Recent comments

  • The Green Blood of the Coalition of NPS Retirees   6 years 23 weeks ago

    No, Frank, we don't like that either. I was a seasonal for 11 years, so maybe my blood isn't much bluer than yours. As to your claim that we toe the "neo-liberal agenda of the Democratic party": all we really care about are the parks and programs managed by the National Park Service.

    BTW, leaving out your reference to the anti-Second Amendment, you have pretty much described the new-conservative Republican party of the last 8 years--"bigger government, more spending, more burearcracy, ineffective publc works." I'm glad not to be associated with that crowd.

    Rick Smith

  • Green Groups Lobbying To See Rep. Grijalva Nominated For Interior Secretary   6 years 23 weeks ago

    I am as cynical as anyone when it comes to this sort of thing; however, Raul Grijalva - if selected - would be a nice step toward thawing that cynicism. He is well aware of the issues facing parks and public lands and has been nothing short of amazing on issues related to Yellowstone (nowhere near his home base).

    It would be most unfortunate if Obama chose Rep. Mike Thompson from California, who supported Bush's crazy healthy forests initiative.

    Today, Kevin Gover is being floated around (see here and here) - he's a former DOI official in the Clinton Administration, a Pawnee Indian, and current director of the National Museum of the American Indian. He seems acceptable to most of the environmentalists I've heard from today who follow this issue. I don't know anything about him personally, but I personally would be suspicious of anyone from Clinton's DOI - at least on the issues I most care about. On the other hand, as I said, I don't know. It would be very good to have a native voice in the Administration.

    I'm still hoping for Grijalva - it would give us a fighting chance on restoring sanity in public policy on issues ranging from energy exploitation in and around public lands to the ending of slaughter of buffalo in Yellowstone.

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

  • Did the Great Depression Save the Yorktown Battlefield?   6 years 23 weeks ago

    Great article, Jim!

    Far too many of the Virginia Battlefields have been lost to developement over the years, and it would have indeed been a travesty for an area as important as the Yorktown site to have been turned into a golf course, of all things.

    I can point out two very different preservation plans for battlefield sites in Henrico County, Virginia, both actually located along US Rt. 1. There is a privately owned set of earthworks that exists smack in the middle of a fairly large strip mall, near where "Brook Run" creek goes under Rt. 1. These works were part of the outermost fortifications of this city of Richmond, and saw a fair amount of action during both Kilpatricks raid and Sheridans Battle at Yellow Tavern. This site was painstakingly presevered during the entire construction process, and boasts a masonry placard, fencing, and a set of illuminated flagpoles given to the site and dedicated by the Daughters of the Confederacy. It is well a maintained, visually pleasing site, just across from a fitness center and a large grocery store.

    Just a handful of miles North of this area is the "Yellow Tavern" battlefield site, where JEB Stuart received his mortal wound. There is a monument on the spot where Stuart was shot, if you can find it amongst the urban sprawl. The battlefield itself, once owned by the Terrell family and renamed "Bleak Hill Farm" after the devestation caused by the battle, is now the site of a huge shopping mall complex. JC Penny, Macy's, etc., won that battle against preservation.

  • The Monkey Wrench Gang: Coming to a Theater Near You?   6 years 23 weeks ago

    I definitely agree with your assessment of the cast. I didn't really picture Seldom Seen as a McConaughey type but possibly Hayduke. Goodman I would think is Bishop Love. We'll see though. It's possible these "big name actors" are playing smaller roles. I wouldn't be surprised if this is a popular book among actors.

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   6 years 23 weeks ago

    It simply amazes me the influx of pro gun contributers to this blog, as well as the anti gun individuals. It appears to me the gun issue takes far more attention then it actually deserves. Admitting, this is a hot button issue that the gun lobby loves to wield and kick around (as opposed to kicking Bush's plans down the drain to drill into Utah's grand National Parks). If we can all help to divert this gun hysteria into something more meaningful and constructive in stopping Bush's rape, greed and pillage of Utah...then I think we have accomplish something holistically together stop this "drill baby drill" madness. I'm more worried about the consequences of Bush's last days in office and his destructive format to reward the oil and utility companies with easy access into the National Park boundaries, then some gun loving park visitor. In my 40 years of backpacking, camping and hiking, I never ever encounter a violent situation...except for a few bears, marmots and drunken bums. Grant you that I'm no tenderfoot at this either. However, now I might consider my fate when I see the drunken bums in action since the new gun laws allow the National Park visitors to carry them. A big mistake!

  • Delaware North are not the Villains   6 years 23 weeks ago

    As i go around the internet looking at acticles about Yosemite is is amazing to see the different views that people have about the park. It all has to do with what you want the park to be. As for me I want to camp in the valley just like I have been able to since 1975. It is obsene to me to see others who dont camp want to reshape the park into something different than it has been for the last 100 years. For years I heard about how we campers at Housekeeping were destroying the bank of the merced river. We were told that the whole camp ground must be removed to save the bank!!! Than a 100 year flood comes along and wips out a 100 times more bank than all of the humans have caused since the parks inception. So I ask you are we humans more powerful than nature? the answer is obvisous. NO!!! All the commotion was about getting rid of campers so that ELitist HIKERS and Hotel guest could have a pretter veiw. Never mind that people have camped in the valley for 100 years or more. (2 campgrounds have already been removed even though the government had given the money to the park to restore them) I now have to buy reservation on Ebay some years because I can not get through to reserve the remaining spots. Many also want to get rid of all building and roads in the valley and make into a backpackers only area. Again how elitist is that. Oh by the way Del Corp now charges $5.00 for a shower for anyone not staying in curry village up from a dollar . I was unaware of a 500% increase in the cost of living!!!!

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   6 years 23 weeks ago

    Does being "accousted" on the trail mean being hit with an acoustic guitar? Thank goodness. National parks are no place for amplification.

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   6 years 23 weeks ago

    I hope you see the compelling need to carry a dictionary with you as well as your "gun." The dictionary is bound to keep you far safer than your fear and paranoia.

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   6 years 23 weeks ago

    Kurt: “Rick, I've been wondering where you've been lurking!”

    Well life has been a bit distracting lately but I’m still around. We just got Pennsylvania’s Legislature to eliminate an illegal departmental restriction on concealed carry in state parks. For now, back to the national parks!

    To put things into some historical perspective, Article 1 Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution reads, “ The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.” That’s clear and unambiguous. This Article was used as a model for the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The recent Heller Supreme Court decision finally codified what we have been saying all along (and that more than 40 other Supreme Court cases acknowledged), that the Second Amendment guarantees and INDIVIDUAL right to keep and bear arms. None of this silly “national guard” only stuff. The majority of states long ago legislated that to extend beyond just the home and to include concealed carry.

    Quasi intellectuals are always quick to dismiss this concept as macho silliness and revile anyone who espouses the inherent value of self-reliance and of an armed citizenry. To them anyone who carries a gun is merely a Dodge City Neanderthal.

    The truth is these quasi intellectuals are the ones with the inherently flawed argument: “I don’t need to carry a gun, that’s why the police are there.” The problem for them is the police are under no legal obligation to protect anyone and it’s so arrogant and self-aggrandizing to assume that someone should risk their life to save yours when you refuse to assume responsibility for your own safety.

    The Kumbaya Krowd are in major denial when it comes to the Real World ™. Simply being kind and loving to people and propounding peacnik niceties doesn’t do you a whit of good when the feces hit the rotating ventilation system. Evil exists and evil will persist regardless of your lame attempts to wish it away. You have something and someone else will want it and they will take it.

    A well-known firearms trainer named Col. Jeff Cooper devised a “coding” system to assist those individuals who did take responsibility for their own safety. The system started at Code White and progressed though Code Red. See where your situational awareness fits in:

    White - Relaxed, unaware, and unprepared. If attacked in this state the only thing that may save you is the inadequacy and ineptitude of your attacker. When confronted by something nasty your reaction will probably be, "Oh my God! This can't be happening to me."

    Yellow - Relaxed alertness. No specific threat situation. Your mindset is that "today could be the day I may have to defend myself." There is no specific threat but you are aware that the world is an unfriendly place and that you are prepared to do something if necessary. You use your eyes and ears, and your carriage says "I am alert." You don't have to be armed in this state but if you are armed you must be in yellow. When confronted by something nasty your reaction will probably be, "I thought this might happen some day." You can live in this state indefinitely.

    Orange - Specific alert. Something not quite right has gotten your attention and you shift your primary focus to that thing. Something is "wrong" with a person or object. Something may happen. Your mindset is that "I may have to shoot that person." Your pistol is usually holstered in this state. You can maintain this state for several hours with ease, or a day or so with effort.

    Red - Fight trigger. This is your mental trigger. "If that person does "x" I will shoot them." Your pistol may, but not necessarily, be in your hand.

    The Kumbaya Krowd is constantly operating under Code White because their view of the world is that everyone will be nice to them because they’re so polite themselves. This is how you get into dangerous situations.

    But if we’re in one of those Gardens of Eden we call national parks we certainly won’t face danger, right? Of course not. That’s why we have park rangers. They’ll protect us. If there are crimes they only happen to people who weren’t nice to someone. This thinking is also how you become part of that 1.65 in 100,000 violent crime victims.

    Kurt: “… The outgoing Bush administration might think it doesn't need that 60-day window, as it doesn't believe there's a $100 million impact related to this decision and so 30 days notice is good enough.”

    That there would be a hundred million dollar impact as a result of this regulation I think is absurd. How can you conclude that allowing someone to possess something across the street in a park can actually cost something? This hasn’t happened in 40 states that enacted right-to-carry laws – outside of or across the street from parks – and it simply doesn’t compute here. If anything it will cost the parks less because there will be less crime. That’s been proven. So there will actually be a net benefit to the park system instead of your imaginary cost. Or are you implying Interior will invest a hundred million in some form of security measures to defend against those crazed hoards of Second Amendment wackos? That’s crazy.

    Kurt: “What might prove more important, though, and what the park advocates might concentrate on, is suing on the grounds that Interior didn't follow NEPA in promulgating this rule. If they do, and they're successful, the rule will very likely die a slow, withering death. Until the political power shifts once again.”

    Let Obama try to overturn it. Talk about the feces hitting the rotating ventilation device. That’d be the dumbest thing he could do out of the gate. He’s tried to position himself through his campaign as a “friend” of the Second Amendment. Everyone knows he’s a gun-grabber from the get-go and never saw a gun ban he didn’t like. When he starts that putrid talk about “supporting sportsmen’s rights” and claiming to acknowledge Second Amendment individual rights you might as well put an Elmer Fud hat on him for a photo-op. He’s as disingenuous as the Brady Bunch or any of the current top Democrat leadership. You think gun sales are up now? Wait ‘til he signals he’s interested in gun control legislation fed to him by his Demo cronies.

    Kurt: “I think relying simply on what DOI's legal staff has concluded is a waste of time.”

    Ehhhhhh, Idunno, Kurt. we’ll see.

    Kurt: “ As for the Heller decision, correct me if I'm wrong (as I know you will), but didn't that opinion hold that the 2nd amendment most definitely applies to you in your home, but the federal government has the right to institute reasonable controls elsewhere in society?”

    And the Feds can sometimes giveth what was taken away, as in this situation, where a federal department has acknowledged that States’ rights should prevail and our Second Amendment rights should not be abrogated by excessively restrictive bureaucratic regulations, such as 36CFR2.4, within an artificial bureaucratic boundary. This amendment simply restores what the Reagan administration took from us.

    Kurt: “As for how the bulk of the comments came down, my information is from NPCA”

    I’d still like to see real data, please, from the government - not opinions from some “advocacy groups.” I really don’t care what these law enforcement types say. They already have a gun. It’s good to be the king. It’s easy for them to say I’m safe and I don’t need a gun to protect myself because there’s a ranger on duty covering 100,000 acres who can “enforce the law.” Where are these guys, anyway, when I’m our in the middle of nowhere? They’re eating donuts somewhere, writing tickets or putting on displays for the day-tripping tourists. I was at Shenandoah in October and we hiked over the course of three days. I didn’t see one cop in the woods except those on roadside asset re-allocation details. To be fair, there are many rangers – and law enforcement in general - who DO understand the problem and have written here in support of the change. These are the men and women who DO have a clue, unlike some middle manager just interested in keeping his job. I’ve been Karen Taylor-Goodriched for years and I’m soooo over that!

    Kurt: “And really, is this a personal safety issue? As noted above, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report…there were 1.65 violent crimes per 100,000 national park visitors in 2006. 1.65, Rick.”

    That sure sounds pretty low, Kurt, but when you get whacked on the head and your wife or girlfriend gets raped and has a love child to the rapist you can console her with: “Gee honey, the good news is you were just 1.65 out of a hundred thousand! Maybe you shoulda bought a lottery ticket today, too!” Yes, it is a personal safety issue. I prefer to assume responsibility for my safety and refuse to allow a bureaucrat to claim I’m safe while at the same time not be held legally responsible for protecting my life.

    Kurt: “Some perspective. The U.S. murder rate is 5.9 per 100,000?“

    Bogus comparison, Kurt. You’re just picking numbers and not factoring in other national, cultural, legal and demographic criteria. Some additional perspective I’ve posted before: criminals commit the crimes and will continue to do so regardless of how pretty your park is. Concealed carry permit holders prevent crimes and save lives.

    The essence of the complaints of the anti gun crowd here is “we don’t like guns because they scare us and we don’t think you need them, therefore we don’t want you to have them because we know what’s best...” There’s a professor at the university where I work who’s admitted in writing he’s terrified to walk outside knowing there are citizens with concealed handguns. Is he kidding me? Well, probably not. He’s the typical nanny-state liberal and he sounds like what I’ve read in a number of posts here. He isn’t yammering about all of the criminals committing crimes – no, they’re the victims in his eyes. He’s yammering about law-abiding citizens exercising their Constitutional rights. Pfffffft.

    This entire pseudo Nostradamus-like anti-gun crusade has been repeated ad nauseam 40 times in 40 states with areas of greater population densities than in parks – meaning, essentially, more potential target-rich environments or greater potential likelihood of confrontations. You know, cars passing and guns blazing. If there was any credence to the gun-haters’ prognostications we would have seen the much heralded “Dodge City” or “blood running in the streets” or “cowboys going gun-crazy” and the ensuing skyrocketing crime rates long ago. None of that happened any of the 40 times in 40 states and crime rates, in fact, went down because permit holders are trustworthy. And because the CRIMINALS knew their next victim might shoot them. Oooops! So much for that argument (but, hey, we’ll continue to beat a dead hysteria).

    Concealed carry permit holders won’t be bothering the fine, polite, upstanding, nature-loving, pristine-sanctuary-enjoying park visitors and hikers because they’re too oblivious to know which concealed carry permit holding visitor is carrying a firearm. Permit holders won’t be “brandishing” their little phallic toys. They won’t be out blasting and poaching Bambis or shooting up signs for target practice. They’re just assuming responsibility for the own safety and not dumping that responsibility on some law enforcement person who has a family to go home to.

    So, basiclly, RTFAQ: that sums it your complaints relatively well. Continue to be nice to everyone, as you have been doing. Enjoy your “pristine sanctuary” parks. Just know someday someone you meet may not be very nice to you. What will you do if you’re that “only” 1.65 out of 100,000 and the police aren’t there to “protect and serve”? It really is a personal safety issue. You can be safe or you can believe someone else might ensure your safety.

  • The Green Blood of the Coalition of NPS Retirees   6 years 24 weeks ago

    This should really be titled the "The Blue Blood of the CNPSR" since the organization pretty much toes the neo-Lilberal agenda of the Democratic Party: Bigger government, more spending, more bureaucracy, anti-Second Amendment, ineffective "public" works, etc.

    They don’t like it when the Park Service’s senior managers are ignored or bullied.

    Do they like it when the Park Service's seasonal employees are ignored or bullied by the aforementioned senior managers? I apologize for my tone, but this article strikes me as interest group propaganda.

  • At 55 and Counting, Wright Brothers National Memorial Enjoys Its Monumental Facelift   6 years 24 weeks ago

    Copy of the NPS Press Release detailing the 105th Anniversary Celebration Itinerary:

    (Wish I could make it for the flyovers alone. There's some really cool aircraft in that lineup!)


    National Park Service News Release
    Release Date: December 8, 2008
    Contact: Wright Brothers National Memorial
    Phone: (252) 441-7430

    Wright Brothers’ First Flight Achievement to be Celebrated on December 17
    105th Anniversary Event Scheduled at Wright Brothers National Memorial

    On Wednesday, December 17, 2008 the First Flight Society and the National Park Service will continue the tradition of honoring the accomplishments of Wilbur and Orville Wright at the 105th anniversary celebration of the first heavier-than-air powered flight. The event will take place at Wright Brothers National Memorial; park entrance fees will be waived for the day.

    The observance will launch at 8:30 a.m. with a short wreath-laying ceremony at the exact spot where the famous first flight occurred. In this event, the Wright brothers and the witnesses of the first flight will be honored by the National Park Service and the descendents of the witnesses. This program segment will start at the Wright Brothers Visitor Center.

    The formal program begins at 9 a.m. in the First Flight Pavilion, preceded with a patriotic musical prelude by the Northeastern High School Band from Elizabeth City, NC. Nags Head and First Flight Elementary School students participating in the Wright Flight academic achievement program will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Dr. Tom Crouch, Senior Curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will introduce this year’s distinguished guest speaker - James May, President and COE of the Air Transport Association. Mr. May will provide a tribute to Herb Kelleher, the 2008 Paul E. Garber Shrine Inductee. Mr. Kelleher is the founder and former chairman and CEO of Southwest Airlines. For the past 11 years Fortune Magazine has listed Southwest Airlines as number five among America’s top ten most admired corporations.

    The annual aircraft fly-by will commence at 10:35 a.m. - the documented exact moment of the Wrights’ first flight. The military fly-by tribute is scheduled to include: F-18 Hornets from the U.S. Navy Oceana Air Station; F-15E Strike Eagles from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base; V-22 Ospreys from the U.S. Marine Corp New River Air Station; Black Hawk helicopters from Fort Bragg U.S. Army Base; and C-130 Hercules and JJ-60 Jay Hawk helicopters from the U.S. Coast Guard Elizabeth City Air Station. The C-54 Candy Bomber will conclude the fly-by.

    The park’s museum exhibits and activities throughout the day will provide an atmosphere of enjoyable learning about one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. The visitor center will open at 8 a.m. Scheduled programs include: Flight Room Talk at 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.; First Flight Tour at 1 p.m.; Wright Flight, a kite-building program for children, at 11 a.m. Children are also invited to participate in the park’s Junior Ranger program. The Wright Monument will be open for climbing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    For more information, call the National Park Service at (252) 441-7430.


  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   6 years 24 weeks ago

    I find all these responses very biased and so off the point it is unbelieveable. The point is, if the state in which the national land is located has concealed weapon law(s) then state law applies. Why then can't someone who is legally licensed to carry a weapon in a car, in an RV, walking on the street, having a picnic in a local or state park not be permitted to carry a gun in a Nationall Park? If states believe a citizen can legally carry a gun on state property then why all the uproar about carrying a a gun in a National Park? If a state feels concealed gun laws are inappropriate then they can change them.

    For all you who are against guns, gun ownership, and a fear that everyone now entering a National Park are at a significantly higher risk of being killed or maimed get a life! Better yet, don't go the parks and that will make more room for us who do not have the fear that you do. I can now see a new money making scheme for the National Parks...they can sell life/accident insurance for those who fear for their lives when entering a National Park!

    By the way...this is the same policy that has been followed by the BLM and USFS and things seem to be going well there.

  • The Green Blood of the Coalition of NPS Retirees   6 years 24 weeks ago

    These silly retorts to the excellent article by Rick Smith have been refuted many times, with facts, on this website before.

    No one who has seen the way the NRA works on Capitol Hill believes the NRA is not a political organization. An extreme, but very effective organization. Friends and foes of the NRA alike have marveled that some of the most effective and coersive legislative practices including those practices effectively manipulating its constituency, were invented and refined by the NRA, and those practices have become models of destructive political behavior far and wide. It is not an accident that the pressure to put this ridiculous concealed weapons thing in effect was aimed at and went into effect in an election year. No one who maintains anything different is a straightforward observer.

    It is ridiculous to maintain the Second Amendment requires concealed carry, if the same regulations can also exclude places like government buildings. If assembled guns can be excluded in government buildings, they can by the same logic be excluded in parks.

    Maintaining, as some of these silly responders to Mr. Smith do, that "law abiding" weapon-packers does not complicate the job of enforcing the law against bad actors or reckless people demonstrates a failure to understand practical issues of law enforcement, and the difficult standard now imposed on the park rangers. Previously, you had probable cause to question or search any individual who was discovered to be carrying a concealed weapon. Now, it is unlikely you would pursue or even monitor a suspected carrier of concealed weapons. That means in fact that more damage to wildlife will occur. Rationalizing this as for the safety of the weapons carrier is the silliest argument of all.

    The mainstream of the United States wants the parks protected to a high degree. The mainstream of the United States trusts park rangers like Mr. Smith. The mainstream believes, when rangers say a standard of protection is required for a National Park, that it is required. The constant nonsense by NRA advocates to the contrary does not alter this.

    There was a time, in my lifetime, when the NRA was a respectable organization, not a political organization, dedicated to wildlife habitat and safe hunting. In those days, the people in the NRA were allies with environmental groups and big supporters of law enforcement officials. Now, it is an organization who's staff needs to make politicians jump before elections to demonstrate to the dues-paying membership that this staff should keep getting their salaries. Clearly, the Republicans who signed the Senate petition hoped for any smokescreen to shield them from the voters anger at their disgraceful support of George Bush for 8 whole years. Politics is the only thing this weapons-in-parks thing is about.

    Thank God America still has patriotic organizations like the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees who believe in the great Traditions of the United States, rather than the crop of vicious political organizations that keep Americans divided and paranoid, only to keep their staff employed.

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   6 years 24 weeks ago

    The Natural Laws of Life? As in the Book of Genesis? As in Laws derived from personal idiosyncratic interpretation of the Bible?
    I thought we were talking about the United Sates of America, in which separation of Church and State is one of the guiding principles our society is built upon.

    Anonymous National Park Ranger:
    Thank you for your years of service. I'm glad that, in all the years I have been visiting National Parks, I personally have never encountered ANY "predator". Of course, I visit the parks in a very conscious and aware manner; doing so I feel has kept me safe, without ever feeling the need to carry any method of personal defense. And if I am to be the sudden victim of attack, I doubt there is anything I could use in defense that would have PREVENTED the attack.

    No doubt this is one of those issues that is deeply felt by most citizens. And I suspect this will remain one of those issues central to our Democracy that will never be finally decided to every citizens' satisfaction. I like every poster here wishes only the best outcome of every legislative decision made by the administration.

  • Moton Field Ceremony Highlights Grand Opening of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site   6 years 24 weeks ago

    There is a lot of very detailed information about Tuskegee Army Airfield at
    this site. The property is privately owned. I don’t know whether there are any plans to incorporate any element of the site into the park.

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   6 years 24 weeks ago

    I spent almost 20 years as a National Park Ranger in the Protection Division. I can not imagine going into a National Park Service Area and not having a firearm to protect myself and my family.
    I have seen too much to believe that the Rangers can always be there to protect me and mine from the predators that are in the parks, both two and four legged....
    For those who say that "Blood will Run in the Parks" it already is, just read the morning report...
    I applaud the common sense ruling by Interior

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   6 years 24 weeks ago

    How many people carry a concealed weapons permit? I can't quote that statistic but I am sure some better informed blogger than me can. That's who we are talking about. It is a very small percentage of the population. Those who illegally carry weapons into a national park will continue to do so, just as they have always done. Now, a small fraction of the population can legally carry a weapon into the park. Those with permits are not the ones assaulting park rangers. And, as quoted in Kurt's article, U.S. Park rangers are some of the most assaulted federal law enforcement officers in the country. If someone is brazen enough to assault a law enforcemnt official in a National Park, why do some of the bloggers pretend as though it couldn't happen to your average park visitor? Do you think concealed weapons permit holders are the ones assaulting park rangers?

    From all of debate, one would think we are going to see throngs of armed park visitors. Let's keep it in perspective. Those with permits are trained, conscientious individuals issued a permit for a specific reason. And, as said earlier, those carrying concealed weapons carry them because of professional responsibilities and/or due to human threat. I seriously doubt many permits have been requested to protect against bear attacks in the back country. Nor do people bother to get concealed weapon permit to randomly and malicously shoot wildlife.

    As far as the Bush administration actions go, why not now? He has a few weeks to take care of unfinished business. He needs to get some of it done.

  • The Green Blood of the Coalition of NPS Retirees   6 years 24 weeks ago

    "Once again, political leaders in the Bush administration have ignored the preferences of the American public by succumbing to political pressure, in this case generated by the National Rifle Association," said Bill Wade, president of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.
    What source does Mr. Wade use for the preferences comment? The NRA represents 4.5 million + law abiding citizens from across the US. They are not a political organization.
    "This regulation will put visitors, employees and precious resources of the National Park System at risk".
    This comment is so absurd that it must be a joke. Visitors are already at risk from robbers, rapist and gang-bangers by being unarmed and unable to defend themselves.

  • What are the Odds?!   6 years 24 weeks ago

    Bob -

    Thanks for sharing a wonderful story!

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   6 years 24 weeks ago

    Toothdoctor makes an excellent point above on the risks of relying on a handgun for defense against a bear attack - although the risk of such attacks is extremely rare. I commend toothdoctor's excellent analysis of the "wildlife threat" and a proper response.

    This point is so important to the safety of anyone visiting parks in bear country that I'll repeat below information I posted on a separate thread on Traveler on the subject of guns. (I'll ask for the indulgence of any of you who have read the other thread as well.)

    If you're really concerned about a bear attack, here are two suggestions: (1) educate yourself about proper outdoor behavior to avoid most problems with bears in the first place; (2) keep your handgun in a safe place and carry and know how to use bear pepper spray for the rare cases when defensive measures are needed.

    An excellent summary of the subject is found in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service article, "Bear Spray vs. Bullets - Which Offers Better Protection?" The full text is found at this link, but here's an excerpt:

    "When it comes to self defense against grizzly bears, the answer is not as obvious as it may seem. In fact, experienced hunters are surprised to find that despite the use of firearms against a charging bear, they were attacked and badly hurt. Evidence of human-bear encounters even suggests that shooting a bear can escalate the seriousness of an attack, while encounters where firearms are not used are less likely to result in injury or death of the human or the bear. While firearms can kill a bear, can a bullet kill quickly enough -- and can the shooter be accurate enough -- to prevent a dangerous, even fatal, attack?"

    "The question is not one of marksmanship or clear thinking in the face of a growling bear, for even a skilled marksman with steady nerves may have a slim chance of deterring a bear attack with a gun. Law enforcement agents for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have experience that supports this reality -- based on their investigations of human-bear encounters since 1992, persons encountering grizzlies and defending themselves with firearms suffer injury about 50% of the time. During the same period, persons defending themselves with pepper spray escaped injury most of the time, and those that were injured experienced shorter duration attacks and less severe injuries....a person’s chance of incurring serious injury from a charging grizzly doubles when bullets are fired versus when bear spray is used." [Emphasis added is mine.]

    "Awareness of bear behavior is the key to mitigating potential danger. Detecting signs of a bear and avoiding interaction, or understanding defensive bear behaviors, like bluff charges, are the best ways of escaping injury."

    If this rule change for guns holds up, it would be both tragic and ironic if it leads to people being killed or injured in an extremely rare bear attack, simply because they used a handgun in a situation where it is not the safe or appropriate response.

    I realize I won't change the minds of people who are concerned about all those supposed "2-legged" predators in parks, but I sincerely hope those who are determined to carry a weapon will educate themselves about the proper response to a bear attack. Those concealable handguns are not the best answer in those cases!

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   6 years 24 weeks ago

    Warren Z

    Where in what I posted above did I even slightly refer to the Second Amendment ? Or to any Law written by the hand of Man ?
    I wrote only of inherent inalienable rights granted at birth by the Natural Laws of Life.

    To a trained person the elbow or heel of the palm can be just as deadly as any fire arm made. Keep in mind there is only ONE level of dead. Shall we outlaw Elbows ? Hands ? Feet ? Knuckles ?

    I do not use or need any legal writings or hocus pocus to justify my carrying Any Means of self defense that I so chose. If I chose to defend myself with an all metal ball point pen in my hand, a Colt .45 semi-automatic pistol or with the jawbone of an Ass then that is my choice isn't it ?

    How does my choice of defense tool even touch your life at all ?
    Where did you get the idea that you have all the answers and that we should all believe the way you think is correct ?

    When did the Bill of Rights become a listing of Rights allowed by Government rather than the listing of restrictions ON Government that it was written to be ?

    I do not need the Second Amendment to hide behind. I Will defend my life as I see fit your opinions and laws notwithstanding.

    Take some Personal Responsibility, Sirrah.

  • Moton Field Ceremony Highlights Grand Opening of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site   6 years 24 weeks ago

    Congrat's on the Park-Site Grand Openning in October, it is truly a remarkable thing in today's environment. My question centers - on what will ever happen to restoring not only Moton Field back to its "primary days" but what about "the place where it really happen" in the restoration of Tuskegee Army Air Field (which I believe was about 10 miles North/Northwest of Moton Field). Restoring Moton Field is a "good first step" but until TAAF is re-claimed and restored, TAI's real history will not be able to be re-told in its true accuracy in Pres. Franklin Rosevelt & Gen Hap Arnold's "Noble Experiment" and the fame our Tuskegee Airman really deserve will only be partially told ??? !!!

    Again a great beginning but much more is required in bringing back the Tuskegee Airman to their real "former glory" by restoring not only Moton Field but the real TAI training facility at the old but not forgotten TAAF...

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   6 years 24 weeks ago

    Warren Z said, "Again I am asking: will someone that supports this new rule please tell me why they are not happy with the Bush administration for waiting until the final hour to publish this rule?"

    Actually, this rule change has been a LONG time coming, and it is LONG overdue. There has been a LOT of foot-dragging. I quote this tiny tidbit of information. Please note the date (2003):

    "Starting in 2003, NRA staff began meeting with officials at the U.S. Department of the Interior to change this regulation and allow state law to govern the carrying and transportation of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges -- as it does in national forests and on BLM lands."

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   6 years 24 weeks ago

    I do not know if this argument has already been brought up, either here or in another post, and I apologize if it has, but I fear that this policy change may result in an increased risk to the average person. I am not saying that every Park visitor is now going to be carrying a gun, but I would think it is safe to assume that the incidence is going to go up; and with that perceived increase in a sense of security, we will see an increased amount of visitors venturing into the backcountry, many of whom don't have any right being there, because of either a lack of basic backcountry knowledge or skill.

    Now before I get hammered for being some kind of rugged elitist, I want to state that I count myself in the aforementioned group of people that shouldn't be out there. I'm very 'Bear Aware', but have no practical experience, and I know my limits. But anymore it seems that I'm in the minority in that regards. I fear that people will view their firearms as a tool to keep themselves out of harms way, much like many do with their cell phones (a topic for another post), and put themselves into situations where they shouldn't have been in the first place.

    I will admit that a gun would help protect the wielder from many a small or mid-sized animal that one would happen to run afoul of while hiking/camping, due to any number of reasons. But these small or mid-sized animals don't really pose much of a threat to people. When startled, if not cornered, they will run the other way. It's the larger animals that you need to be concerned with, such as a black/brown bear or mountain lion. And since I'm talking about the average person, who would most likely not be carrying a high powered rifle or comparable weapon, but something smaller that would not pack the requisite stopping power, I feel that they will have unnecessarily put themselves in harms way. I'll let you figure out how the confrontation would end.

    All that being said, I'm as tired as the next guy of the federal government continuously interceding and limiting the number of ways that we can hurt ourselves. I grew up with way less legislative restriction and regulation and I turned out just fine. But I can't see any reason to have changed the old law in this case, of having the firearm separated and cased. If you wanted or needed your firearm, you still had it at your disposal. But that's it too. When visiting a National Park you shouldn't need a firearm to begin with. If you don't have the background, then you stay in the frontcountry and you'll be fine. If you have the know-how and venture into the backcountry, then again you should be fine.

    Maybe you will find this as too simplified view, but this is a simple world that we live in. That is until politics and political views get in the way. Or at least it should be.

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   6 years 24 weeks ago


    The Second Amendment states:
    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    militia: noun
    - a military force that is raised form the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency.
    - a military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities, typically in opposition to a regular army.
    - all able-bodied civilians eligible by law for military service.

    SO... personal arms are necessary in the event that a civilian militia is needed to SUPPLEMENT a REGULAR ARMY in an EMERGENCY,
    OR... personal arms are necessary if the INTENT is to gather and create TERRORIST opposition to an ARMY,
    OR... personal arms may be seen as a definer of the able-bodied, READY FOR MILITARY SERVICE if called,
    AND... the government needs us to use our personal Arms.

    In the framework of the Amendment itself, our right to keep and bear Arms is given IN THE EVENT that a civilian militia becomes necessary. It DOES NOT provide us the right to form our own individual one-man militias, always at the ready for any perceived threat to our own PERSONAL safety.
    Every definition of the word "militia" within the framework of the way the Second Amendment is worded relates specifically to assisting an established Army. When have you EVER in all your visits to a National Park been called upon to, on the spot, defend the State, i.e. The United States of America, against an army invading the park you are visiting at the time? For that matter, when ever in your life have you ever been called upon to use your personal Arms to, on the spot, defend your country?

    How, in any way, does the Second Amendment, and the dictionary definition of the word "militia", give us the right to carry our loaded Arms wherever we please? IT DOES NOT.
    The Second Amendment does not refer to 21st century fears of two-legged predators lurking behind every tree and boulder, waiting to give us an opportunity to defend ourselves against attacks on our PERSONAL safety. It refers to our ability to assist the established Army if called upon to do so.