Recent comments

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 32 weeks ago

    For the record, I am not "anti-gun".
    I happen to be "anti-" carry a gun anywhere you please, a gut reaction I admit, though I reasonably accept the well stated arguments and opinions of most of the commentators on the pro- carry side.
    I apologize for letting my own commentary slide into a realm of sarcasm and misinterpretation.

    That said, I think it's unfortunate that the pro- carry arguments on this website pick and choose the facts and the established case law to support their position, especially in light of the extremely thorough consideration and statement of opinion by the Supreme Court in DC v. Heller, adopted as the current pro- gun victory, but so be it.
    If the pro- carry folks can only think in terms of broad agendas, perhaps that speaks to a larger plan of action yet to be revealed...
    Now that just sounds ridiculous, right?

    To paint us anti- carry folks as stupid, irresponsible, whining, babies kicking and screaming on the floor is just as unnecessary as that unfortunate cartoon that plays on prejudicial stereotypes.

    I personally am not a member of any anti-gun organization, nor have I ever sought to diminish anyone's civil rights as established by the great documents drafted by our founding fathers.
    So it saddens me to have my portrait painted with such broad strokes, based on my opinions.
    And it puzzles me that such learned folks, as most of the pro- carry commentators here, can only see a broad swath of paranoid fanatics ready to take away all of their guns, and all of their rights while we're at it.

    Ted said:
    "Folks on this Parks-oriented website are handling this topic as a "guns-in-Parks" issue, but it is really a "guns in America" issue, specifically that some think guns don't belong in America, and it is only a matter of time until their victory becomes overt & complete."
    The Brady organization specifically states it seeks reasonable and responsible gun legislation, and does not seek to remove firearms from every American's possession.
    Many of the members of the CNPSR carried guns as part of their job.
    These are not anti- gun people.

    The Supreme Court, in DC v. Heller, did not view that case as one of "guns in America", but rather as a "guns-in-the-home" issue. (The dissenting justice attempted to draw a much broader interpretive picture, but once we all read that document I think we can all agree that the dissenting argument is weak and tangential.)
    That's how the Supreme Court works, on a case by case basis, writing opinions on an individual case within the broader framework of established case law from our nation's courts.
    The highest court in the land couldn't make this about "guns in America", so why are the pro- carry folks?
    Because they fear a growing establishment of case law contrary to their personal idiosyncratic interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, not because they fear for the detriment and destruction of the Bill of Rights, a cloak of patriotic protection constantly used by the pro-gun folks. Their published opinions here bare this out.

    I own a car, but I'm not allowed to park it wherever I choose. Is that a violation of my personal rights?

    I speak my mind freely, but the Bill of Rights does not automatically protect me from suffering the consequences of acting with unlawful prejudice, discrimination, slander and bias based on my beliefs. Is that a violation of my personal rights?

    When I go to a movie theater, I turn off my cell phone as requested, abiding by a reasonable standard of civil behavior. Is such a request a violation of my personal rights?

    One last example/question, albeit personal and tangential:
    I am a gay man in a relationship of 18+ years, yet the Federal government, and most states (including my own) refuse to legally recognize the stability and worth of my relationship because of religion-based prejudice of what I do in the privacy of my bedroom.
    Wouldn't you agree that's a violation of civil rights? Aren't CIVIL marriage laws based on RELIGIOUS beliefs and definitions a violation of the Constitutional Principle of the Separation of Church and State?
    I'll give you legal carry if you folks give me the legal HUMAN right to marry my partner of 18 years.
    I look forward to seeing all of you personal rights advocates at the next pro- gay marriage rights rally, we can use your passionate support of personal civil rights.

  • Who's Being Mentioned For Director of the National Park Service?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Rangertoo, I'm struck by the parallels with academia, which is full of competent drudges who run departments, institutes, programs, and even a few universities here and there. Competent drudges get down there in the trenches and do the work, but they are completely replaceable -- just cogs in the machinery -- and are quickly forgotten after they've served out their time.

  • Who's Being Mentioned For Director of the National Park Service?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    While I like these career NPS employees, I do not think that is what the NPS needs. The NPS needs someone politically connected and Washington savvy to raise the issues and needs of the bureau. The last few Directors have all been competent, experienced, park managers. That's not what the NPS needs in the top job. Let the career professionals handle that. Get a Director who has a high profile, a knack for managing the media, and a knowledge of a political insider. The most successful Directors, like Connie Wirth and George Hartzog, were masters at managing the politics of the Congress and Executive Branch to get the NPS what it needed. That is needed now, more than any time since the post-WWII period. The parks will suffer badly against all the other demands of the nation and someone who is an administrator, however competent, is not going to make things happen.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Uncle Lar said (among other ringing commentary):

    "And as to the accusation that this was sprung on everyone at the last minute, I call BS. This has been in the works for something like three years and the comment period was even extended to allow additional time for input.
    Several otherwise competent & effective people here have been compromising their own otherwise credible arguments, by leaning on this nonexistent bulwark.

    Congress, through its own normal, Constitutionally authorized means, produced a measure in fulfillment of its proper role as Representative of the American citizens - all of them - Constitutionally authorized gun owners & all.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Dr. Carl Dick,

    Thanks for the circumspect account as an 'outside' professional, from within the National Parks scene.

    Folks on this Parks-oriented website are handling this topic as a "guns-in-Parks" issue, but it is really a "guns in America" issue, specifically that some think guns don't belong in America, and it is only a matter of time until their victory becomes overt & complete.

    The new DOI regulation, though, (and almost simultaneous with D.C. vs Heller) is a jarring reversal of the broad trend to progressively paint firearms & firearm owners as a tawdry anachronism that we need to put behind us.

    Anti-gun factions have long overestimated the extent to which their efforts have marginalized the status of gun-ownership. The gun-opposition has deceived, perhaps deluded themselves that they are 'on a roll', and in due course guns will fade into the sunset like the Marlboro Man.

    Now, they are confronted by strong contrary evidence, and the unexpected advent of these signs that the nation fully intends to retain & defend the concept of an armed citizenry appears to be generating a degree of 'denial' in some.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 32 weeks ago

    "I guess I'm naive, I don't spend my days expecting "imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm". And yet I've managed to survive for 45 years."

    I've spent almost 60 years without being attacked, and I expect to spend the rest of my life similarly blessed (that's what I would expect statistically). However, bad things happen to good people and if I need a gun, I will need it right then (and statistical expectations will be irrelevant). I will try to be prepared for such an eventuality.

    As to whether or not a gun would have stopped the attack you suffered, well who knows? If you were attacked from behind without any warning, then there is little you or anyone else could have done. However, if you had 5 seconds of warning and were mentally prepared, you could have easily produced your gun and likely stopped the attack. A gang that brought a lead pipe to a gun fight would likely have a frantic change of mind. Please note that only a gun could have any chance to equalize the situation of one against many. Alternatively, if there were an armed bystander in the vicinity, then the whole event might have gone differently.

    "But I never wold have thought to carry one, I just wasn't raised with the thought that I may have to defend myself one day with a gun."

    I wasn't raised that way either. However, I'm a smart man and realized that I needed to change my mind on this issue. I realized that if I were attacked, I would be at the mercy of the merciless until such time as someone else with a gun showed up (assuming I could even get a 911 call out). I wanted to have a chance during those precious minutes. The only way to do this is have the man with the gun there from the start of any such assault. This is particularly true as I am getting weaker and less agile by the year.

    Carrying a gun is a heavy responsibility, one that is drilled into your head during CHL training. You might want to reconsider yourself.

    And just in case that gun ownership is only for mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers, I will point out that I am the proud possessor of two Ivy League degrees, including a doctorate in the sciences. That stereotype (see Random Walker's cartoon) is not only wrong but extraordinarily offensive.

  • Fake USGS Site Urges Evacuation of Yellowstone National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I noticed this several days ago and was really pissed off about it. The fake evacuation appeared to go viral over the internet, and I had a lot of Web searches to my newspaper looking for "evacuation" information.

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 32 weeks ago

    We've geared up and posted signs. Tomorrow concealed weapons will enter the park legally. Our evidence lockers will no longer be over flowing with guns that were confiscated when visitors carrying concealed weapons permits were stopped for a myriad of other offenses, such as feeding the wildlife, speeding, littering and so on and were given a citation for possession of a weapon and a warning for the other. I for one look forward to giving our park rangers the opportunity to getting back to the business of accomplishing the mission and focusing on the litter, the speed and the feeding the wildlife.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Jim in Houston,

    You picked Warren Z.'s remark:

    "Or perhaps you'll take it upon yourself to interpret a particular situation you decide is unlawful, thus justifying your need to provide defense?"
    ... as his "winner". Myself, though, I had a hard time resisting:
    "Sorry gun owners, but sometimes you just don't get your way. Will you now raise your militias to force your views on the rest of us?"
    Warren, with commentary like this, you may as well just throw yourself on the floor kicking & screaming.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I do not expect to have a flat, yet I carry a jack and a spare.
    I do not expect my house to catch on fire, yet I keep an extinguisher handy.
    I carry what I believe to be adequate home and auto insurance, though I certainly do not seek out accidents.
    And where prudent I carry a firearm, though I hope to never need it.
    If all this labels me paranoid, then so be it.
    But consider the following from the National Park Servise's own data:

    The National Park Service says there were 116,588 reported offenses in national parks in 2006, the most recent year for which data are available, including 11 killings, 35 rapes or attempted rapes, 61 robberies, 16 kidnappings and 261 aggravated assaults.

    And as to the accusation that this was sprung on everyone at the last minute, I call BS. This has been in the works for something like three years and the comment period was even extended to allow additional time for input. I expect there was some intent to get this through before the administration changed, but that's just how politics works. I am sure there are many such actions that are being held until after the handover for similar reasons.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   5 years 32 weeks ago

    What are you going to shoot it down with if you can't take a gun into the park?

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I am 24 years old, VA resident. I was gun shooping around Thanksgiving 08. I was asking a myriad of questions (as I often do when pursuing something new). The gun dealer told me a story that him and his son (10 years old) went camping. They saw a relatively small bear and it began to charge the boy. The father fired a warning shot over the bear's head to scare it away, it continued to charge the child. The father unloaded a full magazine of 10mm rounds into the bear. The bear died. POINT 1, that is why people, not necessarily "need to", but should be able to, carry guns in a National Park. POINT 2, had the gun slinging camper not had his weapon, his son's world would've come to an end. If a National Park allows guns to be carried, there are still state laws that surround the park that will regulate who can and cannot carry a gun. It won't be a free for all, guns and their owners will still have to adhere to strict guns laws. The politicians are simply upholding our second ammendment rights. Believe me when that bear is charging you in the woods, you'll want that gun in the hands of a trained and willing citizen.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 32 weeks ago

    I am a biologist, and some of my work takes place inside National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. I do not support the NPCAs lawsuit, because I view it as a misallocation of limited financial and human resources. That the Brady Campaign filed suit is understandable, because "that's what they do." But this as an unworthy pursuit by the NPSA. The stated argument is that this rule change will place parks staff, visitors, and wildlife at risk. But such reasoning lacks merit. Currently, some 40 states issue carry licenses to anyone who passes criminal background checks and demonstrates training with firearms, and another 8 states issue such licenses on a discriminatory basis. Data from these states (notably Florida, where shall-issue has been law for 21 years) demonstrates that persons with carry permits are extraordinarily law-abiding, and in some states literally hundreds of times less likely to be involved in crimes than the population at large. This evidence flies in the face of claims that carry licensees will perpetrate crimes if allowed to carry in National Parks or Wildlife Refuges; they don't do so anywhere else, so it is wholly without merit argue that they will within park boundaries.

    The lack of evidence that licensees commit crimes points to another motivation, one that is likely subjective if not unspoken. Many of those (with whom I have discussed this rule change) support this lawsuit primarily for symbolic reasons. Simply put, they don't like "those people" who would carry guns for personal or family protection. Those are personal beliefs and they are fine, as long as they don't drive policy. But it has been appalling for me to learn that this personal, subjective, and prejudicial bias is what's motivating much of the opposition to the rule change.

    As an aside and as a more primary observation, I find it unfortunate that these discussions are taking place in the light of the DOI-solicited public comments. Such comments are of an academic interest only. The bill of rights exists precisely to protect the rights of individual from the will of the majority (eg. legislation enacted by democratically elected governments, or rules promulgated by the DOI). If the second amendment specifically protects the right of individuals to own and to carry defensive arms (and it certainly appears to do so), then this question of whether they may be carried within park boundaries is moot, constitutionally speaking. So in effect, this argument is about whether the constitution is in effect within the boundaries of lands administered by the Park Service ... so the issue, and many of these arguments, are flawed from their foundation. And that is roundly unfortunate.

  • National Park System Would Gain Official Wilderness Under Omnibus Lands Bill   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Random Walker - Thanks for the link, I stand correct on that point. In practice, though, even decisions on signage seem to be made on a case-by-case basis, and there certainly are a number of wilderness areas where trailhead signage is only placed at the wilderness area boundary, but further trail markers are not placed within the area itself.

    Jim - Not only was there a threat of a fillibuster, but it was acutally made over the summer and the bill failed when Harry Reid could not find the 60 votes needed to override the fillibuster. And while the issues have not changed, the composition of the Senate has - however that may well be contingent on having new Senators from Illinois, New York, Delaware, and Minnesota in place (at least once Biden and Clinton formally resign in those two cases.). As you said, "stay tuned".....

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Ted:

    From the published Supreme Court ruling No. 07-290, District of Columbia, et al., Petitioners v. Dick Anthony Heller,
    Opinion of the Court:
    "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment IS NOT UNLIMITED... Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms... or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.."
    "In sum, we hold that the District’s ban on handgun possession IN THE HOME violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm IN THE HOME operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense. Assuming that Heller is not disqualified from the exercise of Second Amendment rights, the District must permit him to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it IN THE HOME." (emphasis added)

    Nothing in their opinion should should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions... That's all we, the dissenters to the legal carry in National Parks ruling, are saying. And the Right-leaning Supreme Court apparently agrees with us.

    I bring to your attention the purposeful use of the phrase "in the home" in the original case, and in Supreme Court's ultimate decision. IN THE HOME. How does DC v. Heller, concerning legal possession of a firearm in the home, guarantee the right to take a legally owned and loaded weapon into a National Park? It's clear that the Supreme Court, stacked with right wing personal rights advocates such as it currently is, only interprets the 2nd Amendment so far as legal possession within one's own home. Thorough reading of their very thorough published opinion proves this out, and gives pretty good insight into possible future cases concerning guns and personal use rights. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    The issue of ownership protected by the 2nd Amendment is not the issue addressed by the legal carry ruling controversy. Yet proponents of legal carry within our National Parks constantly circle back around to that point (which is not being questioned by the anti-carry within a National Park opinions expressed here), for what purpose I am not sure.
    Ownership of an item does not imply I can or should take that item with me anywhere I go.

    Again I ask that we stick to the specific issue at hand.

    Jim in Houston:

    I agree that crime is real. I've been the victim of violent crime. My life wasn't threatened, though I did suffer bodily harm.
    But you know what? I never once thought "I wish I'd had a gun..." The gang that surrounded and attacked me did so swiftly, even efficiently. The lead pipe they used to break my arm and lacerate my scalp almost knocked me unconscious... I doubt I would have had the faculty to use a gun to defend myself. But I never wold have thought to carry one, I just wasn't raised with the thought that I may have to defend myself one day with a gun. So that's my bias.

    I grew up in an urban area, and have lived in urban areas most of my life, and to the contrary of popular beliefs propagated by our national media, never once in my life have I heard a gunshot while living in a city.
    (Except on New Year's Eve: In the region of the country in which I now live it's customary to shoot off guns to celebrate the coming of the New Year. But such reckless use of a firearm would only be perpetrated by criminals, right?)

    I guess I'm naive, I don't spend my days expecting "imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm". And yet I've managed to survive for 45 years.

    Go look at the home pages of every pro-gun website and you see many examples of fear-mongering.

    I admit I have a strong personal bias about this ruling, and sometimes that bias comes out in my argument. I truly do not intend to be snide, I just want someone to answer the questions I continue to ask, specifically related to the issue these comments are intended to address.

    For all:
    Please don't quote chapter and verse on the 2nd Amendment or DC v. Heller as a tactic to avoid responding to the issue of legal carry in a National Park.

  • How Many National Park Rangers Does It Take to Cut Down a Tree?   5 years 32 weeks ago

    It sounds to me like $600 toilet seats and $100 hammers are a deal compared to the cost of this.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 32 weeks ago

    If only I had a dollar for every time I see in the Morning Report something about firearms possession in a park, I could have retired already!

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Ted,

    ClaireWalter's 5,000 figure is for the winter season at Hurricane Ridge, not for year-round. This is directly from the page she considerately linked to in her post.

    And although most would agree that Hurricane Ridge is indeed the prime Olympic destination, studies have shown that the Hoh Rain Forest receives approximately equivalent annual visitation. This study showed that about half of Olympic's visitors see Hurricane Ridge, and with current visitation around 3,000,000, that puts about 1.5 million visitors on Hurricane Ridge every year (0.3% visiting in winter). Ted's $200-400 million annual lodge earnings figure would require $130-$260 spent per visitor, meaning a family of four would spend $1000 there annually. ........ummm, I'm going to say that's overshooting it a bit.

    My uneducated guess is that the Hurricane area makes enough money in the winter to justify plowing expenses, but not much profit - operating expenses will be extremely high during that time. The summer season is probably what puts them in the black. But having no knowledge of the concessionaire and their operations, I'm really just speaking out of my you-know-what. :)

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Bravo Ted...Bravo!!

  • National Park System Would Gain Official Wilderness Under Omnibus Lands Bill   5 years 32 weeks ago

    It will be interesting to see how this bill fares so early in the new session; perhaps that will provide a hint at how other park-related actions will fare.

    To add to the comment by Sabattis, media reports late last year indicated that this bill didn't come up for a vote due to threats of a filibuster by Senator Coburn of Oklahoma. With other pressing business facing Congress at the end of the session, his threat was sufficient to stall the bill. One would presume he still has the same objections to this bill, and some of that same "pressing business" is still on the table, so stay tuned for developments...

  • National Park System Would Gain Official Wilderness Under Omnibus Lands Bill   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Limited signage is allowed in designated wilderness areas:
    The Wilderness Act of 1964 and Signs

  • Fake USGS Site Urges Evacuation of Yellowstone National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Well, post-eruption you won't have to elbow your way through the crowds at Artist's Point to get a good look. Of course, actually finding the spot where Artist's Point used to be would be a whole new challenge! I wonder how snowmobiles fare in several hundred feet of ash?

  • Avalanche Awareness Clinic Set for Olympic National Park   5 years 32 weeks ago

    The U.S. Forest Service has a NWAC Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center website that offers unusual & cool weather & forecasts.

    I use this site to fine-tune the Olympic Peninsula outlook.

    I don't know if the Forest Service does this for other regions, but it seems to me they might.

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 32 weeks ago

    "Or perhaps you'll take it upon yourself to interpret a particular situation you decide is unlawful, thus justifying your need to provide defense?"

    Among your snide questions, this one's the winner. As to when I decide a situation is unlawful, it's really easy. As a CHL holder (and indeed as a citizen), I am permitted to use lethal force when faced with "imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm". This is what the law allows. You will not even know I carry a gun until that happens.

    "Why do organized gun ownership concerns always seemingly resort to fear when searching for supporters?"

    Funny. We use facts showing that crime is real, that the police have no obligation to protect us, that regular citizens have proven quite capable of defending themselves, and that CHL holders have a remarkable record for safety. It is the opponents who seem to come up with "fear" as evidence of a problem (see plaintiffs).

  • NPCA, Park Retirees File Lawsuit to Halt Change in National Park Gun Rules   5 years 32 weeks ago

    Warren,

    The questions you have on the Second Amendment were taken up earlier in '08 by the Supreme Court, and their treaty on the history, analysis and legal status of both the questions and the Amendment are published in their ruling, D.C. vs Heller..

    This ruling says it better than I can, it's on the formal public record, and it's from the Supreme Court of the United States.