Recent comments

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Fred, I hear what you're saying regarding the rapes. Still, I would be curious to know the details and locations of those crimes.

    How many were in the D.C. metro area? How many were in the backcountry? How many were "date rapes." How many involved women hiking alone by themselves?

    Without the full details, I'm not sure we can make a complete judgment on exactly how safe the parks are...but I'd venture they're a lot safer than most parts of the country.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    Fred, your taking more of chance of being wiped out in a major car crash then the "million-to-one" chance of being a crime statistic in the National Parks.
    Personally, I think the NRA plays on the fears and minds of the common folk (and perhaps create a bit of paranoia) to enhance the profits of the gun industry...and besides it's good for business! I'm sure Fred your probably cool as a cucumber with even temperament but I wouldn't worry to much if you left your hand gun (or get rid of it for good) at home. The odds do give us some welcoming relief that the National Parks are still relatively safe to visit.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 33 weeks ago

    I like to think that I'm one of the level-headed guys you mentioned and not one of the stressed-out guys. I carry in case I encounter the one-in-a-million people who should be in that anger management class.

    I repeat myself when I mention that these instances are incredibly small. But I wonder what you would say to YOUR daughter in the emergency room if she had been one of these victims; "Gee honey, there was only 35 rape victims in 2006, so I never carry a defensive weapon when we hike the back country". Sounds pretty thin to me.

    I'm just trying to point out here that these aren't just numbers on a piece of paper. They represent people just like you and me. I just don't want to take that million-to-one chance that someone in my family might be a "number" on a piece of paper.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Snowbird06
    Fred, I just hope that your a decent soul that uses good rational judgement if you have to use your (concealed) hand gun and not someone that is hot-headed with a quick temper. I see too many border-line misfits that are terribly hot headed (with the "outa my way" attitude) visiting the National parks today and basically should be in some kind of anger management class. Stresses in are society today are at the max: the economy, the housing crises, the medical care fiasco and the phony Bush war. How we cope with these issues on a daily basis as individuals is a matter how strong are thresh-hold for stress and pain is. Let's face it, some of us aren't going to make it (or just plain loose it mentally). In my estimation carrying a concealed weapon into the National Parks is NOT a good policy considering the stress mood of this nation. The National Parks are to unload and unpack are weak and weary minds and to leave the heavy metal at home. Who needs more NRA propaganda stress to buy more guns...and more guns...and more guns!!!

  • Glen Canyon NRA Releases EA on Castle Rock Cut Deepening   6 years 33 weeks ago

    The "natural environment"?!?!?

    It's hardly a natural environment. A giant, artificial lake in the desert has nothing natural about it.

    If you want to preserve the natural environment, tear down the dam. If not, save it as a place for recreation.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Not to comment on the merits of the ethical argument regarding protection, I want to reiterate that relative to places where people live (and many are happy to live) with gun laws that are just as strict as they are in the national parks, the numbers are very small. The amount of random crime is much smaller still (though those numbers aren't reflected here), and the demographics of the crime depend on the type of park (for instance, most park units in Washington, DC are National Park Service units - you could be accosted in Dupont Circle (an area in DC with a high rate of robberies, though otherwise very popular) - nothing more than a fountain and a lawn filled with benches surrounded by a traffic circle - and it would go into these NPS stats presumably.

    In Washington, DC, a city with just under 600,000 people - (perhaps, triple or quadruple if you count the people who actually work there, but still far, far less than the visitors to NPS units),

    This is only through November 2007 (in fact, the number of homicides for instance in Washington were 181; this number does not count suicides or other forms of death in the NPS stats)

    171 homicides
    294 Sexual Assaults
    3,534 Robberies
    3,065 Assault with a Deadly Weapon
    3,500 Burglary
    Theft 6,816
    Theft from Auto 6,530
    Stolen Auto 5,534
    Arson 16

    Now, that's a per capita difference that's huge, the gun laws are similar, and yet the numbers are vastly different. Changing gun laws is a red herring argument when it comes to crime in a place. And, perhaps, also protection. On the ideology of gun laws, on protecting oneself and one's loved ones, and the means, those are interesting arguments. But, strictly on the merits of quantity of crime and a correlation to gun regulations, there simply isn't one.

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

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 33 weeks ago

    This link takes you to an article in the L.A. Times. According to the article, "The National Park Service says there were 116,588 offenses in national parks in 2006, including 11 killings, 35 rapes or attempted rapes, 61 robberies, 16 kidnappings and 261 aggravated assaults."

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-guns23feb23,0,1267373,full.story

    Maybe this is not a very large number. Maybe you don't think that this small number justifies my right to carry a concealed weapon. But, though the odds are pretty small, how would you feel about YOU or your WIFE or your DAUGHTER being one of those small numbers of victims listed here?

    I'll keep on carrying my pistol, thanks for your concern.

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 33 weeks ago

    I really like what Wildvisions had to say... I spent much of last summer out in the interior of Alaska. And sadly (from my perspective), the only place I saw a brown bear was inside Denali National Park. But I spent three months at various locations around the Alaska range, the Brooks range and all along the haul road. Alaska was FABULOUS, but much of the 'rumors' I'd heard before my trip were terribly false. I was trained to watch bear behavior and to protect myself from the larger mammals. But my pepper spray just gathered dust all summer.

    If you're that worried about bears, perhaps you need a bit more experience. I never see enough wildlife to suit me when I'm in the field. LOL

    __________________________________________________________________________________

    "To defrauded town toilers, parks in magazine articles are like pictures of bread to the hungry. I can write only hints to incite good wanderers to come to the feast.... A day in the mountains is worth a mountain of books." -- John Muir

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 33 weeks ago

    The key observation here would be that Women tend to be the victims of these crimes and as a woman who travels alone or with my college age daughter I would feel more comfortable with my gun then without. I remember the 3 women (mom, daughter and daughter's freind) who were killed outside of Yosemite a number of years ago. Had any of them had a gun they might not have been raped and killed. The article does not show how often women are victims of other violent crimes in the park that do not result in murder. Urban parks are troubling for women since the parks have easy access by criminals from the city and seeing a woman alone or a group of women sleeping in tents it an opportunity for them.

    Since we are a country set on equality we could not make a law that says just women can carry guns and not men we have to have one that covers both. I support guns being allowed in parks and maybe the violence against women may decrease.

    Marie

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 33 weeks ago

    I remember the murders in DC and a spree of muggings a couple years ago on the Mall. They eventually caught the people involved with the muggings. It was surprising for DC residents because the Mall is considered one of the safest places in a city - a small city with a huge amount of park land, that averages nearly 200 murders a year, not many of them in park units. You occasionally hear of rapists in Rock Creek Park, but even that is rare. So, in one of the most dangerous cities in the entire country, where class differences are extremely wide and racial tensions huge, parks are usually considered among the safest places to be. A few murders and muggings in park units in DC seems like nothing when you consider the sheer scope of the problem in Washington and the fact that most people I know have been mugged at some time or other.

    Interestingly, the Supreme Court may throw out DC's very strict gun laws. Most people in DC don't think that adding more guns to the streets would help the problem but only exacerbate it. When I was mugged for instance, it was by two people who did so before I could act. They would have had my gun in an instant. One reason people think that murders are actually lower than they otherwise might be is because a lot of the people who commit crimes here actually don't have guns.

    For me, it's absurd to look at violence by simply looking at people as "criminals", which is not what people are. People commit crimes, but unless they are part of organized crime, they generally aren't inborn as criminals. Crime results from a lot of factors; one reason it occurs so infrequently in the parks is because those factors don't come into play much in parks.

    On the other hand, as people know who read me, I have far larger systemic problems with the way that society is formed. I just question the premises that have produced this discussion.

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

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Dave, I'm just curious on something. You say that you are thinking of avoiding NPs and only visit national forests "where we can protect ourselves." Do you do that currently in your day-to-day life? What I mean is, do you only travel to cities or states where you are able to carry a weapon for protection? I'm not trying to incite with this comment, I'm sincerely curious. I know there are cities (like Washington, DC) which do not allow handguns, concealed or otherwise, and some states (like California) that prohibit concealed weapons. Do you apply the same standards outside the national park when you determine where you will/won't travel to?

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 33 weeks ago

    The park rangers aren't even around to catch poachers cutting down redwood trees. And we are supposed to expect them to be around to protect us from attacks from animals or drug dealers in the back country? My wife and I are thinking of avoiding national parks in the future and just patronizing the national forests where we can protect ourselves.

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Most of us agree that increased NPS funding is sorely needed. However, there are tough times and decisions ahead. The challenge for all of us is to successfully make the case that funding the science and preservation in the NPS is as important as stopping the tremendous amounts of contaminated medicines and dangerous products coming in from overseas, controlling our borders and ports, dealing with an out of control war on drugs and burgeoning prison population, declining levels of science (and almost all other kinds of) education, fighting and winning the war on terrorism, a multi-trillion dollar national debt, and a plethora of other serious issues facing our nation. Yes there is a constituency for our parks and for science in those parks. But there are equally dedicated constituencies for all those other issues. It is going to be a very hard sell.

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Anonymous#2 wrote " Fund NPS and you won't have any of these problems." While we're at it, let's also ask for peace in the Middle East and an end to world hunger. We can get an increase in funding but the NPS will never be fully funded any more than schools will be. We need real world solutions and that means that priorities have to be set.

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Pete Reser
    The point about the positions excised under the CORE proceedure is that the regulations do not permit them to be restored in the future. They're gone forever.

  • National Geographic's National Park Maps   6 years 33 weeks ago

    National Geographic is not cheap, I like use easygps, it is free, it provides a fast and easy way to create, edit, and transfer waypoints and routes between your PC and your Garmin, Magellan, or Lowrance GPS. It supports import of .LOC and .GPX files and also allows you to add waypoints manually, and import existing files.

  • National Geographic's National Park Maps   6 years 33 weeks ago

    National Geographic is not cheap, I like use easygps, it is free, it provides a fast and easy way to create, edit, and transfer waypoints and routes between your PC and your Garmin, Magellan, or Lowrance GPS. It supports import of .LOC and .GPX files and also allows you to add waypoints manually, and import existing files.

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Science has advanced so much, and there are so many sub-disciplines, that you just can't have all you need on staff. Nor can you have all the equipment, CAT Scan, scanning electron microscope, dating lab, and on and on. If you just make do with the expertise you have on staff, and don't use the best science available, you are either going to have to forgo some worthy projects or do an incomplete job. If you allow a park's science staff to fund what good science dictates, whether it's in-house or is brought in from outside, then that is good stewardship and good science. Funding challenges mean you find the best use of what funds you have, and sometimes that means taking a new approach.

  • Yellowstone National Park Announces Spring Plowing Schedule   6 years 33 weeks ago

    I saw the title and thought Interior was now opening the park to farming. Not that big a jump from loaded guns.

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 33 weeks ago

    It's been changed.

    Kurt

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Yo, Anonymous - change your username! It's ridiculous that only you can now post as "Anonymous".

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Adequate funding is undeniably important, but money that comes tied to a political agenda can just mask the problems. If they give you money to spend on science and tell you have to spend it on A when what you really need is B, it's as bad as if you weren't given any at all. Each park's chief scientist should be able to use the money and the staff in whatever way benefits the resource, and not to satisfy someone's political or personal agenda.

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Point #1: Whichever goofball registered using the name "Anonymous" needs to have their NPT account deleted because no one else can leave a comment as "Anonymous" since the name belongs to a registered user.

    Point #2: This stems from the fact that NPS is severely underfunded. Fund NPS and you won't see any of these problems.

    Point #3: Thanks for another great article, Kurt :) Where you find the time to do something other than NPT is beyond me.

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 33 weeks ago

    Tom:
    FACT is, your comments are nothing more than talking points of the NPCA and other groups who give nothing to the parks but lip service (like their little Bush-bashing tents manned by misinformed college kids at park VCs before the '04 elections).
    FACT is, the parks need more good 'ol ordinary moderate-wage professional RANGERS and less overpaid scientists, because that is what the American public wants, and has been provided in the past before budget stagnation.
    Thank you, Dinosaur NP management!

  • Of Geologists, Paleontologists, And Science in the National Park System   6 years 33 weeks ago

    The Park service certainly has had an "erratic" performance on science. Budgetary constraints are a part of it and so is the agency culture. But consider how they are under intense scrutiny and immense skepticism if they try a new approach. Flexibility in using and targeting your resources to the highest priority needs can be an important tool and reap big rewards. Some want the Park Service to remain entrenched in the old way of doing things.