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  • Tips for Staying Safe During Your Visit to the National Parks   5 years 21 weeks ago

    This from a local tv station on the question of "staying safe" in Grand Canyon.

    Grand Canyon fraught with peril for unprepared
    (May 23rd, 2009 @ 9:21am)

    GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. - Frank Poole worked out at a gym and hiked around his Mississippi home carrying a weighted pack for months in preparation for his trip to the Grand Canyon.
    But it wasn't long after Poole started hiking on a popular Grand Canyon trail that he was struggling to breathe. Several hours later, he was in a northern Arizona hospital, where doctors determined the 75-year-old Poole had suffered a heart attack.

    ``I never suspected I was having a heart attack,'' Poole said recently from his home in Oxford, Miss. ``I just thought it was the heat and extra exertion, the altitude and things like that. I was just so naive.''

    As tourist season picks up, emergency workers at the park and hospital officials know they'll start seeing more people with injuries or those who, like Poole, didn't know they had underlying health conditions that surfaced during the strenuous hikes at the canyon.

    The canyon lures millions of people each year with its colorful landscape, immense size, and awe-inspiring geology. But it presents obstacles that can leave even experienced hikers emerging sore and fatigued, including scorching heat during summer months, an altitude of 7,000 feet, and steep, rocky, winding trails.

    ``There's a million ways you can hurt yourself down there,'' said Lon Ayers, who works in the park's backcountry office.

    The last few weeks have illustrated that.

    In late April, an Ohio man fell 60 feet when he was peering over the edge of the canyon and lost his balance. Two days later, two teenagers and a young man who were swimming in the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon were swept away and drowned. Another injury occurred when a mule lost its footing on a trail, fell and rolled over the passenger it was carrying.

    Falls, fatigue, extreme temperatures and horseplay at national parks around the country lead to nearly 3,600 search and rescue operations each year, according to 2007 figures. The park service also responds to 16,000 emergency medical calls a year for anything from abrasions to twisted ankles, heat stroke and cardiac arrest, said Dean Ross, NPS branch chief of emergency services in Washington, D.C.

    Rangers at the Grand Canyon perform more rescues than at any other park, including 300 helicopter rescues a year, said Ross.

    People who come prepared, bringing plenty of snacks and water, and who pace themselves and listen to their bodies fare the best.

    ``Don't be afraid to try it, (but) take it easy,'' said Dave Florence of Green Bay, Wis., who recently completed a 40-mile, five-day hike at the canyon.

    But hikers don't always heed warnings from rangers and on signs posted around the canyon.

    Allan Widener of Louisville, Ky., recently took the Bright Angel trail just off the canyon's South Rim. After a park staff member strongly recommended that Widener not head down without water, the hiker quipped that, ``I don't drink water, I drink Coke.''

    On the way back from his 11/2 mile hike, leaning against the canyon wall in a shady spot, the 48-year-old said he wished he would have had something to drink.

    Park rangers say they generally encounter three types of people hiking in the canyon. There are the strong-headed ones, usually in their teens and 20s who have an invincibility complex and will go against recommendations. Others are excited and unprepared but willing to change plans if needed.

    Then there are people like Albert Shank, who are prepared and generally stick to plans they've made, but sometimes get in trouble because of circumstance or because they made a bad decision, said Marc Yeston, deputy chief ranger.

    Shank was about 28 miles into what was supposed to be a 42-mile rim-to-rim run in April when his legs started cramping and his body refused to keep down any food or water. He nearly collapsed on a park bench and spent several hours having saline pumped into his body before he was able to walk out of the canyon.

    The Arizona State University faculty associate, who often runs distances longer than marathons, had plenty of water, energy bars and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but not enough electrolytes or salty food.

    ``That was a rookie mistake, and I'm not a rookie,'' he said. ``I learned that no matter how good of shape you're in, the canyon is something you need to respect, and dehydration will take you down.''

    What can be deceiving at the Grand Canyon is that the temperature at the South Rim, where 90 percent of all visitors go, is about 20 degrees cooler than at the bottom. And while most trails lead hikers up a mountain before the downward descent, it's the opposite at the Grand Canyon.

    ``It's a unique set of circumstances,'' Ayers said. ``People from all over the world need to at least hear it from somebody on what to expect. People who have never hiked the Grand Canyon before expect it to be a walk in the park.''

    Ayers said the level to which hikers are prepared amazes him at times.

    Other times, rangers say they aren't sure what people were thinking. They've seen a man in a business suit carrying a briefcase full of water bottles, a man playing a tuba and people hiking without shoes or in flip-flops.

    ``It all stems from a lack of preplanning and knowledge of these trails,'' said Ian Buchanan, a seasonal park worker who advises people on smart hiking. ``A lot of people get the sense that it's Disneyland when it's an environmental park.''

    At the Flagstaff Medical Center - northern Arizona's only Level I trauma center - officials have a name for the spring and summer months when many tourists travel to the canyon. They call it ``Grand Canyon Season.''

    It's a time where about 30 percent of heart patients are brought in from the canyon with conditions such as valve and rhythm problems, and heart disease and blockages.

    Since the hospital started its open heart surgery program in 2004, there has been at least one month where all heart attack patients came from the Grand Canyon, said Gigi Sorenson, the hospital's cardiopulmonary services director.

    ``You just get used to it,'' she said. ``And now when tourist season kicks in, you just start to expect when they call and say they're coming from the canyon.''

    Poole, who had three clogged arteries, was the hospital's first open heart surgery patient after his heart attack at the canyon in 2004. He said his general good health, the exercise he did in preparing for his trip and willingness to seek help spared him from a more serious problem.

    He hasn't had any complications with his heart since the surgery. ``My heart's in good shape now,'' he said.

    Rick Smith

  • Creature Feature: Yellowstone National Park, Home to Wolves, Grizzlies, Elk, Moose, and ... Crystal Salamanders   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Good topic.

  • Hiker Dies at Death Valley National Park   5 years 21 weeks ago
  • Mesa Verde’s Tribal Park Neighbor: So Near, So Far, So Different   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Great story, Bob! Thanks for the tip on a spot worth seeing.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Anonymous says,

    tourists have never been a target of criminals in the past on NPS land

    No argument from me.... although I'd say "extremely rarely" in the interest of accuracy.

    I suspect we've long since wrung any new ideas out of this whole discussion, so I'll move on to other topics on the Traveler.

  • New Gun Regulations for National Parks, Wildlife Refuges Won't Take Effect for Nine Months   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I suggest that NPS starts talking to NFS on how NFS has handled this all these years. Also the NPS personnel needs to learn that the gun liberties in the state they reside in. No longer do the NPS have a separate jurisdictionon gunlaws. I assume that legal opinion on facilities and structures will be sought but since CCW had gone intoo effect once already they should have most of this preplabnned. Take down the signs and chnage the language on the websites about weapons

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Actually, last year there were 5 incidents of muggings attacking visitors on the National Mall with knives. The park police shut that down fast and there were arrests of the juveniles and it stopped.

    The police jumped on that becasue tourists have never been a target of criminals in the past on NPS land . Usually they attack on the street to steal a wallet or purse. So the high street crime in DC should not have reflected in the stats. Th BW Pkwy has a lot of street ravers. I live near it and hear them many evenings. But this is a traffic issue and speeding issue not a violent crime.

    I expect that drunken drivers and drug possesion arrests are high on GW and BW Pkwys since these are major commuter routes. Most people do not realize they are on NPS land.

    The VA commuters will be affected since some use portion of the GW pkwy and have CCW in thier cars and no longer have to stop on their drive to work to store the gun in the trunk from their hip. Thi s change will allow them not to be hassled or inconvenienced trying to accomodte safe storage when they do not have to on other federal or state roads in VA

  • Historic Pear Trees and a Pig are Part of the Story at this Beautiful Island Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    What an interesting piece! I have bookmarked for future reference and reading. Apple trees on apple seedling is a sure fire way for long term apple production.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    DVP made some good points in terms of Mr. Kane's statistics, and I appreciate both of them taking the time to present this information.

    A couple of points of further clarification on Mr. Kane's data.

    Mr. Kane believes that NPS numbers under-report violent crimes in parks by a "factor of about 21," based on "over 11,000 narcotic related offenses in national parks …involving gangs, organized crime, and drug dealers…”. It wasn't clear where that number of 11,000 such cases came from; it may in fact be from a valid source. If so, it helps to keep in mind that the limited number of categories used for stats such as the FBI uniform crime report sometimes result in "pigeonholing" offenses into broad categories that aren't very descriptive of the individual situations.

    "Narcotic related offenses" are a serious problem, but the vast majority (such as an arrest of an individual for possession of a small amount of drugs) are not "violent crimes," and I'd need to be convinced that such a large number of cases involving "gangs, organized crime and drug dealers" actually occurred parks. Attempting to interpolate those numbers into significant under-reporting of violent crimes such as murder and rape simply isn't valid.

    Mr. Kane is concerned that the number of serious crimes in parks is seriously understated by the NPS because of the number of cases handled by cooperating agencies rather than the NPS. Things may have changed since I retired 8 years ago, but based on my personal experience, if a serious crime occurred in a park, we completed a report - and included the incident in our annual stats - even if another agency ultimately took the lead role in the investigation and/or prosecution.

    There are mechanisms to prevent double-reporting by of those incidents in databases such as the FBI Uniform Crime Report, so I agree it's sometimes difficult to compare NPS stats and other reports. However, even if you include all violent crimes in parks in which the NPS had no role in the investigation, I believe you'd have a hard time coming up with many more of those serious offenses than were reported by the NPS. It would be interesting to see any data to the contrary.

    One strictly anecdotal source in the "NPS Morning Report" which for a number of years has summarized serious incidents in parks - irrespective of which agency handles the case. Is that a comprehensive list of criminal activity in parks? No, but it's a pretty good snapshot of what's happening in parks, especially for major cases such as homicides. I've read those on a regular basis for years, and that source clearly suggests there aren't a lot of murders in parks falling through the reporting cracks.

    Mr. Kane makes a valid point with the statement: "It would not be unreasonably to assume that the majority of these crimes [such as rapes and assaults] were handled and reported by the U.S. Park Police and occurred most likely in the 3 urban parks patrolled by the Park Police."

    He is correct that those areas often account for a disproportionate number of such cases each year; the NPS is responsible for some pretty unlikely pieces of real estate in downtown Washington, D.C. and while offenses which happen there are in fact crimes that occur in a park, including those in the stats gives a very skewed picture of risks posed by visitors to the vast majority of other NPS sites. What happens on a downtown D.C. street in the middle of the night doesn't have much correlation to the risks faced by a camper in a Rocky Mountain National Park - or any other "traditional" park.

    In a very real sense, NPS crime stats may in fact over-report serious crimes, in terms of how much risk is faced by a traditional park visitor. Here are some examples of "violent crimes" which have been reported in parks in past years:

    - a shooting on a Greyhound bus on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway was the result of a lovers quarrel between 2 passengers on the bus. The incident happened on NPS property in the urban area, so it was counted as a homicide in a park.

    - U.S. Park Police found a partial human skull, with an apparent gunshot wound, on the shoreline of the Annacostia River in the D. C. area. Did that crime actually occur in a park, or was the body simply dumped there? Did the skull wash ashore from elsewhere? I don't know, but it was reported as homicide on NPS property.

    - Some (many?) of the rapes reported in parks are incidents which began in a town outside the park boundary and ended in the park. While the actual crime occurred in a park, such sad situations aren't a true reflection of the risks facing park visitors.

    There are numerous similar examples.

    Are there vast numbers of violent crimes occurring in parks that are not reported, or which are absorbed into the data for other agencies? I'm not convinced.

  • 8-Mile-Long Multi-use Path Opens in Grand Teton National Park On Saturday   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Sounds like a paved pathway. I doubt that it will be a popular bike trail at only 8 miles. More like better for wheechairs so disabled will have a chance to see more of the natural beauty of the place. Off course they also may be predator food.
    If large numbers use the pathway that is unlikely and the wildlife coridoor will change to nocturnal or another place.

    I wonder at the trade off of expense versus value and why a 8 mile trail takes two years but that is moot now that it is completed.

  • Historic Pear Trees and a Pig are Part of the Story at this Beautiful Island Park   5 years 21 weeks ago

    A very interesting read. I have bookmarked this for future reference and reading.

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 21 weeks ago

    If people are going to engage in high adventure then they have assumed the risk. It is regrettable that a person died. But basic safety precaution when on any water is a PFD. A cell is no good without service or when it gets wet.
    People have to learn to be responsible for their own safety and that means research when traveling an unknown area. Even check out the conditions when it is a known area.
    I have done WW rafting Class IV an V and fallen off is dangerous water and the guide was very quick to get me recovered since it was an underwater ledge spot. That was with all the safety precautions. I was in little danger due to good guides.

    I like adventure but it always has risk. I do not like the idea that NPS is responsible for warning when people choose to go off the beaten trail.

    If this area has more deaths then maybe more warnings are in order. But since it may have been a cardiac condition that is not warranted yet.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 3: It's All In the Patterns   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Math and physics are not alienated from nature they attempt to explain the world. Fibinocci numbers and crystalline structures. I immediately knew it was natural and not artificial but not being a native of the area did not know the answer.

    It is fascinating however.

  • Yellowstone National Park Rangers Kill Habituated Wolf   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I am not surprised . People will feed animals, that is how the domesticated dog started. A wolf got habituated and a deal was made. The wolf gets fed and the man gets a hunting and defensive companion. The man became the pack to be protected.

    The feeding may not have been intentional,but just a smart wolf that figured people have food and easier to steal food from campsites or picknickers. Since the vistors did not kill the wolf he became more confident and since no serious injury resulting by the negative condtioning he figured it was safe. It was not safe. Humans will kill wolves.

    This is inevitable as numbers of wolves increase and so do vistors.
    Herd predation was also inevitable and has been happening outside parks. It is easier to kill a sheep or calf than a wild animal. Sheep and cattle are also conditioned to allow dogs nearby and the wolf is a canine.

    People are very sucessful at creating food sources. It is not surprising that fellow predators want those food sources. That is why predator control was a big deal and the cougars, bears and wolves were killed almost to extinction.

    The only way is to have these in areas where people do not exist and more people are born and live every year.
    The contest for land is severw and that has happened in Afica and a good portion of wildlife is looses its territory. When it becomes aa contest between man eating or an animal eating the animal will lose.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    The tactic to skew reporting is a time honored method by many. The British have used in their crime reporting which is different how it is reported in the US. For instance a person is attacked 5 times and it is reported as 1 occurence. The skews the report which is why the anecdoctal reporting is so different from the official reports. If we depend on official reports it is a good idea to dig in to see how the methodology of reporting is done. That is true for all sides.

    I also wish to express my thanks to Kane and his research.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 3: It's All In the Patterns   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Hi Sue,

    I've worked in both places as a park ranger-naturalist. It was immediately obvious to me that the mystery photo is that of Devil's Postpile (located within a very small National Monumnet of the same name located near the southeastern border of Yosemite National Park). The rock is volcanic in origin. It's columnar basalt (caused when basaltic lava flows cool slowly). Columnar basalt is found throughout the volcanic regions of the USA and elsewhere, but it's the glacial polish and glacial striation that gives this mystery photo away.

    The rock formation near the East Entrance of Zion National Park is the Checkerboard Mesa. That pattern is formed from weathering in the crossbedded Navajo Sandstone, a geologically famous rock formation of Southern Utah formed from fossilized sand dunes.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • National Park Mystery Photo 3: It's All In the Patterns   5 years 21 weeks ago

    It is most likley Devil Post Pile but I have seen similar shapes in nature one being the eastern entrance to Zion. same shape differant rock?

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Mr. Kane

    I too appreciate and am impressed with your knowledge and research. I do feel the need to stick up for the NPS though. Aside from units covered by the Park Police, you are correct that other units are patrolled by Park Rangers. Due to those units often being in remote areas with varying law enforcement response times and resources, many of them have mutual aid agreements with neighboring cities, local counties and even their home states. These local agencies have a much better infrastructure and logistical support in terms of handling the investigation of crimes committed in parks. This often times helps relieve law enforcement rangers because they also EMT/Paramedic, Search and Rescue, Wildland Fire, resource management and any number of other park responsibilities to handle. If a crime is significant enough, it is turned over the FBI for investigation.

    It is not the NPS's intent to minimize and skew crime statistics. Due to the nature of the parks and the responsibilities placed on Rangers and the park staff, many of the incidents are handed off to other agencies to investigate and clear. Sorry to get off topic, but I felt the jobs that Rangers perform and the great service that the NPS provides needed to be clarified.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Mr. Kane
    Thanks for the research. I have wondered about many of the same points that you have brought out. It is not that they outright lie it is just that they only give out a fraction of the real data to support specoified agends. All I ask of NPS and all politicians is "don't lie to me". It would be real interesting to have the actual data. My daughter worked two summers in a national park and I will definately tell you there are drug offenses and related crimes of the body and property. Anyone who does not believe it lives in a fairyland.
    All of the comments are good for discussion. It is always interesting to note which sections of the Constitution people agree with and which ones they do not to promote and instill their ideological agendas on the rest of us. At least the First Amendment is alive and well. I wonder how many of the commentators want to do away with the First Amendment and the rest of the Constitution and the 27 Amendments.

  • Missed Portage Leads to Death At Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area   5 years 21 weeks ago

    Certainly a tragic event, but somewhat disturbing are several comments related to the lack of cellphone service. I believe we need to rely less on phones to bail us out of trouble and more on pre-trip research and common sense. As much as possible, we should avoid installation of cell towers in the parks on ridges, etc.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    I heard that Obama wants to get the Credit bill signed on Friday. So I heard he will sign it with the Coburn amendment. Obama is a politician and he knows that the pro gun feelings are the majority and the overwheming votes in Senate and House reflect that.

    National Forest and BLM land has been operating with the the provison that carry is allowed for a long time. Now the NPS and Wildlife Refuges can no longer restrict an Constitutional right.

    The next step is to contunue to educate people that the sight of a person with a gun is not enough to call police unless they are using the weapon incorrectly.

    The gun owners have to continue to impress not to abuse the right to other gun owners. Since the majority does not want to carry a weapon this will still be a small number to use the right.

    Now people will have the ability to carry a weapon to defend themselves in and out of parks. I certainly will not be carrying openly on daytrips but now when going on week trips I do not have to worry about breaking the law becasue I have improperly stored my gun.

    I heard that a hunter had been on NF and crossed through NPS and had been cahraged and that had a impetus to this bill. Don't knoww for sure.

    Now VA residents who have a CCW can travel on The GW pkwy with their weapon concealed like they do on other roads in Va.

    The facilities will still have carry prohibtions I beieve so the details still have to ironed out.

    I do not know all the states that have OC allowed But I do know that PA, VA, WV, KY, OH all allow OC and ther have been few incidents of abuse of that right. Most incident are poloce hassleing and charging people for a legal action an dthat had caused a lot of pushback. Gun ownes are tired of being demonized for exercisinga right and we want to be allowed to use our guns for lawful peuposes and not to be charged when we caryy a wepon. Most gun ownes who carry have to reserch laws to make sure they te don't break a law by ignorance. Getting rid of restrictions that inhibit the RKCB has been a a goal so that a free people can not have their rights infringed.

    Visitors will get used the to sight of a the rare person carrying and will get accustom. That will take time but people in AZ are used to the sight of other free man and women carrying firearms and it does not freak non carry folks. Just like at a range where it doesn't bother me to see everyone else with a shotgun or handgun on them.

  • Don't Take National Park Landscapes for Granted   5 years 21 weeks ago

    DOCREP, that was OUTSTANDING!
    Lots of VERY bad science out there...I say just follow the money...lots of money to be made in hysteria!!

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    One just needs to compare the number of gun related deaths and injuries in the US vs. Europe to figure out that gun ownership is not the glorious freedom that gun lovers pretend it is. That being said, I wished that IMBA had the pull the NRA has in this country as we'd be riding our bikes in wilderness areas. Actually, coming to think of it, I heard that operating a wheelbarrow in wilderness is forbidden as it is mechanized (sounds stupid yet believable). Maybe, cyclists should side with the NRA (hunters like to use wheelbarrows to bring their game back) to have the definition of mechanized vehicles be revisited to allow human powered recreation in wilderness. :)

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 21 weeks ago

    So there is no misunderstanding of which side I am on- for over thirty years I have carried and used a weapon in defense of my country, my comrade-in-arms, my family, and myself. My time is mine now but I see no reason to change at this point in my life. Generally I like this site, finding it to be both useful and insightful. I have been watching this issue for some time, even before the Bush administration directive. I rarely write in to any site but I have been following the ongoing rhetoric here … I have just been busy. I have visited my representative twice for a face to face as well as having written my senators and other representatives many times regarding this issue over the passed two years. I also provided to them supporting documentation to my opinions and concerns as regards this issue. I find that to be a much more productive use of my time when I choose to support or fight an issue. In summary:
    1) The current rule regarding firearms was instituted by regulation in 1983. (i.e. the Reagan Administration). I was unable to find an EIS prepared before this rule change went into effect!
    2) The Clinton Administration issued a directive to NPs to bring their rules in line with state laws where parks were located. And chided NPS on occasion for dragging their feet. Bush administration- ditto.
    3) This issue was discussed at length in Congress during 2007-2008 session. Both the House of Representatives, H.R. 5434, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.5434: , and the Senate, S3499, http://www.washingtonwatch.com/bills/show/110_SN_3499.html , both of which had the support to pass and become law. Undoubtedly, this bill would have been signed by Bush. However, the suggestion was made that this could be better done by executive order saving the expense and time of passing a bill into law. These bills were shelved in favor of that executive order. NOTE: These bills are the exact amendment attached to the “so called” credit card bill! More extensive than the executive order relating to CCW. Oh well! Start a pissing match…
    4) The NPCA and the Brady Campaign brought suit in federal court over a “procedural issue” and the judge made her ruling specifically not addressing the actual issue of firearms but the procedural issue only. In short, her decision has more meaning than the executive and legislative branches, and DOI combined. That might explain some of the reaction in the Congress.
    5) 2009, both the House and the Senate have exercised their authority as elected representatives of the people to make laws. Effectively overriding two minor organizations and a no longer relevant appointed official, whatever her name was!

    With the exception of the NPCA, The Brady Campaign, and a federal judge everyone else involved here represent as a minimum, the people of a congressional district, a state, or a nation. That’s a lot of people represented there. As far as I can find The Brady Campaign has never been concerned with the welfare of the national parks before. I can only guess what their true involvement is about. While I find my Congressman, Senator, and President to be asses on occasion… it’s still a pretty damned good system we have.

    I find much of your postings to be either misleading or misinformed. Whether this is due to lack of research on your part or to some other agenda on your part I can not say, but it has been prevalent from your earliest postings on this issue. Just a cautionary note- “Don’t drink the Koolaid”.

    Attaching this amendment to the credit card bill was a convenience, not brilliant ploy and far from bullet proof. Your reporting of the vote on the credit card bill is correct, but it is way off base on the amendment. The House used a very rarely used option to split the votes on the credit card bill and the firearms amendment.

    House roll call vote: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/index.asp
    #276: Firearms Amendment , 361 For – 64 Against. Passed before the credit card bill! And the numbers!
    #277: Credit Card Bill : 279 For – 147 Against. Lucky, the credit card bill had enough support to pass too!

    For Ms. Pierno, there has been significant ongoing discussion for some time. Congress did not just allow this to pass. It was most intentional.

    For Mr. Waterman, what do guns and credit cards have in common- ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. SEE THE VOTES!

    For Mr. McElveen, once upon a time Congress endorsed slavery, prohibition, and not allowing the vote for women among other issues. Shall we consider more recent Congressional actions of the issues fundamental reversals of previous Congressional intents and therefore not worth pursuing!

    As for Mr. Wade! So many different venues to address it’s difficult to know where to start. So, just 3 real pet peeves.

    1) “The Survey” preformed by the Coalition and presented as expert testimony and cited by your repeatedly. Did you actually read this?
    My Congressman summed it up best when he told me “Don’t worry, the survey methodology is so obviously poor and most of the expert references are known and generally accepted as being flawed. This crap won’t be seriously considered.” It’s hard to be proud of politician, but damn! Sometimes you just have to live with the embarrassment.

    2) Next up, “The Coalition… over 20,000 accumulated man years of experience” (some of it in law enforcement, no doubt as much as 27 or 28 per cent or so).
    Last count I saw had the NRA membership of active and retired LE personnel at over 2,000,000 (yes million!) accumulated man years of actual “LE” experience in their ranks. Maybe experience does count!

    3) And finally, we all know the quote “…. lies, damned lies, and statistics”.
    The national parks and crime statistics… after researching this I find at best the quoted statistics are downright misleading. The use of smoke and mirrors by consummate bureaucrats. I researched several years, the latest being 2007, but for this post I will use 1996 as my example. Mr. Wade should be familiar with it, since he retired in 1997.

    Only 3 urban parks are policed by U.S. Park Police, others are served by the U.S. Park Rangers. In 1996 NPS reported 5,992 offenses, http://www.the-eggman.com/writings/crime_in_nat_parks.html. Eliminating property crimes such as larceny, vehicle theft, etc. and focusing on crimes against persons such as murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault, etc. there were only 509 offenses with almost 4 million visitors! An enviable record, except that these reported crimes were handled exclusively by NPS. In other words “crimes turned over to local, regional, state, or federal authorities were reported by the authority handling the case” such as the county sheriff, state police, DEA, BAFTE, FBI, etc. Not NPS! How convenient for NPS statistics, read the fine print and notes in the statistics.

    There is no way I know of to correlate the number and types of crimes committed in the national parks that are turned over and recorded by county, state, or national crime statistics so we will never know how many rapes or assaulted actually took place in the national parks. It would not be unreasonably to assume that the majority of these crimes were handled and reported by the U.S. Park Police and occurred most likely in the 3 urban parks patrolled by the Park Police. Using the visitor statistics for only those 3 parks changes the apparent crime rate very drastically.
    Perhaps Mr. Wade knows of some secret record, not generally shared with the public, where all these records are tallied at NPS? Informational backround reports and a formal report done by NPS in 1996/1997 and issued to congress gives rise to the following. There were over 11,000 narcotic related offenses in national parks “…involving gangs, organized crime, and drug dealers…” resulting in the arrest by “…Park Police…”, “…Park Rangers, and other investigators…” ( I like that… “other investigators”) of more than 2,805 people and the seizure of over 310 weapons “including machine guns, automatic pistols, shotguns,…” ( note: weapons not obtainable at the basic local gun shop or gun show!) and the confiscation of drugs in excess of $100,000,000. And yet, not even an honorable mention in the NPS stats! Handled and reported mostly by DEA and BATFE. If I can divide correctly just having NPS report this item alone would increase their violent crime rate by a factor about 21. Of course, given today’s budget a $100 million dollars probably isn’t worth a drug dealer killing or assaulting anyone over. Then again… I could be wrong!

    Bottom line here. These organizations have done themselves a serious disservice by so obviously having an agenda counter to the mainstream (remember that vote!), basing their “facts” on shaded statistics, half truths, and innuendo geared towards playing to emotions. Anything these groups, or any other for that matter, has to say to you… look into their facts for yourself or pay the price for you own laziness and stupidity. I will be highly suspect of anything these people have to say in the future. They will now need to go above and beyond to convince me to assist them with anything again.

    These groups set themselves, a judge, and a “procedural flaw” up against Congress and a point of law. The outcome is what it is. You just can not blow that much smoke up even a Senators butt!

    A parting shoot so to speak- “Guns in the Park? Do We Need Them?” Would you consider changing that headline? Allow me to paraphrase – “ NPS, Above The Laws of the Land? Or Not!

  • Don't Take National Park Landscapes for Granted   5 years 21 weeks ago

    [b]Just thought I would add some "Food For Thought" Several years ago Rush Limbaugh did an "Earth Day Show". On this show

    Charlton Heston wanted to read the foreword of Jurassic Park, the book by Michael Crichton.

    The Following is that reading:

    HESTON: You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity.

    Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There’s been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multi-cellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land. Then finally the great sweeping ages of animals, the amphibians, the dinosaurs, at last the mammals, each one enduring millions on millions of years, great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing, dying away — all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval.

    Mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away, cometary impacts, volcano eruptions, oceans rising and falling, whole continents moving, an endless, constant, violent change, colliding, buckling to make mountains over millions of years. Earth has survived everything in its time. It will certainly survive us.

    If all the nuclear weapons in the world went off at once and all the plants, all the animals died and the earth was sizzling hot for a hundred thousand years, life would survive, somewhere: under the soil, frozen in Arctic ice.

    Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. It might take a few billion years for life to regain its present variety. Of course, it would be very different from what it is now, but the earth would survive our folly, only we would not. If the ozone layer gets thinner, ultraviolet radiation sears the earth, so what? Ultraviolet radiation is good for life. It’s powerful energy. It promotes mutation, change. Many forms of life will thrive with more UV radiation. Many others will die out. Do you think this is the first time that’s happened?

    Think about oxygen. Necessary for life now, but oxygen is actually a metabolic poison, a corrosive glass, like fluorine. When oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being, a hundred years is a long time.

    A hundred years ago we didn’t have cars, airplanes, computers, or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can’t imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven’t got the humility to try.

    We’ve been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we’re gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.

    Semper Fi
    Omar