If the Settlement is approved, certain potential legal claims you may have against the NCAA will be resolved and forever released. Also, if the Settlement is approved, you will have the opportunity to complete a screening questionnaire to determine whether you qualify for up to two medical evaluations during the 50‑year medical monitoring period.
Opt Out (“Exclude Yourself”) from the Settlement.  You must submit a written request to Opt Out of the Class and the Settlement to the Notice Administrator. The complete, signed Opt-Out request must be mailed to the Notice Administrator postmarked no later thanMarch 10, 2017. However, if you are a current NCAA student-athlete on or after 6 months after the Effective Date and your school fails to put in place a concussion management plan within six months of the Effective Date, you will have a second opportunity to opt-out so long as you do so within 12 months of the Effective Date.
Object or Comment on the Settlement.  Written objections must be filed and served no later than March 10, 2017.  You give up your right to sue and are bound by Court orders even if your objection is rejected. If you file an objection, you may appear at the Fairness Hearing to explain your objection, but you are not required to attend.
The Court will determine whether to approve the Settlement and attorneys’ fees and expenses at a Fairness Hearing to be held on May 5, 2017, at 10 a.m., at the Everett M. Dirksen United States Courthouse for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois.  You may attend this hearing if you wish, but you do not have to attend in order to participate in the proposed Settlement.
If you have questions or want to complete a Screening Questionnaire:
Write:  In re: NCAA Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation, c/o Gilardi & Co. LLC, PO Box 43414, Providence, RI 02940-3414

11 February 2017


What a great headline from AP!  Let's Keep America Home of the Free.

This of course follows this headline "Time to boycott vacations to the U.S." from an OpEd piece from the Toronto Star.  "Canadians can protest U.S. President Donald Trump's policies by staying away from America, writes Mark Bulgutch. "It’s not a terrible sacrifice. Wait four years. We can hope the Trump presidency will then be over. The Grand Canyon will still be there. The Golden Gate Bridge. Mount Rushmore. Disney World. They’ll all be there. And with any luck, the Statue of Liberty will still be there too."  (SUSAN WALSH / AP) "

07 February 2017

Appalachian Trail Volunteers

This past weekend we had the 2017 Mass AT Volunteer Gathering in Dalton, MA.  It was a chance to reflect back on all the volunteer efforts for the Appalachian Trail in Massachusetts and to plan ahead for 2017.  The remarkable thing here is the total of "regular" volunteer hours reaching 6,307.5!  Other groups add to the work needed for the AT but at 6,307.5 it is still worth about $145,000!

The figures for volunteer labor varies by job and state, so I took the federal average from 2015.

05 February 2017

Biggest Bowl Game in History?

Seems everyone is gearing up for the big game today.  Biscuit is resting up for what might be the biggest game yet.

If the excitement gets too much, flip the TV over to PBS and watch Masterpiece Theatre.

03 February 2017

Military Tourism up in Springfield, Massachusetts

The Springfield Armory National Historic Site attracted 23,000 visitors in 2016.  Perhaps the bubble due to the National Park Service's Centenial celebrations, but still a credit to the interest of our heritage.

01 February 2017

International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

United Nations declares 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.  For news of this important message, click here.

30 January 2017

US Travel Bans

Welcome to America.....not.

What will be the impacts from Trump's travel bans?  World leaders and prominent figures have blasted US President Donald Trump's temporary ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States as divisive, illegal, insulting and discriminatory.

For a quick summary of the world's opinion, see CNN.

Our own travel.state.gov site states "Urgent Notice: Under the Executive Order on Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals signed on January 27, 2017, visa issuance to nationals of the countries of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has been suspended effective immediately until further notification. We will announce any other changes affecting travelers to the United States as soon as that information is available."

I guess we will not be able to see our friends and relatives anymore?

26 January 2017


Tongue twister?  Try this link.

For "A geographer's view on recreation: "zusammenhang," the connectedness of it all" try this one.

24 January 2017

Singin' in the Rain

Saw this classic on the big screen last week as part of a TCM initiative to bring films to audiences at movie theaters.  You can't beat the BIG screen.

At first I wondered if the film was wide screen but according to the ad, "This film will be shown in the same aspect ratio as when it was originally released in cinemas."  There seems to be some debate on the subject though.

In any case, it was fun.

13 January 2017

Mass GIS

We have seen tremendous improvements with interactive mapping sites.  My own "river.wsc.ma.edu" served maps a decade ago and you can see some of the features on this link (thanks to Archive.org and the "wayback machine").

More contemporary ones are wide spread and may be general, like Google Earth, or specialized like the Oliver one at Mass GIS or one for Iceland.

11 January 2017



Explore your National Parks!  Thanks to the National Park Service, all national parks across the country will waive admission fees on the following days throughout 2017:

January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

February 20: Presidents Day

April 15-16 and 22-23: Weekends of National Park Week

August 25: National Park Service Birthday

September 30: National Public Lands Day

November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend

10 January 2017

Where's the snow?

It was a cold weekend in Westfield, but in a few days, warmer temperatures are predicted.   That said, short term memories mean that we may remember that last winter was mild and the one before it was hard.

What will we say about the winter of 2016-17 next summer?  time will tell.

The graphic above shows the change in the Urban Heat Island for Westfield, 16 years apart.  Read more about this here.

05 January 2017

Cold Fronts

At 12 midnight GMT last night, the US was experiencing this:

You can see the cold front just passing the eastern seaboard and with it, we are getting colder air with winds from the NW.

The current radar loop is found here and depending on how far after you observe it will take the past conditions above and relate that to the live values in the loop.

What will tomorrow bring?

04 January 2017

They're dead. They're all messed up RIP

George Kosana, who played Sheriff McClelland in the 1968 cult zombie film, Night of the Living Dead, has died. He was 81. http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2017/01/03/george-kosana-sheriff-night-living-dead-dies-81/96133166/ 

NOTLD was one of my first prints in my 16 mm collection.

03 January 2017

Full Proof Weather Forecasting

Ok, the secret is out.

Long thought to be highly trained scientists, actually meteorologists employ and ancient and highly accurate tool to understand the weather.

(source: http://www.usscouts.org/profbvr/weather_rock/)

To analyze:

If the rock is wet, it's raining.
If the rock is swinging, the wind is blowing.
If the rock casts a shadow, the sun is shining.
If the rock does not cast a shadow and is not wet, the sky is cloudy.
If the rock is not visible, it is foggy.
If the rock is white, it is snowing.
If the rock is coated with ice, there is a frost.
If the ice is thick, it's a heavy frost.
If the rock is bouncing, there is an earthquake.
If the rock is under water, there is a flood.
If the rock is warm, it is sunny.
If the rock is missing, there was a tornado.
If the rock is wet and swinging violently, there is a hurricane.
If the rock has white splats on it, watch out for birds.

02 January 2017

To see the Northern Lights

Iceland is the place to go.

On my first visit, it was June and we enjoyed 20 hours of daylight and plenty of time to explore the countryside.  And a second visit was in October.  A bit more chilly, 12 hours of daylight, but we did get to see the lights while in southern Iceland, southeast of Hella.


01 January 2017

Daylight and Darkness map

Always kinda' cool to see where in the planet it might be dark and where the sun might be shining.

The site also gives calendars, sunrise and sunset info and full moon dates, should you want to go to the Bomba's Shack to party.