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Reader Participation Day: What Deviations From National Park Standards Have You Seen?

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Elk Bugle Corp VIP in GRSM

Four VIPs (Volunteers in the Parks) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

When I was a volunteer in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we were handed two shirts: a long-sleeve for the winter and a short-sleeve shirt for the rest of the year. But how did we know when winter ended and summer started?

Twice a year, former Superintendent Dale Ditmanson put out a directive when it was time to switch from one shirt to another. Other rules took up two pages of the training manual for volunteers.

The year after the accompanying picture was taken, VIPs (volunteers in the parks) handed in their green ball caps and given brown ones, so that we couldn't be mistaken for rangers.

I became attuned to looking for procedures and standards and deviation from them. For example:

* Visitor Centers open on time, to the minute.

* Ranger flat hats are worn outside and not inside a buiding.

* Rangers and volunteers who staff the desk at the visitor center never recommend a specific private business. They'll say in general, "there are lots of places in [the gateway town] where you can get lunch.

* People coming into parks are referred to as visitors and never tourists.

* And the stores in the parks are bookstores, never gift stores, no matter what they sell.
 
Have you seen deviations from National Park Service practices by rangers or volunteers? In what parks?


Do these breaches bother you?

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