Recent comments

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I took a tour at Oregon Caves this spring. When I saw those stairs and heard they were completely optional, I heaved a sigh of relief. As a person scared of heights, I have been in situations where people tried to get me to "face my fear". It didn't work, the fear is still with me. No one should ever be forced or coerced up those steps. They're skinny, metal stairs and any emergency that happened there could be very difficult to deal with.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I think he was within his rights and responsibility. It's not only the safety of the teen but that of other people who could be on the steps.

    I read the part about "worried by the stairs" which I interpreted as fear.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    There's no way to know why the girl didn't want to go up the stairs, but I think the ranger was well within his rights. It's his job to make the right judgment call. Our own fears get in the way of safety all too often, and a panic-stricken child can get herself in trouble even in the "safest" of places. This way he knew the girl was safe. For a child, a park experience should be a pleasant experience, not a scary one.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Having had issues with heights since I was a little girl - which I have struggled with for almost 50 years, I feel that the ranger was in the right here. Yes, we do NOT know the true motivation behind the girl's refusal, it may have been laziness, but it is MORE cruel to assume that then to force someone who has a fear of heights to face those fears NOT of their own volition. To fight a phobia, you have to do it on your OWN terms, not at the will of others, or you can embed that fear all the more deeply. I have a horrible memory of a trip like this taken when I was ten years old, when halfway up the climb I became paralyzed and just couldn't take another step up, regardless of the urging and commands of my family. They eventually had to leave me behind, and catch up with me on the climb back down - but it was an EXCRUCIATING period of time before they got back to me - both because of fear and humiliation as all these other people (including small children) easily passed by me. I have fought this fear many times in the ensuing decades, and the only times I have been able to successfully overcome it was when I could mentally prepare myself, and proceed at my own pace. If there was even the slightest chance that it was a fear of heights, then to try and force the climb was not only foolish on the part of the parent, but also cruel and abusive (if they were aware of the girl's fear.) In her fear she may have become clumsy or, like me, petrified in fear, thus posing a danger to herself and anyone else trying to get by her (up OR down). The ranger may have seen this scenario many times, and therefore knows what to look for (either with fear or rebellion) and was responding with extensive experience. Having had extensive interaction with rangers the breadth and depth of this country, I can truly say that most of them are VERY aware of people and their needs, and are probably no more willing to back a rebellious recalcitrant teen than any parent, but ARE aware of what is needed to maintain public safety, decorum and a pleasurable time in our nation's parks.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    The ranger was right; their first responsibility is to insure the safety of the entire tour group. Whether it was the girl’s fears or the mother wanting to exert control over a teenager the forcing the girl to go up could have created a rescue situation. I have dealt with students who suffer from panic attacks, and when scared they physically flee knocking whoever and whatever out of their way. In fact from your account of the mother's words and actions had she forced her daughter to go up the stairs I would have been required by law to report her for suspicion of child emotional abuse.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Although we don't know the whole story, I think that the ranger butted in when her opinion was not needed or solicited. Of course, as the writer states, if the activity is illegal or against park rules, i.e., the parent tells the child to cut through off a trail where it's not allowed, then the ranger must step in. But in a conversation between parent and child, there's no need. From the description given, the ranger stood between the mother and child, physically displaying her authority. Sounds to me as if government authority decided that it could see into the future and went on a bit of a power trip.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    If there is a real danger then the ranger was correct. But as an ombudsman between the park and the public, he did a very poor job as it is relayed. A statement such as "There are real safety concerns that we don't want people to exceed their capabilities" would be far better. If he couldn't make such a statement in all honesty (I don't know how safe/unsafe the stairs are), then his intrusion was inappropriate.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    ok, sounds like people are assuming too much. who said the child was scared, most like likely lazy. a teen doesn't get scared as easily as a little child. a teen rebels and does what he/she wants. the ranger overstepped his bounds. parenting is up to the parent. we may not all agree with how a child is raised, but no one has the authority to tell the parent how to do it. if the child did not want to go to school on friday, would the ranger come and say, "no, she doesn't have to go?" in reality, she doesn't have to. she should and it's up to the parent to make sure she does, but missing a day isn't a big deal and there is no dire consequence, if she doesn't. a parent, is the parent, and should be allowed to parent, without someone overstepping their bounds. i say leave the child with the ranger and let the ranger babysit...

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Before reading the end of the article, I felt the ranger was within his rights to step in. It was his area to protect, both the site and the public. I agree that he could have been put in a position of rescue.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Imagine if that parent was trying to make the child ascend the last part of the climb at Zion's Angel's Landing? Obviously no one should be "made" to do that hike; and in general, everyone has to decide for themselves what their own abilities are.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    The ranger was wrong. The ranger has no idea the whole story behind the parental command. Neither do any of us. Without knowing the whole story, the authority has to go to the parent. By countermanding the parent, the ranger also assumed full responsibility for this minor until the parent returned. That is not right. The ranger should be reprimanded.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Let me clarify my remark made before this remark. If the mother had struck the girl across the face because she did not want to go up the stairs, what should the Ranger have done? In this case, it sounds like the girl must have been terrified of going up the stairs. If so, the mother was being just as mean and hateful by wanting to make her child go up the stairs. Most people have a phobia that never goes away. If the mother thought this was a way of making her daughter overcome her fear, she herself needs to go get some counseling. A teen-ager has enough to face without a mother pushing her greatest fear in her face. Thank you, Ranger.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    The Ranger was correct.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I disagree most likely the teen was just rebelling against the parent, if there was no danger then the ranger should of stayed out of it. After working with teens for the last ten years, I got to say that the majority of parents know their teens and should be obeyed.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I think the ranger was right only from the perspective that those stairs are his responsibility and jurisdiction. The child could, due to her fear, endanger herself, the ranger or others on the tour.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Hooray for the ranger! I'm sure the teen felt like she had already been rescued at the bottom of the steps.

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I think the ranger was right! why put that child in a situation that was scary and unpredictable feeling to the child! I would have done the same if I was there.

  • Search Under Way For Missing Backpackers in Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    "The Last Season" was one of my favorite reads! I have read several others ("Angels In The Wilderness", "Missing In The Minarets', "Shattered Air", "Into The Wild", "Sunk Without A Sound", "Death In The Grizzly Maze" just to name a few) and I thoroughly enjoyed Mr Blehm's story of Back Country Ranger, Randy Morgenson!

  • Pruning the Parks: Castle Pinckney National Monument (1933-1956)   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Does anyone have a photograph or photographs of the lighthouse or the lighthouse keepers who served at the lighthouse?
    We'd love to publish them to help preserve the history.
    Tim Harrison
    Lighthouse Digest Magazine
    P.O. Box 250
    East Machias, ME 04630

  • Should A National Park Ranger Countermand a Parent?   5 years 27 weeks ago

    The ranger was doing his job, the girl felt the steps were dangerous and the ranger operated within his authority by not letting the girl climb the steps. It’s a fine line between what a ranger can and cannot do with regards to the child/parent relationship, however in this case the ranger was correct.

  • New USGS Study Says We Have Good Reason to Worry About Giant Snakes Loose in America   5 years 27 weeks ago

    What is the best way to kill them? Blow dart to what part of body? Do they attack if you don't kill them? What do they taste like? Could they get into your house or would they look for swimming pools like the 'gators did in severe drought?
    Could we get a law passed that a zoo could only have one sex in case disaster lets them out of zoo. I only live a few miles from Ft. Worth Zoo Herpetarium!

    Good story , as usual! Thank you.

  • Wolf Biologist Killed In Plane Crash in Denali National Park, Pilot Survived   5 years 27 weeks ago

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND WORD I AM GORDONS GOD DAUGHTER AND HIS NIECE, WE ARE TORN APART BUT WE ARE ALL TOGEATHER, HIS SISTER MY MOM AND MY GRANDMA HIS MOM IS HAVEING A HARD TIME. WE ARE A CLOSE FAMILY WE LOST SOMEONE SO SPECIAL TO US, THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND WORDS.
    CHERYL A. RICHARDSON STUART, FLORIDA

  • Free "Leave No Trace" Video Offers Tips on Low Impact Outdoor Travel   5 years 27 weeks ago

    We were hiking in Yellowstone in August on a ranger-guided hike and we came across a mushroom about 18 inches across! It was a great discovery, especially for my 10 year old and his friend. Unfortunately, on our way back on the trail, we saw the mushroom stomped to bits...I wish that person had seen this Leave No Trace video and maybe would have made a better decision.

  • Forest Service Drawing Line On Mountain Bikers in Potential Wilderness, National Park Service Agrees   5 years 27 weeks ago

    Kurt - I have a few comments to what you said here: "And, really, I strongly question your contention that some sort of spiritual elitism is driving the divergent views in this and other discussions about wilderness. What is at stake is preservation of the landscape, a measured approach to using it, not a rabid mass consumption of it. "

    As a mountain biker I am constantly told that mountain bikes need to stay out of wilderness because we can't possibly be connecting to the spritual power of nature as well as you can on foot. Or as I'm inferring from your comment above, mountain bikes shouldn't be allowed in wilderness because we represent that 'rabid mass consumption of it. " (That sounds a little bit like we're interfering with the zen of your hike.)
    Or, we are told that the point of wilderness is to experience nature in as simple a way as possible so you can see more, hear more, feel more. (Okay, I do see more wildflowers on foot, but I just find so much more joy slowly riding my bike on a singletrack on a high alpine trail through dense flowers.) I really feel that the whole spritual elitism you claim doesn't exist is much more at the heart of the argument than you are admitting to. This theme is repeated over and over through Doug Scott's popular book, 'The Enduring Wilderness.'
    And, if you truly believe that instead, this is about "preservation of the landscape and a measured approach to using it" then please read all of the comments above which argue those very points and do a very good job of telling you, over and over, that bikes do exactly that: we do preserve the landscape and we do have a measured approach to using it.

  • Updated: Searchers Spot Missing Backpackers On Ledge In Kings Canyon National Park   5 years 27 weeks ago

    I can not believe all of you can only talk about the cost it took to save these 3 men. Thats whats wrong with society today... while these 3 were trying to survive, all you can think about is who is getting paid. I'm soooo happy that they all are ok. I see one of these men every day, and I couldnt imagine what it would be like to know that anything happened to them... i dont care how much it should costs... the lives of those 3 should not have a dollar amount attached to it.