Recent comments

  • Rangers Association Points Out Flaws In Secretary Kempthorne's Weapons Logic   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Mr. Fletcher James,

    I feel I must personally respond to your post because you have been disrespectful to me personally, and some of your sweeping assumptions are not accurate which is what frequently happens when one makes assumptions.

    Respectfully, we obviously disagree on this issue. Respectfully, you do not know anything about me or my motives. For the record, I have spent my entire, adult, working life with a firearm strapped on my hip in areas administered by the National Park Service (NPS). For many of those years I worked on the “front lines” in these areas contacting visitors to help them in some cases and to enforce laws in other instances. I have also personally visited 256 of the 391 units of the National Park System on my own time, so I feel do have some credibility as a park visitor.

    Also for the record, I own 2 personal firearms. I have never felt threatened enough while visiting NPS areas to carry my weapons while off duty.

    As the President of the Association of National Park Rangers (ANPR) I represent 1,100 people, the majority of whom have spent their working lives on the “front lines” of the NPS. Their position is to oppose the described regulation change, and my job as their President is to make their views known in the public debate.

    With regard to the Second Amendment, ANPR’s point is to frame this debate in what we believe are the correct terms. The Second Amendment does not speak to any conditions in which the right to bear arms can be infringed, in your words “a secure environment.” In our opinion, if you accept any of the exceptions then that means you recognize the right of government to make exceptions to the Second Amendment. Following from that, this debate then becomes whether the limited NPS regulation is worthy from a societal standpoint versus its limited intrusion on the Second Amendment. And respectfully, that is where we disagree.

    The federal power to protect wildlife on federal lands is also Constitutionally based (the Property Clause), and that finding has been upheld at the U. S. Supreme Court level (see Kleppe v. New Mexico, 1976). The current NPS regulation was promulgated primarily and specifically to protect wildlife in NPS areas. In the professional opinion of ANPR, the described regulation change will have negative impacts on park wildlife. We do agree that the majority of gun owners coming into parks would never use their guns to illegally kill or injure wildlife. We also recognize that a small number of gun owners will illegally use their guns to kill or injure wildlife no matter what the regulations or laws concerning guns in parks are. However, a regulation change allowing the carrying and/or display of loaded firearms will make it more difficult to apprehend these individuals because possession and display of a weapon would no longer be probable cause to initiate a search for evidence of wildlife or wildlife parts.

    We also believe that there are a significant number of gun owners that fall in the middle of the two groups mentioned above. They might be tempted into an illegal act if the right opportunity in parks presents itself. Often such illegal acts of opportunity require two elements―desirable wildlife to be present, and a readily-accessible, loaded firearm. When either of these two elements is removed from the equation it dramatically reduces the chances that park wildlife will be harmed.

    ANPR advises the reading of the June 30, 1983 Federal Register in which the revision to the current NPS firearms regulation was adopted after a public comment period. The stated reason found in this document for adopting this regulation was “to ensure public safety and provide maximum protection of natural resources by limiting the opportunity for unauthorized use of weapons.” Opportunity is the key word in this justification. There are many laws in our society that have been put in place to limit opportunity such as: Not everyone that speeds will cause an accident and hurt someone, but speeding laws help reduce the opportunity that accidents will happen; not every gun owner that climbs on to a commercial airplane is a terrorist, but preventing firearms on commercial planes reduces the opportunity that a terrorist will successfully use an airplane as a weapon.

    In our view, a regulation change as described will make poaching in parks even more prevalent than it already is, thus reducing the opportunity for children, families, and Americans from all walks of life to easily view wildlife that so many parks provide. Moreover, wildlife will not remain easily viewable when it is being shot at. If easily-viewable wildlife becomes scarce in parks like Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Katmai, Mount Rainier, and others it will have economic impacts on the gateway communities and local residents whose livelihoods depend in part or in whole on the visitors that come to see park wildlife.

    You may disagree with all points of view above, and that is certainly your right, but I don’t see how calling someone on the opposite side of an issue an idiot and their comments ridiculous or dumb advances our society.


    Scot McElveen
    President, Association of National Park Rangers

  • Dinosaur National Monument: Paleo's Not The Only Responsibility   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Sounds like the writing of JTR (yea the one who is obviously a park employee @ DNM & very close to the situation), sticking to only the upper management side of the story, completely fact-less postings and very willing to bash any other point of view or credible information that contradicts the party line. Hang tight people the facts and the truth are coming out and very soon there will be a very different picture painted! The spin from Mary Risser and other management at DNM is loaded with holes, fact-less information, smoke-screens, bold face lies and deciet. There is in fact two sides to this story and the side you will soon be hearig of is the truth. Strong public opposition and pressure will force the Secretary of The Interior as well as the Director of the National Parks Service to take a much closer look at this situation at DNM. We can only hope that they will keep the program in tact with it's current and crucial employee's and that the focus will shift back to paleontology at this paleontology based park. You the public are getting the wool pulled over your eyes while being short-changed (as a visitor or researcher) by the current management at DNM. Your voice is important and needs to be heard! Stay tuned folks for the other side of the story.......

  • Dinosaur National Monument: Paleo's Not The Only Responsibility   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Read the story again. The NPCA got letters from those opposing the NPS, including some calling for the Superintendent’s resignation. The NPCA heard from both sides and made a decision about who to support.

  • Interior Secretary Opens Door for New Gun Regulations in National Parks   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I completely agree with "Barky". I have been in some very remote areas of our federal lands and on occasion I have wished I had brought a rifle, just in case. I do believe this is a state's rights issue, but I am very sympathetic to the park rangers who might stumble upon more gunplay than they have heretofor been subjected to.
    I, too agree that someone with a weapon tucked safely in his or her pack is far less of a problem than 4:00 am ATV or snowmobilers tearing up the wilderness and scaring off the wildlife.

  • A Winter Visit to Grand Canyon National Park's Phantom Ranch   6 years 26 weeks ago


    Are you spending the night at Phantom Ranch? If so, will you be eating meals there as well? I found that the Phantom Ranch breakfast of hotcakes, eggs, and bacon was quite good, especially the bacon. If you have them prepare a sack lunch for the hike out, it will include the electolyte mix that Kurt recommends above.

    Given your age and your dedicated efforts at pre-hike conditioning, the only difficulty I foresee is the extreme summer heat of the Inner Canyon. By June, the temperatures of the Inner Canyon will be quite hot. Fortunately, you will experience some of this inner canyon heat during your 2-1/2 day raft trip, and so you should be mentally prepared prior to starting your hike out.

    In past years, when I've hiked into and out of the canyon during the summer months, I've opted to take the hike out in the coolness of night. If a moon is out, the trail is still easy to negotiate. Otherwise a flashlight or headlamp will suffice. You might want to inquire with your party about the earliest time that will be feasible to begin your hike out of the Inner Gorge.

    The only downside to an early pre-dawn departure will be light too low for decent digital photographs, at least without the use of a tripod. But, you can solve this problem by walking much of the River Trail between the Silver and Black Bridges during the latter part of the previous afternoon as a kind of a pre-hike "warm-up." In any case, your legs might yearn for some stretching after long days aboard the raft.

    If you do choose to hike out early before the light of dawn, walking slowly will help you enjoy the wonderful changes in canyon colors that occur during the hour prior to sunrise. This spectacle is especially memorable when approaching or just having ascended onto the Tonto Plateau. Once you arrive on top of the Tonto Plateau, and you find yourself up for some additional walking and scenery prior to your final ascent out of Indian Gardens, I highly recommend making the 1.5 mile detour along relatively level terrain to Plateau Point for a different perspective of the Inner Gorge, and one final view of the Colorado River. You won't see the river again until you reach the South Rim.

    In years past, I recall that there were a series of trailside interpretive signs that highlighted the significance of the contact zones and the age of the various geological groupings and formations that comprise the rock strata of the Grand Canyon. During my hike this past December, I saw none of those interpretive signs I had remembered from past hikes. There were none to be seen along either the South Kaibab nor the Bright Angel trails.

    Thus, if you are interested in learning some details about the geology of the Grand Canyon, I would recommend that you obtain or purchase a copy of the Bright Angel Trail Guide. Use this trail guide as a reference to review the change in geological features you will encounter as you begin your ascent through time. Keep this light-weight trail guide in your pack as a reference. This trail guide will also help you identify where you were when reviewing your photos after you have completed your journey.

    Owen Hoffman
    Oak Ridge, TN 37830

  • Rangers Association Points Out Flaws In Secretary Kempthorne's Weapons Logic   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I've beaten this to death on other pages (see, didn't even need a gun!!), and won't continue to do so here. Just a couple of quick things. First, as implied by Mr. McElveen, this IS NOT a second amendment issue. It has nothing to do with the second amendment. In fact, this does NOT insure the right of "law abiding citizens" to bear arms.....not even in National Parks. It would simply state that the National Park Service bows to the laws of the state in which the park is found. Therefore, loaded guns would still be illegal in Yosemite (because guns are illegal in ALL parks in the State of California), for example, while they would be allowed in Glacier (unless, of course, you inadvertently hiked across that imaginary line into Alberta). So, before all the cowboys out there start celebrating their victory for "second amendment rights", and grab their piece and head off to a National Park (is that a gun, or are you just happy to be in the great outdoors?!), they better check what the local laws are.
    Second; about that whole "right of law-abiding citizens" thing: How do we know? (This isn't an argument for of against the second amendment, simply a question.) How do we know who IS a law-abiding citizen? What litmus test do we have? What test? I have to prove that I know and understand the laws and safe operation of my car before I can get a license to drive. Yet not with an instrument that is built and designed for one purpose: to kill. In fact, if you never kill anything (anyone) with your gun, you're not really getting your moneys worth out of it, are you? Since it was built for no other purpose. (The difference, BTW, between using a gun in a violent crime and using a knife (designed to cut meat, gut a fish..) or baseball bat (designed to hit a ball) etc., etc.) Most people who use a gun in the commission of a crime were law-abiding citizens one minute, and then not. Look at nearly every mass shooting and listen to folks saying, "I never thought HE would do something like this. He was such a good boy. He was always so nice to ME. He was just under so much stress since his home went into foreclosure." The young man who killed all those people in Illinois WAS a "law-abiding citizen" until he stepped out onto that stage.
    Incidentally, the current law (requiring that guns be unloaded and packed away in National Parks), which most people feel is a reasonable compromise, was signed into law (just as the wolf reintroduction was, BTW) by that wild-eyed, left wing, anti-gun liberal Ronald Reagan! (The ESA by Richard Nixon....I love it!)
    This very likely is all moot anyway. Just as the Bush administration undid nearly everything that the Clinton folks did in their last year, I'm sure that the next administration will probably do the same with the wild death throes (I'm sure we can expect many more in the coming months) of this one.

  • Controlled Flood Proposed for the Colorado River Through Grand Canyon National Park   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I have scheduled a fly-fishing trip with many out-of-state friends for March 27-30, 2008 (Lees Ferry). Should I cancel this trip?!?!?

  • Dinosaur National Monument: Paleo's Not The Only Responsibility   6 years 26 weeks ago

    So now the NPCA is a dupe of the NPS? The NPCA is independent, sometimes it supports the NPS, sometimes it opposes it. Sounds like you can’t tolerate any other point of view.

  • Rangers Association Points Out Flaws In Secretary Kempthorne's Weapons Logic   6 years 26 weeks ago


    My family and I frequently visit National Parks and we stay in the campgrounds, which are often crowded with other families with children. Every year I read stories of children who find their parent's gun and accidently shoot themselves or one of their friends. (When I was a kid, one of my cousins accidently shot himself in the leg with his dad's shotgun. He didn't die, but one of his legs is now substantially shorter than the other one.) I really won't feel safer knowing that some kid in a tent 15 feet from mine might start playing around with the handgun that he finds in his parents' tent or car. I feel much safer knowing that now any guns in National Parks must be locked and unloaded.

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 26 weeks ago

    First of all, eric, you asked:

    In your opinion why did the park service begin killing bison?

    I assume you mean, why did the Park Service begin killing bison under the current management plan? The reason I have to clarify that is that bison were killed by the Park Service for awhile in the 20th century based on the size of the herds until the so called natural regulation policy at the end of the 1960s.

    Since a settlement of a lawsuit involving Montana in the 1990s and the subsequent IBMP, the National Park Service has been a partner in the management plan for bison in the Greater Yellowstone region. The goal of the IBMP is the prevention of the spread of brucellosis from bison to cattle populations. As I understand it, the Montana Department of Livestock is the lead manager of the program.

    This winter, I've personally witnessed the negligent hazing of buffalo by snow plows well inside the park boundaries - between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower. I could not tell you the reason why the snow plows forced the bison off the roads. According to the National Park Service, bison were first captured and then sent to slaughter because they had either approached or had crossed the park boundary near private grazing allotments. All bison captured (now 290) were shipped to slaughter, including some calves originally intended for quarantine (who were shipped to slaughter because NPS had failed to get a permit for the quarantine facility).

    But, why bison were shipped to slaughter from the capture facility inside the park is not at all clear. The bison were not tested for exposure to brucellosis (which itself is not a positive test for having brucellosis) - under management plans, testing is not required for the herd if it is over 3,000. It's not clear why bison were not re-released inside the park.

    And, yet, even then, it's not clear why the National Park Service is a partner in the IBMP since it goes squarely against the mission of the National Park Service.

    Why exactly in your opinion, did they decide this was to be their new mandate?

    Application of the IBMP is arbitrary and hard to understand. Some winters, few bison are killed. Other winters, many are. Why this happens is not something I can opine about? I can opine, though, on the notion of the mandate. I suspect that when any regulatory body comes to an agreement, they believe it is their mandate because they are after all part of the executive branch of the United States government. Whether this actually constitutes a rational mandate - whether it ever did - is something I would strongly dispute. Bureaucracies often govern on the expediency of the moment rather than based on any consistency with principles of justice - or much less demanding than that - consistency with their own mission.

    What reason did they give for changing their management practice concerning shipping bison to harvest.

    This winter they said nothing except that bison were either approaching or had moved across the park boundary near private allotments. Each winter, it's different.

    I can't help but wonder why it's up to the park service to stop their practices but you say it's ok for the USDA to not change theirs just because their principles have been set in stone for decades, and therefore are resistant to pressure from outside sources pushing for change. I'm a bit confused. You let the USDA and Livestock Dept. off the hook when they are the ones I think putting pressure on the park to keep beef brucelosis free. I admit you lost me in your poetic, epic responses, but after all the words the basic questions remain. Who started it?

    No one should be let off the hook. The partners of the IBMP are the United States Forest Service (Gallatin National Forest) - USDA -, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - USDA -, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Montana Department of Livestock, and the National Park Service (Yellowstone National Park) - DOI -. All of these agencies have been the target of protest. The question of protesting the National Park Service and singling it out in a specific protest is no doubt one arising from the greatest bewilderment since its membership in the partnership is the most obviously contradictory. In actuality, most of the direct protest - and what you'll see in coming months because of the Horse Butte facility - is action aimed against Montana, especially the Department of Livestock. During the hunting season, there would have been more directed at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, who manages the bison "hunts" (the vast majority of bison get gunned down very close to the Yellowstone boundary). And, you see a lot of complaints directed at Gov. Schweitzer (and before him, Governor Martz and Governor Racicot).

    Yet, if the National Park Service is going to be a partner in this, they are making it that much easier. If wildlife advocates are supposed to have one friend, it's supposed to be the Park Service. However, it has not happened that way. And, it's really not a surprise. Personally, I never would have bothered. All of these bureaucracies, whatever their competing interests, are still bound to the state or federal government. Their levers are only controlled by the most powerful forces in the country; and unless you have the money and connections to put your hands on one of those levers, nothing happens. It really is up to grassroots activists to hold all of these groups accountable and to pressure them to change policy.

    As to taking on the beef industry, which was the actual gist of what you were suggesting, I think that's a fine idea. It doesn't make the NPS any less culpable, but it's an interesting strategic move. But, at that point, we aren't arguing whether the beef industry or the NPS is to blame; we are arguing about the best means to make change.

    In my case, I found the action effective not because tourists had their eyes opened but because those who participated were able to connect, network, and begin planning anew. In fact, that's exactly what happened to me. I went down there not really knowing anyone; now some of us who met only on account of this action are planning and organizing.

    But, strategically, the beef industry itself is an inviting target. If one takes away the incentive of the industry to control the levers of policy, then you take away one part of the problem. There are many ways to go after the industry. Do you go after those who are propping up the support of the industry? Do you go directly after the industry? Do you use a multi-pronged approach? These are all very interesting questions. I think all approaches can work toward the same ends, and criticizing the Park Service - one of the unwitting partners of the beef industry - is part of the process. For people local to Yellowstone National Park and Gallatin National Forest, it's probably easier to go after the governmental pillars of support and yet show solidarity with the many groups going directly after the industry. Can't that all be part of the same struggle?


    Finally, Mack,

    I know people aren't supposed to bring things up like this, but what is your opinion of the Nuremberg trials? There, the main defense for doing nothing in the face of gross injustice was that they were merely trying to survive and that their superiors were really to blame for all the crimes they carried out. The same has been said by soldiers who participated in the torture at Abu Ghraib. In each case, courts found even those who carried out crimes called for by their superiors to hold part of the blame. Do you think this was right? Is this analogous to criticizing Park Service personnel?

    If Park Service personnel are not able to act against their superiors - surely, few signed up for bison hazing and killing duty and are no doubt revolted to be caught up in and associated with it - they should definitely have our sympathy. They are as much victims as everyone else and getting out is easier said than done. But, if there were a way out, if there were something they could be doing, should they be doing it? If there isn't a way out, one way that activists can help is by providing that way out - much as activists in the anti-war movement help soldiers who wish to be conscientious objectors or who otherwise want to escape the evils of war.

    And, as for the photograph of the puppet, I take it you think it's despicable because it depicts the Park Service as an executioner. Unfortunately, when it comes to Yellowstone's buffalo, the despicable image is the truth - whoever is culpable - because whoever in the Park Service is to blame - wherever that buck stops - then it's they who personify the Park Service and it is they who are accurately if still despicably pictured in the photograph.


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

  • Dinosaur National Monument: Paleo's Not The Only Responsibility   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Or the NPCA is only going on the limited information they have been provided with from the parks point of view.

  • Rangers Association Points Out Flaws In Secretary Kempthorne's Weapons Logic   6 years 26 weeks ago

    perhaps a real poll could take place w/in the various national in campgrounds, tents only areas and back country. I believe most folks who have spent many a vacation in the parks would say they feel safe as law is now. Really, just how many of the few tragic events that have made the news in recents years could have been avoided. Were the "victims" ever of the make up that they would have been carrying a fire arm. It really doesnt quite feel right to spectulate about .How many deadly force/intentional events have occuried in National Parks where there were even others around wondering " why didnt/dont I have a gun?". The reality is that w/ a reminder (if not an encouragement based on broadcasting ones basic right) to bring your guns there will simply be the increased probability of accidental tragic events. These are the events that will make headline news and increase /create a snow balling fear full ness brought into the National Park experience . There needs to be some discernment about 2nd ammendment rights as there has been.

  • 4-Year-old Dies in Fall off South Rim of Grand Canyon   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Steve's opening comments certainly inspire anyone with a clue about what life is like parenting children to respond. This little 4-year old yanked away from her parent in an act of willfulness, and it had the most tragic of consequences. Every one of us - especially anyone who is a parent - can look at this and grieve, knowing that it could have been any one of us. The poor parents are traumatized... who wouldn't be.

    It could have just as easily happened when the child got out of a car, yanked away from her parent and ran in front of a moving vehicle. As much as we'd like to be, parents just aren't omnipotent or capable of being omnipresent. With HINDsight, I would say I wouldn't take a child that age, or one that had a propensity to be willful. Hmmm, with the latter requirement, I wouldn't take my 16 year olds either! SO, hindsight isn't very useful in this. We try to give our children life-enriching experiences. Sometimes even the most SAFE activities we could think of have tragic consequences.

    Wishing peace for this family.

  • A Winter Visit to Grand Canyon National Park's Phantom Ranch   6 years 27 weeks ago


    Sounds like you've got a great trip lined up! While I've hiked down into and back out of the canyon, with a stop at Phantom, I have yet to run the river.

    Not sure how large your CamelBak is, but obviously you want the largest you can get your hands on. The hike up out of the canyon is a lot tougher than the one down into it. It might not be a bad idea to carry some packages of electrolytes that you can mix in your CamelBak I like the small packets of "Emergen-C," which are handy to carry. Also, a large-brimmed hat and a small assortment of Band-aids you can use to ward off any blisters from your new boots would be wise.

    Something to munch on -- granola bars, jerky, hard candy, trail mix -- also wouldn't be a bad idea.

    Have a great trip!

  • Interior Secretary Opens Door for New Gun Regulations in National Parks   6 years 27 weeks ago

    I just have a few questions:
    1. Is it just a security issue that makes you want to carry a weapon into a National Park?
    2. If it is just a security issue then what do you now? Do you visit the parks or take the family somewhere else? If you visit the parks do you carry anyway?
    3. I've only been to a few National Parks out west, which I've never had issues with, so which parks seems to be the dangerous ones?

    Just to let people know... I'm not a gun owner. Don't really care if people own guns, it's not my place to say if they should. Three of my brothers own and actively hunt/target shoot. I have no issues with it. I worked with weapons in the Navy and will use weapons when I'm visiting with family members who own them.

    I'm more interested in why this is such a big deal for people. Most people will agree it's a risk going anywhere today, or so it seems. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have no issues hiking alone in the many open spaces here, only encounters here were with a couple mountain lions, to which I came out ok. I think we can all agree California has it's fair share of the criminal element and I've failed to encounter such things on the trail.

    As for the controversy I guess I'd be against people packing 'heat' if that was the only problem we have in the parks. However as Paul stated above we have other concerns in the parks. Lack of funds, motorized sports eroding/polluting, conservation of wildlife and an ecosystem. Perhaps we should deal with them first!!!!! Oh yeah let's not forget the people who are abusing the land to grow illicit substances.

    In the end I guess I just don't care. This is just one more item that is a non-issue. Something to keep people busy arguing while the status quo goes on in the federal government.

    I just hope people are as passionate about the parks when funding cuts are announced!

    My humble opinions.

  • Dinosaur National Monument: Paleo's Not The Only Responsibility   6 years 27 weeks ago

    This paints quite a different picture of the situation than the other articles did. It sounds like a reasonable approach under the circumstances. Instead of trying to do more with less they're really doing a lot more with a little more money. There is no stronger advocate for the National Parks and all their resources than the NPCA. The NPCA would not be supporting this plan if they didn't think it would benefit Dinosaur National Monument.

  • A Winter Visit to Grand Canyon National Park's Phantom Ranch   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Was glad to see some "been around the block once or twice" ages posted here as I am a 58 year old woman :)

    This June I will head out on a very personal journey - 2 1/2 days rafting into the canyon, an overnight at Phantom and then hiking out on the Bright Angel Trail. Obviously this trip is special by any measure but more so because in Sept. of 2006 I had bilateral hip replacement. I am feeling better and stronger than I have in years and have my Doc's blessings. My 2007 physical goal was race walking a 10K that I used to run back in the day - Got thru that with no problem and energy to spare. I have been researching a lot of training material and reading as many of these types of posts as possible to prepare as I know my upfront prep. will be the difference between an amazing journey or an agonizing one!

    I am breaking in wonderful hiking boots and am starting to practice with the trekking poles. As all my "stuff" from the rafting portion will be hauled out via duffel service I will be using a Camel Bak hydration daypack with just enough room for the day's necessities. Of course, one of my items will be a camera with LOTS of memory to record my journey!

    Does anyone have any additional tips and/or suggestions for me as I move closer and closer to June.

    Thanks in advance for any and all information :)

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Jim MacDonald wrote: "At what point do we hold people culpable who do what they do even though they hate it? Isn't it a horribly cynical world where we will have to depend on lawyers to make things right? And, then, will it? What's really changed? I think all it does is change the playing field, but it's still the same game."

    It seems to me, Jim, that we do not hold culpable the Yellowstone personnel in the field; rather we hold culpable their superiors that signed onto the IBMP.

    Again, the subject of the photograph at the top of this page is despicable.

    I don't think it's a "horribly cynical world where we will have to depend on lawyers to make things right." Our court system is not perfect, but it's among the best in the world. You can be cynical or you can be realistic or you can be realistically cynical.


    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own

  • National Parks Conservation Association: Interior Buckled to NRA Over Park Gun Laws   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Our national parks have many visitors, some of them families, some of them illegals (armed) and growing their drug crops, some of them human predators looking for weak victims.

    Our world is a dangerous place due to many factors; whether or not to arm ourselves is an individual decision; where to exercise this decision , and under what circumstances to do so, is a matter of judgement left to the individual by our constitution.

    The armed person may, or, may not be a threat to his fellow man; that depends upon many factors; the armed person is a threat to those he believes have harmful intent towards him, or, others; the armed and un-lawful person is a universal threat and a predator upon weaker citizens.

    The arguement could be made that the odds of being attacked in our national parks, and needing a gun for defence are so large that there is no chance on average of this happening.

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Sorry for the delay Jim in responding to your well versed response to my comments, my head was spinning for several days. I just have to revisit my original thoughts about the beef industry being responsible and the park service being caught in the middle of it all. I'd like to ask you a few questions. In your opinion why did the park service begin killing bison? Why exactly in your opinion, did they decide this was to be their new mandate? What reason did they give for changing their management practice concerning shipping bison to harvest. I can't help but wonder why it's up to the park service to stop their practices but you say it's ok for the USDA to not change theirs just because their principles have been set in stone for decades, and therefore are resistant to pressure from outside sources pushing for change. I'm a bit confused. You let the USDA and Livestock Dept. off the hook when they are the ones I think putting pressure on the park to keep beef brucelosis free. I admit you lost me in your poetic, epic responses, but after all the words the basic questions remain. Who started it? Did the park service suddenly start worrying that wandering bison were going to taint the beef herds? Did they make the first move? Or did someone somewhere else start making noise about their beef herds being tainted by sick bison. Ok so I'm being slightly sarcastic and simple here but I think you get my drift. It all had to start somewhere and I doubt it STARTED in the back offices of YNP or NPS. So the source of the beginning of it all is responsible. Period. I think I can remember back when this all started and the first thing I saw were articles in the paper about the beef industry complaining about sick bison, and "what is the park service going to do to keep their wildlife away from our beef so we won't lose millions of dollars worth of livestock..." No that's not a direct quote, more like a summary in my own words of the general theme of all those articles. Why can't we just hold responsible parties accountable...period? I have to admit, I looked at the BFC with humor when I saw them parked in front of tower falls many years ago, sitting with their posters and speeches and props. I wondered what they thought they would accomplish that day, and wondered if they were getting tired of people walking by them and not paying them any attention. What do they accomplish by holding court in the park they are attacking, trying to talk to a public that just wants to see an elk or moose or bear or waterfall? What do these transient tourists have to offer the BFC in terms of any power to change anything? This is why I think BFC will have greater success camping out in the halls of beefdom. I have to agree with some of our other responders who think it'll take legal wrangling with the likes of our retired judge to get anything done on this front. If what you say is true, and there is no way for change to occur on its own, then we need someone to step in and make the change, to make the "new law" in town. To tell the beef industry to find it's own answer for brucelosis, and tell the park service to close down the likes of the Stevens Facility and let bison be bison. Am I missing some thing? I'm sure you'll let me know if I am, and that's exactly why I love this site....

  • Rangers Association Points Out Flaws In Secretary Kempthorne's Weapons Logic   6 years 27 weeks ago

    As a retired peace officer I don't feel that my right to carry a concealed weapon should not appply to national parks

  • Rangers Association Points Out Flaws In Secretary Kempthorne's Weapons Logic   6 years 27 weeks ago

    This is a classic case of the leaders (or head idiots) just not getting it. I believe if you polled all employees and visitors (aka Citizens) as to wether they would feel safer knowing that an armed law abiding persons were allowed in the parks that a large portion would agree that is a wise idea. What I have never understood is why people put up such resistance to allowing law abiding citizens to arm themselves when criminals don't care if they are breaking the law by carrying a weapon. The criminals are going to do it anyway. I can't rely on the Park Service to protect me at all times, I shouldn't expect them to.

    The most rediculous comment however is "If you truly believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms, then that right applies to all places at all times including federal buildings, airports, schools, and any area prohibited by state law," Mr. McElveen says.

    What a dumb comment and idea. The difference is you are not protected in the wild, it is not a secure environment. All federal buildings, Courthouses etc. have Law Enforcement and Security protecting the Civilians and Employees. This mentality is exactly what brings us down as free persons and makes visiting these wonderful locations a little less safe. It is proof positive that the leaders have also never worked the front lines, have never walked a mile in the shoes of the employees and visitors, they are nieve. It's a real shame that political correctness always overshadows public safety and even more concerning their employees safety.

    Take it from someone who likes to roam the wild and works in Law Enforcement, I would rather explain myself after the fact than see God tommorow.

  • Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone National Park Draws Protest Against Park Service   6 years 27 weeks ago


    At what point do we hold people culpable who do what they do even though they hate it? Isn't it a horribly cynical world where we will have to depend on lawyers to make things right? And, then, will it? What's really changed? I think all it does is change the playing field, but it's still the same game.

    Randy O.,

    When I said that the "need for compromise" is vacuous what I was getting at is that it doesn't really say anything about the situation at hand. If you are a serial rapist, and I am the person you wish to rape, is there any way to compromise in that situation? Not from my point of view. If you are a person lacking civil rights, and a society says you must get that civil rights inch by inch compromise by compromise, is there really room for compromise if you are wrongly being treated as less than equal? On the other hand, if you want to go to the lake today, but I'd rather go to the movies, we probably can work something out. The point is that the call for compromise on the bison situation says nothing to the principles involved, whether something is right, or whether compromise really is an option.

    Secondly, on bison, no doubt it's not enough to stop managing buffalo while people keep on with the pretenses that they can manage everything else. I agree with you entirely on that. And, yet, that's exactly the human vanity that must be resisted. And, maybe you find yourself on the bright side of the world's management decisions, but others - whether they be bison, those suffering on homeless benches, dying of AIDS in Africa, dying in wars overseas, people of color, people with different sexual orientations, different genders, they are not necessarily doing so well in a world where everything is controlled and managed arbitrarily. And, as a lover of compromise, someone who wants to work with other people, it should be frustrating for you that the world has these unnecessary barriers that actually keep people from working together.

    Thanks for your concern for me getting by in Bozeman. I have had little trouble making friends here. I have no interest in telling people how they should live their lives, but being an anarchist, I'm not a relativist or a libertarian. There are some behavior that none of us should tolerate, not because it's the rule of law, but because it's the rule of reason. One of those things is the purposeless slaughter of Yellowstone bison no matter who is doing it. There are many things - in fact most things - where reason doesn't give us a guide one way or the other. One reason people aren't living as freely as they ought to be is because we have made too many compromises to those would enforce their will (call it the rule of law if you will) over others. It's hard to find actual compromise in a world so divided when it should be relatively easy. However, since we often decide to enforce intolerable boundaries, we make actual compromise and plurality and self expression impossible.

    I have no doubt that most people in the world aren't looking to break down all the hierarchies (that is, anarchy) in the world, certainly not in Bozeman. That's hardly an excuse for me not to look for those here who are willing to stand together, work together, speak together, and take action. If most of the people are okay with the barriers that separate people, that still doesn't mean it's okay.

    As for your dichotomy between dialogue and solutions, that's a false distinction. There is no solution that doesn't involve the process of discussion and interaction - the roaming around and within a topic and between people. If the solution actually is to get people on some sort of the same page, to reach consensus, that consensus is dialogue par excellence. And, dialogue and respect then is the solution. Those things that tend to break that down - those borders again - ruin dialogue and any solution to the problem. What's happening with bison in national parks - the inherent contradiction in the policy, the inherent contradiction that exists between the different groups feuding on the issue is irresolvable unless certain barriers are broken. That's a principle that goes far beyond the buffalo. And, you're right, it cannot be broken down simply by telling people it needs to be this way; in the case of the bison, it's broken down in part by making it happen, by forcing a change in behavior - i.e., direct action. But, ultimately, it's only broken down by a sincere commitment to dialogue and all that dialogue actually entails. That really is the solution, but without context, dialogue is no doubt just as vacuous as compromise.

    I'm under no delusions of having a commonplace point of view. However, your point of view ultimately is self contradictory, and I cannot go down that route.

    If we met in person, we no doubt would like each other. Trust me; this is not how I talk. I'm quite sincere and waxing a bit poetic - because it's my own perverse sense of humor - but I fit in here a lot better than you think. That's not to say that I agree with you or that what I have said isn't sincere, but it has a whiff of a bison chip to it. But, that's part of the point - we should allow that kind of world. And, we have to recognize that even the most open, pluralistic society is built on certain principles of which there cannot rationally be compromise - since compromise depends first on them being true. I honestly believe that the plight of our friends, the buffalo, are indicative of all of that.

    the vulgar talker.
    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Rangers Association Points Out Flaws In Secretary Kempthorne's Weapons Logic   6 years 27 weeks ago

    From what I have been reading on the gun issue in the national parks there seems to be a very large gap of ignorance in how our parks are used. Some guy from Utah thought I wanted a national CCW even though I had already stated there was no such thing (except for law enforcement and that is NOT always true or accepted) if he had read correctly. Federal land rules should apply no matter what state just because they are being controlled by the Federal Government. Why should a state have control over a state agency? They don't. Except in this case and it's not right.

    I don't carry a concealed weapon in any national park. You damn well better believe that some of the places I go I'm armed though. Stay away from the drug smugglers because they are NOT LEGALLY armed. They don't have to go by NPS rules. However, accidents happen and I could stumble over them.

    We're not talking Yosemite & Yellowstone for those of you reading this. I explore the back roads (legally) from California to Texas in a 4X4 and only see a ranger when I pay my entry dues. There are no back road fees unless you use an extablished campground (not off road). Can't beat it!

    FYI: I have a close friend that is retired from the Border Patrol over 15 years and 22 years service and his advice to me was to move 90 degrees away from drug or human smugglers (same in most cases). They are better armed than me because I have to obey the law. I don't ever want to have to shoot anyone again, but I think I should have the right to come home to America and defend myself on American soil!

  • Dinosaur National Monument Cutting Paleontology Staff   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Whats your beef JTR? Do you have sort of inside information to offer? Have you been to the park? Do you know what is going on here? Do you work there? Have you worked there? Unless you have, I do not see how you can be accusing Tom of stating his mind (this is America after all). Paleo is a pretty small work, there are always personal connections, maybe you know that. So, whats your beef? what are your opinions? IF you do not have anything constructive today button your lip!