Recent comments

  • Former Park Service Director Dickenson Passes Away   6 years 21 weeks ago

    What was most impressive about Russ was how he protected the parks from the political influence of people like Secretary Watt, Assistant Secretary Arnett and the people who worked for them. He and his senior staff in the DC headquarters took the heat and kept it off park superintendents. For that, he will always be on my list of true NPS heroes.

    Rick Smith

  • Former Park Service Director Dickenson Passes Away   6 years 21 weeks ago

    Scott - Couldn't agree more. Russ sat in the chair when everyone above him was anti-NPS mission.
    President Reagan was no friend of the parks... "Seen one tree.. seen them all" But you know, that is what is happening riow and since 2001. The difference is in the resistance to the bad policies of the current administration.

    It takes tremendous skill to resist the policies that hurt the parks, and still retain your job as a Director. Russ certainly "had it". We will all miss this man who was "larger than life".

  • Former Park Service Director Dickenson Passes Away   6 years 21 weeks ago

    Russell Dickenson was NPS Director when I entered on duty for my fist NPS job in 1982. Although I did not know much about the political underpinnings of the NPS then, I have come to realize that Director Dickenson did a marvelous job leading the NPS through tough political times and adversarial political appointees in the early 1980s. Part of his success, I believe, was due to the credibility he had from working his way through the NPS ranks and understanding the agency and its fundamental purpose from bottom to top. The central objective of every NPS employee's job is to pass the National Park System on to future generations in the same condition or better than s/he received it. I believe Director Dickenson met that objective even with many political hardships stacked against him. In Director Dickenson's memory I say thank you for a job well done, a life well lived, and the National Park System we enjoy today.

  • Interior Secretary Opens Door for New Gun Regulations in National Parks   6 years 21 weeks ago

    This is an issue that has been manufactured by the NRA flexing its election-year muscle. There is no overwhelming public outcry for guns in parks. They are among the safest places in America. If someone doesn't feel safe without his/her concealed weapon, go to the public lands in our nation where carrying is permitted. National Park Service areas are special places; that's why Congress added them to the National Park System. Special rules apply there. Transporting weapons in a secure, not-readily-accessible manner is one of them.

    Rick Smith

  • Interior Secretary Opens Door for New Gun Regulations in National Parks   6 years 21 weeks ago

    According to my state's records, most concealed carry license holders are older persons, with the most rapidly growing segment being the 50+ age group. These are mature responsible people who have a long life history without criminal behavior, and who've taken mandated courses in gun handling, responsibility and safety. My own license required a state and federal background check, as well as an investigation into my medical history, fingerprinting, tests, etc.. WE aren't the people to be afraid of. In fact, "concealed" carry licensees are required to do just that...so unless you try to kill them, you won't even know whether or not the "group in the campsite next to yours has loaded firearms." Disarming responsible people who have been proved NOT to be criminals does not make any place safer.

    On the other hand, armed "bad guys" in the campsite next door won't have bothered with licenses or other issues of social responsibility. They've already been carrying guns in the national parks and elsewhere and will continue to do so regardless of the rules. They're also far more likely to engage in the sort of behavior that makes them all the more dangerous when armed. They haven't followed the rules of the law or good behavior in the past and won't do so in the future. THEY are the gun carriers to worry about.

    In these discussions someone invariably accuses someone else of "being paranoid." I hope none of you ever have to readjust your assumptions about your family's safety the hard way. Fear, or paranoia if you will, is not healthy and I won't live with it. Common sense is another thing though, and mine tells me that a tent in a remote campground is not more secure than my home was the night I and my family had our assumptions adjusted the hard way. So I would really appreciate it if people who hate the very thought of guns, or who are unconcerned about their own self-preservation, would kindly not deny me my right to it should the worst happen again.

  • Park History: Grand Teton National Park   6 years 21 weeks ago

    Jim, you are rambling. The sellers sold their land to a buyer. For a price they accepted as fair. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • Dinosaur National Monument Cutting Paleontology Staff   6 years 21 weeks ago

    First of all, I would like to say that it warms my heart to see such passion and fire in these blogs and posts regarding the atrocious problem at Dinosaur National Monument. In matters such as this, these educated comments and discussions are exactly what we need in addition to the letters and messages to those politicians. Even though some of these politicians may THINK they have the best intentions for Dino at heart (for some of them I wouldn't be so sure...), the public has a completely different view and in the end, it's the public's opinion that matters most for they are the ones who will suffer the most. We, the public, as a whole, CANNOT let such a catastrophe happen. Dinosaur National Monument, as has been previously pointed out, is the ONLY SITE OF IT'S KIND IN THE WORLD! Therefore, not only is the American public going to suffer if this decision goes through, but so will the people of the world. Let's face it, Americans are not the only ones visiting parks, everyone knows that parks with such amazing features are INTERNATIONAL attractions not just NATIONAL ones. So how can we just stand idly by and let administrators and bureaucrats make decisions for everyone? It's just not right.
    Secondly, I too am a student of paleontology. I'm a graduating senior wishing to further my education through graduate school and hope to someday have a Ph.D. in Vertebrate Paleontology. I've applied to the internship at DINO through both Geocorps and SCA, and I really hope this decision does not go through. The internship that's being offered will be an amazing experience, and if both Scott and Ann are cut, the experience will change greatly. The program would be supervised by Dan Chure, who, honestly, has a bad reputation among those who have worked there in the past as a volunteer or intern as well as with those applying. I will not pass judgement on Mr. Chure as a person, but boy oh boy, as a supervisor.....let's just say his performance leaves great room for improvement. (I want to make a point that this is in no way supposed to be a personal attack on anyone, I am just stating my personal opinion and what I've heard.) If things change and the position of supervisor for these internships changes hands, what will become of the once reknowned internship/volunteer experience at DINO? Right now, at this very moment, there is a substantial amount of people on pins and needles waiting to hear back about this internship, whether any of us have a chance or not at getting it, whether it's truly going to be what we signed up for. I for one want to make damn sure that this internship continues to be the amazing experience I've been told about.
    The last thing I want to say is this: it's great that all of us are so heated about this and really taking this problem to heart, it's even better that some of us are working individually to fight this. I would like to propose something though: I ask those of you who feel strongly enough about this issue towards keeping the paleo program at DINO, are you willing to band together, form some sort of coalition against this mishap? Are you willing to go out there, get signatures for petitions and start getting the national public involved in this matter? I think this should be taken to the national public because the more voices we can get on our side, the better!! If you are interested in this, please post back a response!! I truly believe that if we work hard enough, we can make them hear us and make them understand exactly what we mean!! You CANNOT take the PALEONTOLOGY out of a PALEONTOLOGY PROGRAM.....that's like taking the ice cream out of an ice cream parlor, it just doesn't work that way people!! we cannot let this injustice pass!!

  • Park History: Grand Teton National Park   6 years 21 weeks ago

    Mack,

    I don't believe that ends ever justify the means; the ends and the means are inextricably linked. When someone says that a particular end justifies the means, they are denying this tight link. As long as a good end happens, according to this view, how we got there doesn't matter.

    So, if someone was given the problem:

    3 + 4 X 2 = x

    If the person answered this problem by adding 3 + 4 saying that it equaled 5 and then multiplied it by 2 to say that it equaled 11, they would arrive at the correct answer, though they would have performed each step incorrectly. To answer the question correctly, they should have first multiplied 4 X 2 (8) and then added 3 to reach 11 - given the order of operations of arithmetic. To get the right answer here is an accident.

    Now, Rockefeller's action wasn't an accident. It was calculated. You get the land, you then give it to the government, who protects it for all posterity. However, rationally speaking, the end is no less accidental because by the same means, the same person might have arrived at the opposite result. In some parts of this country, developers buy up land from individuals either directly or using front groups in order to destroy land. If there's no connection between the process and the end result, then it's contradictory to assert that ends justify the means. In fact, the end had nothing to do with the means. Justification of the same means can produce different ends, and so the means have nothing to do with end. Only if means and ends are actually connected can we assert that one act was just while another was not. And, if the same means can be used to produce contradictory ends (not at all different than mistakes or accidental correct answers in arithmetic), then those means cannot be just.

    But, what is the argument that means and ends are connected outside of justifying things like mathematical equations, where they clearly are connected (though some mathematicians have tried to deny this)? This is a difficult ethical question because there doesn't seem to be a lot of actions where we can understand how our actions will produce the ends we take to be just. We have trouble projecting how our actions and consequences relate with each other. This is one reason why I don't agree with management-based ethics. However, it is indubitable that any action which is contradictory cannot be rationally connected with its ends. That is, if the same action can be used as a reason to justify both a good and an evil, then the action not only has no connection to the ends, it is unjust.

    So, it is very important how we go about things. While we cannot guarantee an action that is good (that is, an action that contains no contradiction) will necessarily produce a good result because we don't know how the two are connected, we can guarantee that an action that is contradictory that happens to produce a good result is unjust because there is no way anything could ever be connected to our goals (which would make human action absurd). Everything would be an accident; it would really mean that anything goes (and doesn't go).

    As I understand the history, Rockefeller did scam people out of their land. He got people to do what they otherwise did not want to do. People wanted to sell their land but did not know they were selling land to a group opposed to their interests or at a fair value given the buyer (even the person Rockefeller hired to buy up the land was not in on it and would have opposed it had he known- which further duped the people who were selling their land)--(by the way, my main source for this information is the book: Crucible for Conservation: The Struggle for Grand Teton National Park by Robert W. Righter, a book pretty sympathetic to Rockefeller, even if it doesn't agree with all his methods.) That's essentially what a scam is, right? You convince someone that it is their interest to do something for you based on certain misleading information, and they ultimately act in a way that's against their interest. I am not a lawyer - I don't really care whether the act was legal or not - it was certainly contradictory. By the same process, people sell their homes, mortgage their life savings, sell their souls for student loans (I fell for that one and again - perfectly legal), and do all kinds of things they later regret and would not have done had they understood all the relevant context. Though, in this case, the irony was that people who were abusing the land suddenly were swindled out of an abuse they thought would happen for perpetuity. It's a little humorous because usually the opposite happens, but poetic justice isn't necessarily justice.

    Ultimately, unlike the ethical arguments, which I think stand or fall on the ground of their own reasons, yes, this is my opinion of what happened. I don't think we are disagreeing on the basic facts, but even our shared opinion of those facts is no less an opinion. I didn't mean to make it seem like I was just stating facts, and if there's need to add a disclaimer like you do at the end of each of your comments, then I am more than willing to concede that for this discussion.

    I would dispute that any of us know ultimately what would have happened with Jackson Hole had Rockefeller not gotten involved the way he did. None of us can know because that road was not one we went down. It might be, though, that the valley might have been destroyed had Rockefeller not acted in the way that he had. However, that it worked out I think - again - is a happy accident, not something to praise Rockefeller for. If we praised Rockefeller and only praised people because their means produced the right ends, we would truly live in a chaotic world where we wouldn't be judged until people saw the results. And, by what reason would we judge results since we've essentially said that reason doesn't really matter? It's incoherent. For example, I made a lot of friends only after Bush started the war in Iraq, friends I wouldn't have had, some of them even my best friends. My newborn son might never have been born because I only met my partner because we met in the anti-war group with which we were both involved. Should I praise Bush for this? Had he acted differently, none of this would have happened for me. How would I have met people who only came together to oppose that war? Should I praise Bush for all my happiness, even though the same cause has also produced such death and suffering? Should I praise a student who gets the right answer even though he did everything wrong to get there? We can argue about whether Rockefeller did something wrong (there's room for us to disagree, I think), but I can't imagine how we can say that sometimes contradictory behavior is justified? And, adding "some" actually doesn't help; one contradiction entails every other contradiction.

    I realize my metaphors for explaining myself here might not work at communicating what I'm after, but it's the best I can do at this late hour. I do think it's important, (and no I don't think it's hypocritical - I don't think there's anything contradictory about what BFC did in West Yellowstone in criticizing the National Park Service, though I'd be open to you showing it).

    I feel passionately that we have to be careful not to praise everything that made the things we cherish about our current circumstances possible. We should be allowed to regret, to be critical, so that we can be empowered to make decisions of right and wrong now. If we can't know all the answers - and despite how you tend to paint me, there's almost nothing I know that confidently - at least we can resist absurdity when we see it. It doesn't mean that one can't be thankful for what is even if one is critical about how one got there. Because, if we follow blindly the processes of history, we will use those same processes to perpetrate many atrocities as well. I sincerely don't want to be part of that if I can at all help it; I certainly don't want to pretend to justify it. Because, I know I do so many wrong things as it is because it's so hard to see what one should be doing. That is frustrating enough for me; it would be more frustrating if I knowingly embraced the contradiction of disconnecting ends and means so that I gave Rockefeller a pass on his tactics regarding Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park.

    So, it is very personal for me, too, though I don't have the connection with the Tetons or probably the degree of love and knowledge that you have (and I mean that sincerely). With all my heart, I want this place - Yellowstone (Tetons included) to be well and alive. I have cried real tears thinking about it; my heart burns for this place. But, at the same time, that leads me to be more critical, more discerning of the processes that brought us to now. It's so important that we embrace ends and means not just because of what happened but what's to come, as we all make decisions about how to live for this place.

    Hopefully, that says at least as much, if not more, than the metaphorical deficiencies of far too much time in a different jungle,

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

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 21 weeks ago

    Mack,

    Do you think that members of the Park Service should be doing more to stop the slaughter of Yellowstone buffalo - at the various levels of the bureaucracy?

    Is the IBMP completely independent from the partner agencies who manage and enforce the IBMP?

    Should the National Park Service be doing more to change the IBMP?

    Under the IBMP, what principles guide the different decisions that NPS makes in respect to enforcing the IBMP? Are those decisions justified? Might they be different?

    And, if PEER actually is there to help rangers pursue interests of environmental justice, can they be doing more not to carry out the policies of their superiors? (PEER is controversial in itself, but that's neither here nor there.)

    And, on the issue of hypocrisy, first of all the charge is ad hominem (because whether one is a hypocrite is ultimately irrelevant to the argument - just because you catch a vegetarian eating a cheeseburger wouldn't make that vegetarian's arguments about the benefits of vegetarianism wrong), but even so, your sentence above does not illuminate any hypocrisy. I have said that people should have sympathy with people who are caught under any hierarchical oppression, who are not able to carry out their own will. What is hypocritical or empty about that? The picture that headlines this that was featured at the rally was labeled "Park Service." Why are you conflating that with sympathy for rangers on the ground? That's rather insulting and mean-spirited, and I find what you've said personally hurtful.

    Look, we both clearly want their to be justice for the buffalo. We have a disagreement over tactics and the appropriateness of certain tactics and how to go about things. I'm probably far more radical (though I would not say idealistic - as you have about me) than you. I have argued against the rationale that created Yellowstone National Park - not simply the Jackson Hole annexation to Grand Teton National Park - and argued (as Kurt knows) that the rationale of right and left on this issue is rooted in the same false beliefs regarding the right to property (arising from John Locke's philosophy). Ideologically, we are therefore very far apart, and I'm not afraid for us to be honest with each other about that point. But, deep down, in terms of this, we both want the same thing.

    Can we then figure out the best way to do this while respecting our differences? Because I see the IBMP as ultimately not the issue - merely the vehicle to pursue a particular agenda against the buffalo - and see the joint invested interests of private industry and government as one significant root of the problem, I'm much more likely to agree with BFC's strategy and tactics in drawing those groups out and holding them accountable. Because I also see social change as driven from the direct interests of people empowered to act on their own half, participating in their own processes, I'm also that much more likely to support those tactics. But, I'm not going to stop people from pursuing the courts or going down that road. Strategically and tactically, I don't think that will make the systemic change that's needed. Still, I would support those efforts. I just hope we can have similar solidarity, and by your own actions, you have been doing that. And, I do think that's wonderful.

    And, where rangers also do that (professionals or volunteers like yourself), I will be the first to support them. I believe that would undercut policy quicker than anything. It's the same reason I've been associated with counter-recruitment actions against people joining the military. These sorts of actions have the potential to be the most powerful, but they are understandably also perhaps the hardest to pull off.

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

  • Park History: Grand Teton National Park   6 years 21 weeks ago

    In some cases the ends DO justify the means.

    prairiegirl is right; in this case the ends do justify the means. Otherwise, Jackson Hole would be filled with subdivisons, strip centers, malls and the rest of the crap that comes with "progress." Currently, some 97% of the valley is public land, held in trust for the American people by the National Park Service, the National Forest Service and the National Elk Refuge, administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. That leaves some 3% available for private ownership and development. We're talking about some of the most expensive real estate in the country. Why? Huge demand and short supply = high prices.

    Jim wrote: "I believe that Rockefeller had no business scamming people out of land to reach his ends..."

    Scam? Describe the scam. In addition, if any *laws* were broken by Rockefeller and/or his companies, describe the crimes committed.

    There's two parts to real estate transactions: a willing buyer and a willing seller.

    I doubt any of those sellers had guns to their head and were forced to sell. They were made an offer by Rockefeller's front companies and they accepted and sold. Had they known they were selling to the very wealthy Mr. Rockefeller, I'm sure they would have held out for a higher price. Who wouldn't?

    Jim, how about a little friendly ammendment/disclaimer to one of your statements above: "***In my opinion***, what Rockefeller did was abusive and paternalistic..."

    Much of what you state you present as fact when it's actually your opinion.

    --

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net
    http://wildlifewatchers.jottit.com/

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 21 weeks ago

    "If it is not easy for rangers to get out of their situation, then they do deserve our sympathy (which I have already said and which you seem to conveniently ignore)..."

    Actions speak louder than words and the action of using some black puppet, as you describe it, hanging in effigy near the west entrance, speaks louder than your shallow sympathy relayed in the above sentence. Jim, your hypocrisy is astounding.

    "...and everyone involved - rangers and non-rangers - need to work to make it possible for rangers stuck in this situation to be able to speak out or get out of their situation. If that's a need, what can be done to give rangers an outlet for being able to speak up and get out of their situation?"

    It's called Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility - peer.org : "As a service organization assisting federal & state public employees, PEER allows public servants to work as "anonymous activists" so that agencies must confront the message, rather than the messenger"

    However, you fail to acknowledge, Jim, that YNP is LEGALLY BOUND by the terms of the IBMP. Don't like what's happening? Change the IBMP. You can raise all the hell you want with YNP, Montana DOL and any other entities you desire, but it's the IBMP plan that needs to be attacked and changed.

    "I went to a talk by Bob Jackson - a ranger who nearly lost his job for whistleblowing - I know it's almost impossible to speak out."

    Let's bring a little more accuracy into the picture, okay? Bob Jackson was an extraordinary backcountry ranger in Yellowstone - he handled the Thorofare for many years and kicked many a poacher's ass. Bob WAS fired for speaking up on his personal time - not representing YNP - about guides salt baiting bull elk out of Yellowstone and into the Teton Wilderness for their rich sucker, er, ah, big-game clients to "hunt". Bob asked PEER to help; they sued YNP, he was reinstated but retired thereafter. At least that's the way I recall the incident. Bob now raises bison on his ranch, the Tall Grass Bison Ranch, in Iowa. I consider Bob to be an expert in the family structure of bison herds.

    Jim, if you want to ask Bob Jackson, ex-Yellowstone National Park ranger, his opinion of your black puppet, as you describe it, hanging in effigy near the west entrance, I'll give you his email address and/or phone number. Report back with your results.

    "And, you're offended by a stinking picture of a puppet at a rally?..."

    Blah, blah, blah, more defense of the "puppet."

    --

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net
    http://wildlifewatchers.jottit.com/

  • Park History: Grand Teton National Park   6 years 21 weeks ago

    The ends did justify the means-without it this area would now be filled with even more mcmansions and you and I would not be allowed behind the gates. And it's not Yellowstone it's the park with big mountains!

  • Park History: Grand Teton National Park   6 years 21 weeks ago

    Jim,

    I think Rockefeller and Albright both deserve recognition and thanks for Grand Teton Park. If you cannot feel good about it then there is something else wrong.

    Great Story. Who ever thought it would be controversial?

    Joe

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 21 weeks ago

    If it is not easy for rangers to get out of their situation, then they do deserve our sympathy (which I have already said and which you seem to conveniently ignore), and everyone involved - rangers and non-rangers - need to work to make it possible for rangers stuck in this situation to be able to speak out or get out of their situation. If that's a need, what can be done to give rangers an outlet for being able to speak up and get out of their situation? I'm serious about this. One way to stop people in power from abusing people is to create means to undercut their ability to control others to do their bidding. I went to a talk by Bob Jackson - a ranger who nearly lost his job for whistleblowing - I know it's almost impossible to speak out. So, what can be done? Is it enough simply to change the heads of these organizations? Or, is it intrinsic to the beauracracy?

    Rather than single out particular people, we should all own up to our part of the blame. In some ways, we probably all contribute to the problem and could be doing more. Is the Park Service culpable or not? Who has the power to make the Park Service change their policy?

    Because, right now, buffalo are still being killed. People are going to jail trying to stop them. And, you're offended by a stinking picture of a puppet at a rally? The puppet was provocative and spoke to a truth about Park Service involvement in the slaughter; that it was uncomfortable and disturbing was in fact part of the point, and an appropriate point to make. People should be made to feel uncomfortable by the contradiction in policy and that the Park Service has put their name and their actions to this policy. And, it should draw people out in questioning the policy and Park Service involvement and all the other cogs in the machine (especially the role of the livestock industry). And, it should draw people out in talking about strategy in dealing with it. But, to defend the Park Service as a victim and outraged that they've been called out is to defend the indefensible. That there are good people stuck in this system, trapped, and horrified by what they are being forced and pressured into doing is true enough, but instead of that calling into question the image, it should call into question what we can be doing to alleviate the situation. The picture holds; it's a ghastly truth, and many people are often trapped by it, and just as importantly, buffalo family units are being destroyed here. What can we do to change this? Calling bureaucracies out seems to be the tamest thing one can do to take action, and yet, apparently, it's proven to be more provocative than I imagined. Where I come from, such puppets are derided not for being despicable but for being toothless - they don't actually change anything. But, if this puppet has actually arisen such an emotional response and the discussion that has ensued, then it has more than achieved it's purpose, and for it, we should be thankful (rather than apologetic).

    As for hypocritical, while I don't see it here in this instance, we are all hypocrites one way or the other. We are all culpable and all responsible. Instead of trying to figure out how we are not responsible, we should be trying to figure out how we can all do better. And, we should be thankful for anyone who correctly points out where we fall short, even if it hurts.

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

  • Park History: Grand Teton National Park   6 years 21 weeks ago

    I don't believe that ends justify means.

    I believe that Rockefeller had no business scamming people out of land to reach his ends, using his overwhelming power and capital to foist a new reality on people. I have the same problem with the National Park Service playing God by playing with the fate of Yellowstone's buffalo, whether in partnership or on their own. And, I have no problem with grassroots activists, who are trying to rectify this situation, from pointing it out. There is nothing despicable about the means and ends; they are appropriate and illustrative. What Rockefeller did was abusive and paternalistic, even if we happen to benefit from some of the results.

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

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 21 weeks ago

    Scott - Thanks for the information. I do hope that you are right and I am wrong. I can't speak for every CCW holder, but in my case if I go to a National Park NO ONE will know I have a weapon except my wife, and anybody who tries to hurt her. Otherwise it will remain totally out of sight at all times.

  • Park History: Grand Canyon National Park   6 years 21 weeks ago

    There might be some confusion about just when Grand Canyon National Park became a national park, but it seems perfectly clear why the National Park Service considers 1919 to be the magic year. It was in 1919 that managerial responsibility for the park ("ownership," if you prefer) was transferred from the U.S. Forest Service to the fledgling National Park Service and the property acquired the formal title National Park (capital N, capital P). Everything that happened before that was prelude as far as the Park Service is concerned.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 21 weeks ago

    Mr. Fred Miller,

    I'd like to make one correction to what you wrote. Possession of a loaded firearm in an NPS area is a misdemeanor, not a felony. While jail time up to one year is possible for a misdemeanor, I know of no instance in my 25 years in NPS law enforcement where anyone served jail time for a first offense of simple posession of a weapon in an NPS area. A small to moderate fine is a more likely outcome for a first offense. For a second or third offense you are most likely to receive a higher fine and forfeit your firearm to the court.

    During my career I contacted thousands of park visitors, and while a percentage of these contacts were for law enforcement purposes, I never felt it necessary to cite or arrest any person for violation of the current firearms regulations unless there were more serious associated criminal violations involved such as poaching or threatening other persons with a firearm. I believe many national park rangers would have comparable results. I always felt that a warning and having the person(s) unloaded and store their weapon was appropriate for a first offense. But, if I found the same person(s) again at some later time with a loaded weapon then a citation or arrest was more likely.

    Mr. Jim Macdonald,

    There is active enforcement of the current firearms regulations in parks, but that almost always involves firearms in plain sight observed by a ranger or by another visitor and then reported to a ranger. Loaded firearms are also sometimes located in visitors' motor vehicles when they have been stopped for some other infraction and a search incident to that infraction ensues.

  • Park History: Grand Teton National Park   6 years 21 weeks ago

    Jim, no offense, but to me, you're coming off as quite the hypocrite.

    Comparing Rockefeller and his supposed "scamming" which eventually gave us Grand Teton National Park with your defense of hanging a black puppet of Yellowstone National Park in effigy, are you saying the ends justify the means or not?

    And I have no problem with the Rockefellers, after GIFTING this country with thousands of acres, withholding a few for their personal use.

    --

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net
    http://wildlifewatchers.jottit.com/

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 21 weeks ago

    Jim wrote: "When workers do things simply because that's what they were told to do or because there is material pressure for them to do this, then our sympathy should be with them to the extent that they can't get out of the situation."

    Therein lies the hypocrisy of your position: YNP rangers in the field have had to bust their butts to become permanent rangers and, more than likely, were employed as seasonals before becoming permanent - in other words, it ain't easy becoming a ranger with Yellowstone National Park and those men and women are NOT exactly able to react as you suggest they do in your model, which I view as unrealistically idealistic.

    Where's your sympathy for those rangers in the field? You have none.

    If you think politics aren't at play within the bureaucracy of YNP, you're sadly mistaken.

    Yellowstone National Park and all it's employees deserve more respect than having some black puppet, as you describe it, hanging in effigy near the west entrance.

    You and Buffalo Field Campaign owe Yellowstone National Park a sincere apology, in my opinion.

    --

    Don't get me wrong; I fully support public protest and civil disobedience. If you want to be effective and FAIR, get the names of all the signers of the IBMP, single them out, target them and not everybody that works for YNP. Secretary of Interior's lost his appointment? Doesn't matter; NAME HIM. Get the idea?

    --

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net
    http://wildlifewatchers.jottit.com/

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 21 weeks ago

    Jim - I'm told that there is no way that an active enforcement of any concealed weapon ban could take place. How would that be done? There would have to be "wands" and metal detectors EVERYWHERE you go in a National Park! But the sad reality is that IF you get caught with a concealed weapon under current regulations, you will be guilty of committing a FELONY, punishable by imprisonment in a Federal penitentiary. Seems a little severe to me. So your choices are: take a chance on being unarmed when you encounter a bad guy, or a chance of getting caught with a loaded weapon. Pretty lousy choice, huh? That's why I feel that this archaic continuation of a "gun-free zone" has got to stop.

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 21 weeks ago

    Just a question because I'm curious (and perhaps because I suspect this issue is a red herring), does anyone know what the Park Service does to enforce the current gun regulations? Is there actually active enforcement?

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

  • Critics: Changing Gun Laws in National Parks Would Open a "Pandora's Box" of Problems   6 years 21 weeks ago

    As a National Park Ranger with over 30 year's experience, I can tell you conclusively that allowing the possession of readily-available firearms by all park visitors is a bad idea. While some people who have training in the use of firearms might be qualified to have them at hand, the reality is that most people don't. Any idiot without a criminal record (and some who do--at some gun shows) can purchase a gun. Another reality is that some park visitors are idiots when they get out of their urban environments. Rangers are called to the scene of many drunken fights every year, especially in campgrounds in the recreation areas. More of these would now end in gunplay instead of fisticuffs. When the first fool starts banging away at a campground bear with his new .22, we can only hope the bear wins, and the fool doesn't hit a kid in the next campsite.

    Joel, above, is typical of people who wn't listen to reason. All the logic in the world is not key enough to unlock a closed mind. It's just unfortunate that we presently have a Secretary of the Interior from Idaho and 47 gutless Senators who are afraid to cross the NRA.

  • Olympic National Park Entrance Fees to Stay Unchanged Through 2009   6 years 21 weeks ago

    If you are a citizen of the US, one should not pay a penny for parks. Do like other countries do...charge the tourist and forgieners an arm and a let and let the citizens in almost free. I was just in East Africa...my fee $50.00 per day for the parks..the locals fee 50 cents. I was in Russia and I paid $20.00 for the ballet..the locals paid 20 cents. I was in Oregon once and the Oregonian paid less that the out of state visitors for the camp grounds. I hope this has changed. It really irratated me...ripping off your fellow states.
    Doesn't our Government know that there is a recession going on? Let people at least enjoy our parks. We pay taxes and this should go towards supporting our parks.
    I wish someone would take the time to look into the above

  • Olympic National Park Entrance Fees to Stay Unchanged Through 2009   6 years 21 weeks ago

    Hey Lee, I hear you. The Park Service's proposed 08 budget is over $2 billion.

    If you search through the "Plight of the Parks" subcategory you'll find lots of posts concerning entrance fees and the battles over them.

    As for seniors, the parks basically are free -- a $10 lifetime pass for those 62 and older. Americans with disabilities qualify for a free lifetime pass. No breaks for military that I know of.