Recent comments

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 5 weeks ago

    "A gun in a US home is 22 times more likely to be used in an accidental shooting, a murder or a suicide than in self-defense against an attack."..........Gosh Fred, guess if you suddenly stop posting in January we'll know what happened!
    Seriously though, women have many options besides kicking and screaming. A few are: taking a self defense course, carrying a can of mace, carrying a taser, being aware of her surroundings, walking in groups etc. A gun in her purse isn't going to stop an assailant from grabbing her from behind, while some basic knowledge of karate might. My daughter took a course several years ago (mainly for the exercise benefits) and I can tell you, God help anyone who tries anything!!
    There are one and a half million victims of violent crime in America every year. That's out of over three hundred million people (not counting foreign visitors and uncounted illegals). That's about 0.6% of the population; and unless you live in a high crime area your chances are actually considerably smaller than that. Even though I have been a victim in the past (I have actually had a gun stuck right in my face), I consider my chances of avoiding future problems pretty good. BTW, when I had that gun stuck in my face, it came out of nowhere. I am absolutely convinced that if I had tried to pull a weapon of my own, I WOULD BE DEAD.
    Let's face it, though. This law change is a done deal. The Bush administration has already made up their minds to pander to the NRA. They aren't interested in whether or not there is a need to change it (the statistics in this article prove that there isn't). They aren't interested in public opinion. If they were questionnaires would be being handed out at every entrance station and every visitor's center in the National Park System; yet as pointed out on another thread by a former Park Service employee, Parks are being instructed NOT TO BRING THE ISSUE UP WITH ACTUAL PARK VISITORS! They aren't interested in the opinions of professionals who put their lives on the line day in and day out to protect our national treasures, as most law enforcement rangers (current and past) and every single past Park Service Director opposes this. As Stephen Colbert puts it, "The Bush administration never allows facts to get in the way of its decision making!" Just as bison hazing and slaughtering has nothing to do with brucellosis (it's about grass), this has nothing to do with personal protection, the second amendment or gun rights. It's all about political power. Too bad.
    My only hope is that the entire weight and power of the United States Justice Department will come down on any illegitimate use of a gun in a Park, whether it's shooting a squirrel, target practice etc. Anyone who thinks that they can "defend" themselves from a charging grizzly bear with most anything that they could carry in a holster (except, of course, a can of bear spray) will find a more instant form of justice, I'm afraid!

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Mookie, I agree with you that it all comes down to funding and or lack of time/manpower.
    I believe that our park workers/rangers do a great job considering the amount of the area that they have to patrol, ( wilderness area ). It seems that people that don't follow the rules in wilderness areas, either don't care or don't stop to think about what events might take place due to their actions, ( or lack of ). I'm certain that if something happened to them or someone in their family, they would be the first to complain!

  • Will The Superintendent's Summit Chart The Path For The National Park Service's Next Chapter?   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Perhaps my comment needs a little more explanation. The situation that bothers me is that park management is overly concerned that there is not constant growth in visitation. To increase the numbers, it appears that park management is introducing many new intrusions and innovations that might attract visitors. Often, such changes adversely affect the resources.

    What I suggest is that the NPS concentrate on protecting the resources and maintaining the existing facilities it has at a high standard. Let the other public land management agencies cater to the wreckreational "fad of the moment". Sustaining the National Parks as a minimally trammeled outdoor experience will become much more of a treasure to the American people with time. When all the other public lands become theme-park recreation sites, and marred by the trend toward resource extraction (oil, stock grazing, etc.); the protected National Parks will become more valued than ever.

    Don't get me wrong, I realize that parks exist to be visited, but we do not have to give up the unique quality of protected landscapes just to attract more and more visitors. A park cannot be everything to everybody. Let the parks concentrate on what the Park Service has done best for nearly 100 years.

  • Man Bitten at Saguaro National Park by Gila Monster   6 years 5 weeks ago

    And how does being homeless equate to not being mentally fit? I know that there are many homeless people that have psychological problems and ailments, but don't paint the picture that if someone is homeless he must have something wrong him mentally.

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Fred, the answer is in Kurt's article:

    "Park officials say that based on the animal’s aggressive behavior, lack of fear of people, and its success at getting human food, the decision was made to capture and kill the bear."

    Even relocating a bear that has no fear of people and has learned the ease of obtaining human food will simply move back to an area where he can easily obtain human food.

    In my times in NP units, while the NPS workers/rangers issue a lot of material/information urging people not to allow bears easy access to food, I have never once seen a ranger issue a warning, ticket or summons for people not taking care of food. It will only be with committed enforcement of the rules, and tickets in the range of $100-200 that we'll see people's habits change. But I'm guessing it all comes down to funding, and having the time/manpower to patrol and do the diligence involved in cracking down on tourons who can't follow the rules, or don't understand the impact of their careless actions (or inactions).

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    A FED bear is a DEAD bear, why can't people learn this ?

    Our government wants to open up more of our great wild places, make them more accessible to all. I say, stop building roads and stop off road vehicle traffic. Humans are doing enough damage with the current accessibility ! We can't even control human behaviour now, give wildlife a break and give them the respect and space they deserve !

  • Black Bears in Denali, Grand Teton National Parks Killed   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Good article and I agree with most comments. It is unfortunate that bears have access to so much easy human food and food waste, but the average camper/hiker really does not have a clue about the outdoors, nature, or survival. The bears do and they are very good at it. Much more bear education is needed, of course standing next to a Bison for a picture is not too smart either; to get the public to understand that cleaning up camp, proper trash disposal, storing food and all smellables in an approved container has to be done by everyone, sorry Kurt the car is not secure. It is at best a minor anoyance and will only cause a short delay while the bear breaks the window and crawls in or hooks it's claws under the lip of the trunk and pops the lid or my favorite, takes the door off the RV and really goes to town in the RV's kitchen. Mammoth CA, 1998 The owners were shocked, just amazed that a black bear could do such a thing. Like most bad events that happen, people think it won't happen to them and so they don't take the steps necessary to be minorly inconvenienced and put safety first: theirs and the bears.

  • Will The Superintendent's Summit Chart The Path For The National Park Service's Next Chapter?   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Art Allen says:

    "Let's not get too panicky if the total visitor numbers go downward -- that's a good thing. Perhaps future generations will realize that the parks retain a little bit of the natural scene when such is gone from every other acre of public land. When something is truly different, and very rare, people appreciate it much more. Let the other public lands bear the onslaught of overuse."

    Reminds me of when I was high school teacher ... I liked to say that teaching would be a wonderful thing if it weren't for the damn students. Unfortunately, the point is to involve and inspire the "future generations" to which Allen refers.

    Yes, it would be nice to roam parks free from the unpleasant sight of other visitors. After all, most people have no idea how of to conduct themselves "properly" — no?

    I believe that national parks must become a resource for a broad spectrum of users. Some would like to relegate the hoi polloi to less dignified public lands (like USFS,BLM and state park properties). But to do so will ensure that the future caretakers of national parks continue to dwindle. And that's just sad.

    Maybe it's time to try a more inclusive approach.

  • Black Bears in Denali, Grand Teton National Parks Killed   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I was raised in the mountains of West Virginia and spent a lot of time outdoors. Even as kids we were taught how to treat nature and and animals. The problem with these [national] parks is that the people that usually visit them are from the city, and have no idea what they are doing. They go buy all the best equipment, but they do not think to go take a nature course before they go into the wild. I hate to hear anyone trying to make excuses for the agencies that are supposed to "protect nature" destroying it instead. All for the "safety" of the public. In reality it is just so the parks bottom line is not hurt. It's the same old story as everything else in this corrupt world it's all about money!

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Perhaps, just perhaps, the fuel cost comment was intended as sarcasm.

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    i hate to see any animal killed but if it can not be safely moved to another area away from people then i guess that is the only ansrew that will not endanger the rangers or visitors. the black bear is a beautiful animal but can also be deadly to the average visitor as a child in tennesse i saw a black bear tear the front door off my aunts house as if it was nothing. if had not been for the dogs barking it would have gotten into the house. i learned that day to not just see a beautiful animal but to respect its power
    texas

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    You are out of your mind, the government spends Billions of our tax dollars every day and they can't expend a few gallons of gas. Get a life.

  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   6 years 5 weeks ago

    "If you want to be safe, don't travel alone", is bulk.

    I should be able to travel alone or walk the streets of any city any time day or night alone if I so choose...and be safe. But of course I cannot and why? Because of muggers, rapists, murderers, etc. So who is free here?

    Not travelling alone if I so choose, infringes upon my right to the pursuit of happiness. Carrying a weapon is a right guaranteed to me by the second amendment.

    National Parks are part of the United States of America. They belong to us all. The second Amendment, (whether you agree or not, says I can carry a weapon). Therefore, I should be able to carry one with-in the parks.

    Why should *I* be expected to stymie my activities? I shouldn't. Instead I should be allowed the right to protect myself...mainly against human predators.

  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I am also a second amendment advocate. In addition, I am a woman and a concealed weapon permit holder. I respectfully disagree with you Sully and here is why.

    As has always been my contention; issues are not usually caused by those who carry weapons legally. In order to get a concealed weapon permit, a criminal background check must be passed. Only law abiding citizens get concealed weapons permits.

    A poacher, is not a law abiding citizen. True, it could be they have a weapon legally because they haven't gotten caught at their illegal activities. However, I think these people are fewer than those who have the right to carry a weapon because they obey the laws.

    As you, yourself stated, "women hiking alone". Well, I'm considering going on a solitary vacation in about a month. I'd like to visit some of our National Parks, but frankly, I'm a bit uneasy about doing so. I'm not afraid of the animals; but, I am a bit fearful of the people I could possibly encounter. It's a sad reality, that a woman alone is an easy target, especially when we have no means of defense and are in the middle of nowhere.

    I am the first person to hope I never, ever have to use my weapon. But I'd feel safer knowing I have it if I need it....and no, I wouldn't bother to shoot a bear with a 9mm.

    As far as people feeling threatened when they come across someone with a gun. If it is a concealed weapon, it means it is not visible, so they wouldn't even know a person has one.

    The weapon would only become visible if it was absolutely necessary to use it. That is part of the responsibility that comes along with the privilege of being able to carry one and this has nothing to do with a political victory, it has to do with safety in parks and anywhere else I wander in this great country of ours.

    Also, if people dont know who does or doesn't have a weapon, they may think twice before starting something. Meaning specifically, if I meet someone on a trail that has ill intent, they may think twice knowing I could be carrying a weapon.

  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Cate -

    I'm also a nature lover. If you met me on the trail, you'd wouldn't know whether I was armed or not. After we parted ways, you'd probably think to yourself, "What a nice man". If you only knew. I feel sorry for you and your irrational fears. Good luck in our reality.

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Because fuel costs too much these days.

  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I am aware that guns can save lives, but they also take lives. I know that a lot of people like to say guns don't kill people, people kill people, but if the people didn't have guns there wouldn't be as many deaths. I am not saying people who work in bad areas shouldn't be able to carry concealed weapons for protection, but as a citizen with my own rights, I do not want them in National Parks. National Parks are not the most dangerous places, but if you want to be safe, don't travel alone, and travel smart, I do not feel a need to carry a gun in a National Park to protect myself.

  • Another Black Bear Put Down, This One In Yellowstone National Park   6 years 5 weeks ago

    They captured the bear and then EUTHANIZED HIM ??? Why in heaven's name didn't they take him somewhere where he could be released ??

  • Black Bears in Denali, Grand Teton National Parks Killed   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I think someone really needs to look at the hiring practices of the concessionaires - an article last year gave all kinds of reasons for the shift from domestic workers to foreign workers during the summer (citing the length of the work season, a lack of interest by domestic workers, etc. - though I'd bet that most Americans think it's really hard to get a job in a national park). However, when you look at the countries involved by reading name tags, this smacks of deals related to trade agreements and guest worker programs. But, I've never really seen anyone pursue that side of the story, and I want to know - because the workers here are actually getting the bum end of the deal in many of the cases. I love the foreign workers and have nothing against any of them; I have a serious problem with the fishy recruiting and hiring practices.

    It seems, though, from experience that there are fewer foreign workers at campgrounds and working reservations. When I stayed at Colter Bay recently for an evening, it didn't matter how many gazillion times I'd been through it, the worker had to run me through the full protocol involving bears - she did an excellent job. The fact is that people just don't listen, don't read what they're given, and simply are willful ignoramuses on these things. I've had to yell at people I don't know how many times for approaching buffalo, moose, feeding squirrels, chipmunks, and marmots. People just don't know, but they should. And, it's a shame - this bear is now dead for something that is perfectly preventable.

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

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Point to ponder about a "gun-free" utopia: In 87% of rape cases, the assailant is UNARMED. The only protection the victim has is to kick and scream. I'm buying my wife a gun for Christmas. Don't tell her; it's a surprise!

  • Man Bitten at Saguaro National Park by Gila Monster   6 years 5 weeks ago

    How the hell do you know he was homeless?

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 5 weeks ago

    ".....against all the proscribed rules, ALWAYS carried a Colt Model 1911 in his day pack."
    ".....I might be illegal when I carry my gun, but i"m going to carry it."
    ".....I am going to be illegal in national parks until they the laws are changed."
    So much for the highly touted "law abiding citizens should have the right...blah, blah, blah!" By their own admissions these individuals are not "law abiding citizens".
    Personally I don't like guns. I wish that they did not exist. If they did not, there would be zero gun related deaths or injuries; I don't think that anyone can argue with that. However, they do exist, and I am not arguing against anyone's second amendment "rights". Nor am I arguing for the abolition of guns. I have no problem with my next door neighbor owning several hunting rifles, or a store manager carrying a gun while transporting money (even though, as a store manager for several years, I transported 30 to fifty thousand dollars in cash and checks daily without one); nor do I have a problem with someone owning a gun for self protection in their home (though, once again, I think it's a bad idea with children around....just my PERSONAL opinion, not to be forced on anyone else). There will ALWAYS be, however, certain places where guns are inappropriate. As gun happy as the current Supreme Court is, for example, I sincerely doubt that any of the Justices would care to see lawyers and defendants packing heat in that august institution. The same is true for other courts and government buildings (I wonder if we will see metal detectors go up at park visitor centers?) Schools are another example. Even though some would argue that, if students and faculty were allowed to carry guns, Columbine or Virginia Tech could have been stopped; I really do not believe that the majority of parents in this country want our schools turning into shooting galleries; especially as unstable as your average teenager is: "What do you mean you are breaking up with me?!" BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!! Nor do I believe that teachers became teachers because they wanted to be police officers. Surprise attacks by sick individuals who are ready to die are never going to be stopped by, I don't care how many, terrified people pulling guns and blasting away themselves. If anything armed, professional security people or metal detectors are a far better answer. The bottom line is in the statistics in the article above: "During 2006, when 273 million visitors toured the parks, 11 deaths were investigated across the system." There simply is no need to change this law (and I don't give a darn how many of those visitors were repeat, that's still a ton of people!)
    "So I hope you continue to enjoy your many days in the wilderness without event but I know that treks into the woods don't always go the way man plans." Thanks, Doc. I intend to. I do it by being smart. By being cautious. By always knowing where I am and by always paying attention. I do it by making plenty of noise where viability is poor, and by not thrashing through the willows during the fall rut! I do it by attuning each one of my senses to the environment around me....good advice in the city or the mountains. A fellow that I respect very much once told me that bear spray is a two edged sword. On the one hand it can save your life (proven more effective against attacking bears than guns BTW), but on the other, people tend to carry their bear spray and leave their common sense in the car. I'd rather they did the opposite, he'd say. That's how I feel about guns in National Parks. I'd rather carry my common sense than a false sense of security strapped to my shoulder.
    My Daddy used to always tell us kids, "You can spend your life worrying about what MIGHT happen, or you can just spend your life LIVING!" I prefer to do the later.

  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   6 years 5 weeks ago

    The most dangerous thing you will ever meet on an isolated trail is another human being. As a woman that would love to prowl local trails on her own, I don't do it, because I live near Atlanta, and don't want to be a victim. Remember Meredith Emerson at Vogel State Park ? What about Jennifer Ewing on the Silver Comet Trail? All these ladies wanted was to use the parks THEY paid for with their tax dollars. They might both be alive if guns had been permitted.

    The federal government has closed large parts of state parks out West because of the coyotes and drug traffickers, and rangers are murdered. Your government doesn't want you to be aware of these issues, but you CAN inform yourself via the internet. Usually the stories are on sites of local newspapers and television stations. Get informed!

    I would like to use my parks more, and I think I could do it safely if I were permitted to carry a sidearm. If you believe these attacks are isolated, please check out this link on the Washington Post from yesterday. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/07/08/DI2008070801660.html?hpid=artslot

  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   6 years 5 weeks ago

    I'm a nature lover and really appreciate the beauty and serenity of our National Parks, but am now feeling that there's a lot of fear out there -- especially from those individuals who feel they need to take weapons with them when they are on vacation (and hopefully, relaxing). I am not a gun owner and just hope that I don't run into any of the people out there who seem to think we still live in the Wild West. I do not support the right to bring guns into our National Parks.

  • Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves   6 years 5 weeks ago

    Everyone’s safety will be enhanced if certified concealed carry citizens are armed in the parks. Currently, a criminal can be pretty certain that any intended victim is unarmed. Take that certainty away and the opportunity to prey diminishes. For those gentle people who believe the police and or rangers can protect them; when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. In a National Park those minutes may become hours. Never forget, Virginia Tech was a “gun free zone.”