Recent comments

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I am not sure that you can assume the child was lazy if you cannot assume the child was frightened.....sort of a double standard. I believe you are correct when you say we are assuming too much about the situation based on the information but unfortunately, you do the same thing by assuming simply because she is a teenager, she is lazy.

    I believe we have too little information to be forming any opinions one way or another. We weren't there.....we don't know the relationship of the parent and child.......we don't know any of the physical nuiances that could give us a lot of information......simply, not enough information to make any kind of judgement.

  • Dr. Gary Machlis Has Ambitious Plans As Science Advisor to National Park Service Director Jarvis   5 years 26 weeks ago

    It would be encouraging to see collaboration between NPS and any of the various NGO's that have the scientists already in the field and the money to pay them. The Nature Conservancy comes to mind as one example. TNC isn't operating on Park Service ground, but they study and manage their properties often in close proximity to NPS units. They also have less of an acrimonious history with the federal government and the National Park Service than some of the conservation groups that are more litigious.

    In Kurt's interview with Jarvis, the new director said he's expecting better collaboration between NPS, BLM, and the Forest Service that should lead to better creation and management of protected areas such as migration corridors. Even if informal, an open exchange of ideas with a land acquisition group like TNC could only come to good.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago


    As one who has wished that I could do something when I'm in a public situation and there is tense parent child situation, just to relieve the stress for both parent and child, I have to think we should err on the side of the child. Think of the recent comments on the tragedy of the child at Acadia...so many expected the rangers to be responsible. I am also thinking of the situation in California were the campus police acted on their intuition and checked on the man with 2 young girls leading to their and their mothers resque from a pedophile.
    No one agrees with basic parenting issues and we certainly don't have all the facts in this incident, nor do we have an unbiased report but if this was a typical "I don't want to " teenager so what ? If this was a fearful young woman being bullied by a parent then I believe this ranger had a responsibility to his charge. Parental rights do not extend to abuse in any form.

  • Dr. Gary Machlis Has Ambitious Plans As Science Advisor to National Park Service Director Jarvis   5 years 26 weeks ago

    The recent Ken Burns film pointed out, perhaps unintentionally, the NPS' managerial bias towards recreational management concerns, to the detriment of environmental education, natural science research, and natural resource protection. (Alas, cultural resource research and protection suffers as well. How will the science appointee incorporate these concerns into his stewardship?)
    One would hope that this new appointment will move interpretive programs towards a more science/education based platform, and away from the "touchy-feely let's use emotions instead of scientific facts" approach that is currently in favor.
    Whatever successes this appointee can achieve better happen quickly and effectively, because you can be darn sure that a focus on science in our National Park System will go away once a Republican administration is back in power in Washington.

  • On the Run: Racers See Four National Parks on Two Feet in One Day   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Thanks for a great article. I attended as a spectator and think it's a fabulous marathon course. I was wondering if you had a collective list of marathons that were routed through various national parks throughout the US (Alaska and Hawaii included)? In celebration of the Ken Burns National Parks series, what a great way to see them.
    Thanks.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Rick B is right. We do not know the whole story, and even if we did, every situation is unique and should be judged accordingly. Additionally, none of us know the protocols and regulations of the NPS well enough to make definitive statements about ranger's actions. My advice: Skip the topic, and go watch Ken Burns film on PBS.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    THE RANGER WAS CORRECT. HE WAS NOT STANDING ON PARENTS AUTHORITY. WHEN YOU ARE IN THAT KIND OF SITUATION, YOU HAVE TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC, BEFORE ANY EMERGENCY ARISE.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I have been to the caves and did not go up there.
    The Ranger was in is right, to let the gal know that she did not have to go there.
    As a mother I feel that a Child will know what is comfortable and what is not.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I think we need to get the whole story before choosing who was in the right. I am sure there is a lot more to the story then we were given. I believe if the ranger was in the right he could have found an appropriate way to have the mother leave the child with him then to undermind her authority the way he did in front of the child. But then again we do not have the whole story.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    If teenagers are are old enough to fight in Iraq - they are old enough to be able to judge their comfort factor.

    Fear is often a good thing. Especially when it occurs in the National Parks. It is often foolish bravado that causes accidents and death.

    And if I listened to my parents I would never have experienced the National Parks or backcountry. Thank god I broke out and away of the mold they cast for me.

    KUDOS to the ranger!!!

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I think the ranger was right in this situation. I have never been to this cave, but it seems that having someone on the steps that does not want to be there, or does not have their mind on what they are doing, could cause a problem for someone else on the steps. This sounds like a situation where everyone involved needs to be somewhat careful, so if you don't think you can be in control of yourself, it is best to realize your limitations so you do not cause problems or delays for the rest of the group.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    you mean instead of just turning a walking away? Hmmm wonder if the Mom knew she was wrong to potentially endanger the child and others around her.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I believe like so many here that the Ranger made a good judgment call. Park Rangers have to look after the safety of all the people there. If this teenager, whether rebellious or scared had gotten half way up the stairs and then had a problem, this could potentially be a hazard to others around her. The mother's behavior rings more of a bully then a mother caring about her child, because when faced with a strong opposition she backed down and walked away. We aren't privy to why mom acted this way and wanted to force the issue, but as a Mom myself, I would never turn and walk away from my child. I don't care how rebellious they became, and I especially wouldn't leave my teenage daughter with a man I didn't know, Ranger or not. I believe that the Ranger was acting in the best interest of the Park and the child. My children are now grown and my daughter has had a fear of heights since she was very small. Others have tried to force her to face the fear of heights, but to face your fears you need to be ready to face them....and not have it forced upon you!

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Why are so many strangers second guessing the judgement of the ranger who was there then. And every one substituting their own experiences for what the teen/parent/ranger MUST have been thinking/doing/misdoing. Abuse, heavy hand, timid, lazy, and on and on. Even to the point of some calling the ranger he and some she, when the original article almost carefully avoided mentioning gender.

    Project much?

  • Plane Missing at Denali National Park and Preserve With Noted Wolf Biologist Aboard   5 years 26 weeks ago

    One of the finest people I ever knew. Dedicated to his work and to justice and truth in the management of the treasured resources with which we have been blessed. Ian McLeod and I walked north of the park road along the Toklat River to act as assistants in observing the Toklat Pack back in the 80's. A great friend to man and wolf, a sly smile and great sense of humor in his private times and a dedicated confidence when confronting those exploiting our wilderness. I love you my brother, and I as many others will miss you. The wolves were already so oppressed.....I truly wonder who will stand for them now.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    It was a judgement call. The ranger made it. It is assumed he was acting within the scope of his responsibility and authority. Had the girl panicked and been injured or caused others to be injured the question would then be why didn't the ranger prevent the accident when he had reason to believe the girl was frightened by the ascent.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    As a park ranger myself, I can say that the ranger in your story was probably oversteping his/her bounds by the information provided. By taking control of the situation in that manner the ranger also took responsibility for any adverse outcomes. If the child had done something that caused any sort of injury or harm while the parent was away, the Rager would have a major legal issue to deal with; as would the ranger's employer. The proper response would have been to leave this up to the parent, and then if the disagreement between the two resulted in a public disturbance the family should have been asked to leave the area and resolve it's problems elsewhere. Unless the ranger witnessed some sort of abuse, in which case there may have been some intervention with possible legal ramifications. But in most real world situations, the ranger might have tried to find a way to settle the issue with a more creative and visitor friendly solution, like just offering the parent the options of having the ranger attend the minor while the parent climbed the feature, or maybe evening finding out why the kid didn't want to go and try to explain the attraction to get the kid past any fear or other issues so he or she could enjoy the climb and not miss out on it.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    The ranger was out of line. It is not his/her decision to make. The ranger undermined the parent which my cause future problems between parent and teenager. Most of the time the teenager is testing the parent and more than likely had an attitude about being on vacation with family.

    All of the people that think it was right need to think about your attitude toward law enforcement officers. Is it right for a law enforcement officer out side of the National Park to undermine the parent? I think most parents would be calling the supervisor to complain about the officer interfering.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Hooray for the Ranger who was operating by his good sense/experience apart from the Mother who was clearly operating out of her obvious & probably usual knee-jerking response of...."because I said so". I'm glad he stood his ground up against Mrs Stupid. Why stupid?....by the time a person gets to be a teenager they should have a sense for what their safety parameters should be. Hooray for the kid who recognized her limitations in keeping safe and likewise stood up to Mrs. Stupid. This same kid will probably have guts enough to stand up to her peers....those ones on their way to becoming Mrs Stupids when offered alcohol, drugs & cigarettes. I think the ranger should have directed Mrs. Stupid to the nearest exit for causing a scene in a place that is inherently dangerous and out of the ordinary.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    The ranger was wrong. If we're concerned with lawsuits, precedent has shown that if visitors are informed of the risks of an activity (e.g., a cave tour) and choose to go anyway, courts won't hold the park liable. Plus unless the parent is asking the child to do something that is dangerous, such that no visitor should do it, then the ranger should step in. Otherwise it's the parent's prerogative to raise the children as they see fit (whether we like it or not).

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I remember visiting the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon and admonishment that our ranger guide gave before he led the hike down to Cedar Ridge. He basically said that after the hike he was planning on making his weekly trip to Williams for a pie at his favorite restaurant. His goal was that nobody got injured or required any sort of assistance because that would have meant that he'd be filling out paperwork and delaying his weekly visit.

    A park ranger is responsible for all parties on a tour/guided hike. If his judgment was that a fearful teen was a potential danger to others, then his judgment overrides the mother's wishes. I certainly hope that I don't run into any parent like that where the safety of myself or my family is at risk.

    Of course we probably don't know exactly what the tone was or if there might have been additional words exchanged that weren't in the article.

  • "Red Tide" Prompts Visitor Advisory at Padre Island National Seashore   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Red Tide -

    Sorry if there's any confusion about information posted on various linked websites; this is obviously a situation that is changing each day.

    I did check the embedded links a few minutes ago, and they do seem to provide current information, if you read through the various pages on the state website, it still includes information consistent with the original story.

    This situation has no doubt hurt those who rely on tourism for their economic base; perhaps that had led to adjustments in the information posted on various sites.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I agree the ranger was doing his job, but If I was the ranger I was have clarified the situation better and not have been so demanding. I would have explained to the mother the dangers that could have happened if her teenager would have paniced. I would have that the mother explain why she was assisting that her child go and than have the teenager explain their reasoning. Than I would have to think what the best interest for all three would have been. If all indications point that the teen was afraid than I being the park ranger would not have wanted to take any chances of anyone getting hurt on my watch.

  • "Red Tide" Prompts Visitor Advisory at Padre Island National Seashore   5 years 26 weeks ago

    O Sanp! I went to the page you linked, looking for the warning so I could quote it for my red tide report page (http://redtideflorida.org/pages/index.php/florida-red-tide-report), and there's no warning there, in fact the text you quoted is either completly gone or just on a different page than you linked to. Infact one of the pages you linked to said this about the current red tide:
    "If it were my family heading to the coast, I would not cancel a vacation because of red tide."

    We have had similiar problems in Florida. But with enough public pressure they are finally taking some steps (some counties, the state still refuses to play, but they are lying less)

    So sad.

  • "Red Tide" Prompts Visitor Advisory at Padre Island National Seashore   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Thanks for posting this, I was wondering if they'd ever get around to posting a warning.

    Did you see of the newspaper web sites in Texas are trying to say it was over days ago?

    Anyway, I'm in Florida and we have red tide lots more often than TX. We're monitoring on our site at: http://redtideflorida.org. Please feel free to come by and post a comment or contact me about writinfg an article for our site if you'd like.