Recent comments

  • Free Shuttle Buses Will Make It Easier To Visit The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   6 years 30 weeks ago

    How are they going to monitor the entrance pass? With a private car it takes one pass for everyone in the vehicle. With one free Golden Eagle (or whatever they call the senior pass) everyone in the car gets in. I suppose you just show the pass and tell the driver your group is all together on one pass.

    Shuttle buses could be very convenient if they have sufficient buses for the crowds and if they have enough pick up and drop off points within the park. The shuttle bus system in Yosemite is very unpleasant because in the summer, the buses are way overcrowded.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Kurt, I’ll tell ya’ what. I’ll buy your Brady Bunch “statistics” if you believe whatever the NRA says. That’s what I thought. We're not talking specifically about the need for a concealed carry permit holder to shoot someone ("justifiable homicides" - although police shootings are part of the overall data set that the Brady site doesn't specify). Just having the gun and showing the gun to the criminal is enough in most cases to prevent the crime. The Brady numbers just skew to their viewpoint and play to emotions.

    When I do my research I let my taxpayer dollars defend my point. You have to work to get the information because there’s so much out there. I can readily see not many of the posters on your site have gone through the effort. They're just passionate about preventing people from carrying a handgun.

    Some of the contributors’ snobby perceptions that national parks are Eden-like, safe, sacrosanct and, above all, exempt from Constitutional rights are delusional. To use the line of choice of anti-gunners, “…if it saves just one life” carrying a gun is worth it. Since the MINIMUM number of defensive gun uses per year determined by research done by Kates, Kleck et. al. is at least 1 million there is ample evidence the case for concealed handguns is valid. My personal decision to carry a firearm is on based on personal experience and the fact that an idiot 16-year old nearly killed me while I was riding my motorcycle.

    For those of your posters who are intellectually honest enough to do some web browsing and look for government and law enforcement-reported data, I’ve actually saved them the hours it would take to actually dig up this information. These data ought to get you started and give you a perspective on who commits the crimes (Hint: it’s the criminals against criminals) and the number of crimes committed with handguns. (Hint: way less than you think or the Brady Bunch will tell you).

    Since I’m actually one of the guys who are responsible for the proposed regulation all of you are protesting I can tell you I’ve spoken with Dep. Ass’t Interior Secretary Lyle Laverty and have provided him with much of this data:

    FBI 2006 Homicide Stats
    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_10.html
    DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics
    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_10.html
    Natinal Vital Statistcs Reports: Deaths – Final Data for 2005 Search for “Firearm” Tables 18-20
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr56/nvsr56_10.pdf
    PA State Police handgun permit and handgun sales data 2003. Play around with the year in the URL and you may be able to get other data sets
    http://www.psp.state.pa.us/psp/lib/psp/2003_County_Records.pdf

    I’m always amazed at how lazy some of the more vitriolic anti-gun people are when it comes to [attempting to] defend their loony gun-hater claims. There are 38 right-to-carry states that have had virtually no problems with concealed carry permit holders. Even the most resistant police officials concede they’re surprised at how the transition has gone. I never see any anti-gun proponent quoting any of these statistics. They always get the “truth” from the Brady Gang or the “Ban-The Gun” group” du jour.

    None of the posters to your site has offered any data to back up some of the silly, bigoted, paranoid claims about concealed carry permit holders. It’s always the same old, “I’m scared!” or “They’ll shoot Bambi” or “They’ll shoot my favorite tree!” or just, “Those macho gun nuts.”

    The anti-gun bigots (yes, in many cases they are the genuine article) continue to blather about emotions and feelings and sensitivities without mention of victims who may have been able to defend themselves. Not surprisingly, no one in this forum complains about the actual criminals who commit the crimes! Someone - not me! -wrote very recently (don’t remember where I heard it but it was facetious) that since 90% of Philadelphia shooting victims are black – and many are criminals themselves - and 99% of the shooters are blacks with criminal records if we just isolate that demographic Philly’s gun problem would go away. Rendell unfortunately wouldn’t go away and would simply continue to pander to his gun-hating constituency.

    Does any poster here have verifiable proof that a person with a concealed carry permit actually committed a crime in a national park with their handgun? Basically, put up or shut up. The Interior Department couldn’t prove it either. Thank you Karen Taylor-Goodrich for your dedicated years of steadfast stonewalling and deception.

    I’ve told this story to many legislators now. My wife and I frequently visit Shenandoah National Park. We spend money, we hike. Heck we got engaged there. My wife jogs on the trails. A lot. Back in 1996 we heard people everywhere muttering about a murder. Turns out two women were brutally murdered on the same trail my wife jogs on and that we both hike on near Skyland. Yeah, Mr. Park Ranger, tell me again how safe the parks are? Murders and crimes happen. Especially in gun-free- victim zones. If you are the statistic of the day IT DOES matter.

    In all the years I’ve spent hiking the trails in Shenandoah I’ve yet to see ONE ranger more than a hundred yards or so out on a trail. I’m sure it must be different in the majestic parks out west. I just haven’t gotten there yet.

    You know what? I don’t care if folks here don’t like guns. I don’t care if they have a seething, visceral hatred of guns. I just don’t care about those opinions. I do care when they lie or distort in order to advance their attempts to deny my Constitutional right to defend my life. I will defend my rights with the truth. And I will prevail. Not a threat, just the truth.

    Editor's note: A sentence of this comment was deleted for being off-color and off point.

  • National Park Quiz 3: Bridges   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Only 8 out of 10 - I'm not so good with my New York City bridges or my mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway!

  • Kings Canyon National Park   6 years 30 weeks ago

    The more I browse here the more I get the insatiable bug to see it for myself. I thought the shot was excellent.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 30 weeks ago

    tim wrote: Almost no Russian civilians own firearms [...]

    Correction: almost no Russian civilians own firearms legally. With the various brush-fire wars that accompanied the break-up of the former Soviet Union, there are plenty of illegal firearms knocking around the Russian Federation (not to mention the other former Soviet republics), especially in more unstable areas like the northern Caucasus.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 30 weeks ago

    If you can get them to ask the wrong questions...

    Why does a government who, has people in charge of nuclear weapons and armies supplied with tanks and missiles and all other sort of very expensive weaponry, have any moral right to deny my right to a hand gun.

    You know what tyranny is, it's when some people claim the right to use violence to disarm other people.

    The gun debate isn't about crime, it's about property rights. The first property is my body which includes my life. I have the right to protect my property. I don't ask politicians for permission to have rights which are innate. That's the mentality of a slave.

    Be it a bear, or a crazy criminal, or a disgruntled woodchuck, I have the right to self defense. Not because some politician say I have it, but because it is a fundamental human right. To deny me that right is to forfeit all other rights. Banning guns is not pragmatically effective, but that argument hasn't 't worked. I propose we call it what it is, it is hypocritical to ban guns, and then enforce that ban with men who are armed with... yes guns. If guns are "bad" then they are bad for everyone, if they are not bad they are not bad for everyone. You can't just invent random moral categories based on your own personal bigotries... well you can , but your wrong.

    A person traveling in the back country unarmed is as irresponsible as a person traveling in the back country with out proper clothing.

    If you don't feel like you can trust yourself with your own protection in the form of a gun, then don't carry one. I respect your right to not carry a gun and I would never suggest forcing you to carry one. But no one has the right to deny me the right to defend my life.

    All that any law really is, is an opinion with a gun.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Comparisons of the United States to other countries in terms of "gun crime" or "gun violence" serve only one purpose, and that's to obscure the issue. Gun control measures are never sold to the public on the premise that they will only reduce "gun crime," the claim is that they will reduce violent crime overall. If gun control measures lead to fewer people being shot, but stabbings, beatings, stranglings, etc. increase to the point that the violent crime rate doesn't actually change (a process known as "method substitution"), you haven't made anyone any safer. Because of this, groups like the Brady Campaign and the VPC almost invariably employ "bait and switch" tactics, where they claim prior to its implementation that a gun control measure will reduce overall violent crime, and revert to waffling about reductions in "gun violence" to cover up the fact that the reduction in violent crime subsequently failed to occur due to method substitution. Apparently, the Bradys, the VPC cum suis think it's worse to die by shooting than by beating, stabbing, strangling, etc.

    The fact is that, aside from the homicide rate, the United States is not a particularly violent country. The 2000 International Crime Victims Survey studied 17 industrialized countries; in victimization levels for "selected contact crimes" (robbery, sexual assault, and assault with force; see figure 5 on page 33 of this document) the United States came fifth last. The victimization rates in the UK and Canada were almost double those of the United States.

    The US does have a remarkably high homicide rate compared to western European countries (though not compared to any country in the former Soviet Union, including those that are now members of the European Union), but it's overly simplistic to blame this on availablility of firearms alone. The American non-gun homicide rate is higher than Japan's overall homcide rate, for example, so even if you could eradicate all gun homcides and no method substitution occurred, Americans would still kill each other more often than the Japanese. Clearly, there are other factors at work here than firearm availability alone.

    That Observer article is an prime example of lazy reporting. The writer pretty much parrots the standard list of talking points put out by the Brady Bunch and the VPC without any effort to cast a skeptical eye over their claims. Included in the "almost eight people aged under 19 [who] are shot dead in America every day" are teenage members of inner-city gangs killed in turf wars and the like. There are indeed some 16,000 gun suicides in the United states every year, and indeed guns are the leading method of suicide in the US, but the American suicide rate is lower than that of many countries that have tighter gun laws. According to the most recent data available from the WHO, the Japanese suicide rate (24.0 per 100,000 in 2004) is more than double the American one (11.0 in 2002), in spite of Japanese gun laws being some of the most stringent in the world. Most of Europe has a higher suicide rate than the US, tighter gun laws notwithstanding. Evidently, people intent on suicide will find a way.

    The "22 times as likely" figure comes from a study by Arthur Kellermann, who has produced a series of studies all of which indicate that privately owned firearms are supposedly a public health hazard. Kellermann first gained attention with a similar study that purported to show that a gun kept for self-defense was 43 times as likely to be used to kill a household member than an intruder. After Kellemann's methodology was thoroughly shredded by various criminologists and statisticians, he insulated his subsequent studies from critique by refusing to make his research data available to anyone. In other words, nobody has been able to find fault with his "22 times as likely" finding because he hasn't let them look. However, this is scientifically unsound behavior. The key to demonstrating research to be scientifically sound is replicability; other researchers, applying the same protocol, have to produce similar findings. At the very least, a study has to be reviewed by other scientists to weed out any obvious faults in the methodology and interpretation of the data.

    As for the Observer article presenting "a disturbing portrait of how others see us," I'll say this: I'm Dutch by birth (American by naturalization) and I've spent a fair chunk of my life living in the UK and alongside British elsewhere, and been exposed to British print and broadcast media. In my experience, the British as a collective have never gotten over the fact that they no longer "top nation," and resent the United States for having stepped up to that spot. As a result, no British media outlet will ever pass up an opportunity to get in a dig at the United States, especially when it draws away attention from the British' own shortcomings. In spite of their stringent gun control laws, violent crime has risen dramatically in the past twelve years, including gun crime, but rather than admit that maybe theyve taken the wrong approach, they console themselves that it's so much worse in the US (which actually it's not, see the point regarding violent crime rates I made earlier).

    You know what's remarkable about the number the number of guns (and gun owners) in the US? That given how many of them there are, so very few of them are misused. According to the 2000 Census, there 105,480,101 households in America. Between 35 and 50% of these are estimated to contain one or more firearms, so that lower end of the estimate that's ~37 million gun-owning households. At the rate of gun deaths of 2004, it would take over 1,250 years for one person from each current firearm-owning household to fatally shoot someone; it would take over 3,000 years for each of those those people to fatally shoot someone other than themselves. Kind of creates an interesting perspective on how greatly at risk you are from your gun-owning fellow citizens, doesn't it?

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 30 weeks ago

    I'd certainly be delighted to....

  • Most, But Not All, Of Olympic National Park Within Reach For Memorial Day Weekend   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Kurt, thanks for the update. I love jogging and hiking in the park. I grew up in Alaska running in the woods, and this is the best of the Creator, right here outside Port Angeles. Appreciate the info.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Q) You know the more common name for a "well armed society"?

    A) A war zone

    If that's your idea of a "safer" society, God help us all. EVERYBODY loses those battles.

  • Kings Canyon National Park   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Yikes, that guy is a bit grumpy. It is a beautiful shot. I can't wait to see this park. One of the best things about this site is the ability to share pictures, thoughts, ideas, etc. regarding our one common bond, a love for our National Parks. As an amateur photographer but seasoned hiker, I'm glad to have found a site like this on which people's experiences run the gamut. It is wonderful to get a multitude of views of so many beautiful places. --Dorothy

  • Free Shuttle Buses Will Make It Easier To Visit The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   6 years 30 weeks ago

    That's great and reminds me of the buses to Zion. No more fighting for a room in Grand Canyon itself 6 months in advance. However, is there going to be a special bus lane? The line waiting to get in can get pretty jammed during the summer. The only thing worse than waiting in a traffic jam would be waiting in a bus in a traffic jam.

  • Violent Deaths in the National Parks   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Frank wrote: This is all meaningless. What is really telling is the quote from Anonymous above, "You have to go out seven decimal places on a calculator to determine what percentage of Park visitors got killed in 2007."

    Actually, it's not telling at all, not in the least place because neither Anon nor you cited any kind of figures to provide a frame of reference. You mention Los Angeles as a comparatively dangerous place, so let's look at that.

    In 2006, 1,012 reported homicides occurred in Los Angeles County; the California state government's population bureau estimated the resident population of the county to be ~10.3 million as of 01-Jan-2007. Going by these figures alone, you would (to paraphrase Anonymous) "have to go out four decimal places on a calculator to determine what percentage of Los Angeles County residents got killed [i.e. were victims of homicide on Park grounds] in 2006." But that's not a fair comparison, because we're only looking at the resident population, and not counting visitors to LA County. According to LA Inc., there were 25.4 million "overnight visitors" to LA County in 2006. If you add up the residents and the "overnight visitors," you "have to go out five decimal places."

    However, LA Inc. arrives at its number of "overnight visitors" by counting hotel stays. The figure therefore does not take into account "overnight visitors" who stayed with friends or family, and more importantly, it does not take into account residents of neighboring counties (Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino, Ventura) who visited Los Angeles County to work, shop, visit a museum, go to dinner or what have you, and then go home at the end of the day or evening. And to make an adequate comparison with "Park visitors," you almost certainly have to count that sort of visitor to LA County as well. In fact, in the case of "day trippers" from neighboring counties, you may have to count them multiple times, i.e. for every time that they set foot in LA County. Commuters in particualr wouldreally ratchet up the number of "visitors," as they would typically "visit" up to 250 times a year! See, I strongly suspect that when the NPS claims there were 273 million "visitors" to National Parks in 2006, they really mean visits; in website terms, they're counting "page hits" rather than "unique visitors." By which I mean that if a single individual visits five different National Parks in a given year (or visits one Park five times), that one visitor will counted five times in the NPS's statistics. I don't believe that the NPS has the means (nor the inclination) to gather and process the information required to differentiate between five people making one visit and one person making five visits. Think about it; 273 million people is over 90% of the US population. Sure, those visitors include non-US residents, but if we look at the LA County visitor statistics, we see that "international visitors" comprised between 1/5 and 1/6 of "overnight visitors." Even if, for the sake of the argument, we assume that 1/5 of visitors to National Parks in 2006 were non-US citizens resident outside the US, do you think it's credible that over 70% (4/5 * 90% = 72%) of the US population made one or more visits to a National Park in that year? Personally, I'd be highly surprised if that were the case.

    The long and short of it is that while one might "have to go out seven decimal places on a calculator to determine what percentage of Park visitors got killed [i.e. were victims of homicide on Park grounds] in 2006," it is not inconceivable that that same statement might be equally applicable to the entire population of residents and visitors to LA County, especially if commuters, diners, club-goers, etc. from neighboring counties are counted as a "visitor" every time they enter LA County.

    How about we try approaching the comparison from the other direction? Typically, violent crime rates are calculated by number of incidents per 100,000 head of the resident population. The LA County homicide rate for 2006, based on 1,012 reported incidents in a resident population of ~10.3 million would have been ~10.2. Problem is, the National Parks system doesn't have a resident human population, or at least, not one that bears any relationship to the number of people in the National Parks system at any given time. But at least we can make some approximation as to how many people are present, on average, in National Parks on any given day, which gives us something that resembles a resident population. Taking that 273 million visits figure and dividing it by 365, we can conclude that the average daily population of the National Parks is ~747,945. There were 9 cases of murder/manslaughter that occurred in National Parks in 2006, so (9 / 747,945) x 100,000 gives us a homcide rate per 100,000 head of the population of 1.2. That's significantly lower than the LA County homicide rate, but many rural areas of the US probably don't have significantly higher homicide rates on average (I say "on average" because in a county with a population of 50,000, say, the difference between a homicide rate of 0.0 and one of 2.0 for a given year is literally a single homicide).

  • Free Shuttle Buses Will Make It Easier To Visit The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Excellent!! I am impressed that this idea came to a reality. Disney World had it right years ago, and the park systems are finally catching up. In Walt Disney World, once you arrive and park your car, there is absolutely no need to move it again until you are checking out. Finally, I will have that same advantage for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Let's face it, parking is a NIGHTMARE on the South Rim, and I all for avoiding that stress especially if the alternative is free.

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Sabbatis, this is fascinating stuff. As I may have said already, Kurt and I have been talking about drafting a Traveler article focused on the national park name-game nonsense and the associated administrative labyrinth. You've given us some excellent fodder, and for that we're very thankful. Are you willing to critique our first draft?

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Wow! Kurt, these stats are most alarming and frightening. It will be no wonder with these hard cold facts that the NRA will distort this report to benefit the holy-then-thou gun lobby. My first encounter with a gun slaying was when I worked at the local hospital years ago as a surgical tech. The young slain peace officer was in his thirties and did leave a wife with two kids. I will never forget that blood stained blue uniform with bullets holes drilled into it. Never! Until this day, I will always swear off the NRA as an organization that glamorizes gun and bullets which places less emphasis on gun safety and more on gun sales. RicK, I definitely think Kurt's FBI facts speaks well for it's self: A better armed America is not safer.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Rick, good to see you back at the Traveler, although I'm sorry it took the gun issue to bring you back.

    That aside, if you could provide a link to your FBI data that'd be helpful. Here are some other numbers, from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:


    Gun Deaths and Injury - The United States Leads the World in Firearm Violence

    • In 2004, 29,569 people in the United States died from firearm-related deaths – 11,624
    (39%) of those were murdered; 16,750 (57%) were suicides; 649 (2.2%) were accidents;
    and in 235 (.8%) the intent was unknown. [5] In comparison, 33,651 Americans were
    killed in the Korean War and 58,193 Americans were killed in the Vietnam War.[6]

    • For every firearm fatality in the United States in 2005, there were estimated to be more
    than two non-fatal firearm injuries.[7]

    • In 2004, firearms were used to murder 56 people in Australia, 184 people in Canada, 73
    people in England and Wales, 5 people in New Zealand, and 37 people in Sweden.[8] In
    comparison, firearms were used to murder 11,624 people in the United States.[9]

    • In 2005, there were only 143 justifiable homicides by private citizens using handguns in
    the United States.[10]

    You can find the entire report here.

    One thing I find interesting in your data and the above is that, if I interpret your numbers correctly, there has been an increase in murders by roughly 2,400 from 2004 to 2006. Now, I'm not suggesting that the rise in murders is associated with law-abiding citizens with gun permits. Indeed, if you believe the Brady numbers, in 2005 just 143 justifiable homicides could be attributed to private citizens with permitted weapons, so private citizens don't seem to be that involved in gun play.

    But some might argue that arming more Americans with weapons isn't decreasing murders but is leading to more suicides, accidental deaths, and accidental shootings that didn't lead to a death. Plus, as the Brady Campaign points out, more and more youth are being killed because of our gun culture:

    Gun Violence - Young Lives Cut Short

    • In 2004, nearly 8 children and teenagers, ages 19 and under, were killed with guns
    every day.[11] (My emphasis)

    • In 2004, firearm homicide was the second-leading cause of injury death for men and
    women 10-24 years of age - second only to motor vehicle crashes.[12]

    • In 2004, firearm homicide was the leading cause of death for black males ages 15-34.[13]

    • From 1999 through 2004, an average of 916 children and teenagers took their own lives
    with guns each year.[14]

    • Each year during 1993 through 1997, an average of 1,621 murderers who had not
    reached their 18th birthdays took someone's life with a gun.[15]

    And, as Brady points out, the mere existence of a gun in the home leads to more shootings:

    Guns in the Home - A Greater Risk to Family and Friends

    • For every time a gun is used in a home in a legally-justifiable shooting there are 22
    criminal, unintentional, and suicide-related shootings.[16]

    • The presence of a gun in the home triples the risk of homicide in the home.[17]

    • The presence of a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide fivefold.[18]

    How do those numbers square with your contention that a better-armed America is a safer America? I don't doubt that there are plenty of criminals out and about with illegally obtained guns. But from the above statistics, it doesn't seem to me that the answer is simply to arm more folks.

  • While Bison Are Driven Back into Yellowstone National Park, Questions Over Management Continue   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Betty,

    Buffalo Field Campaign has a table every summer at Tower Fall where they give out information; however, it's not enough. I know of a school group that will be going in trying to advertise what's happening. Nearer to the park in Montana, we've gotten our new group, Buffalo Allies of Bozeman at http://www.buffaloallies.org, going. Obama spoke in Bozeman yesterday, and I didn't have nearly enough flyers to give out - they went flying out of my hands.

    We truly need to do more to inform visitors. Even locals seem woefully uninformed; many think this is a hunting issue (when in fact none of the groups I know about opposes bison hunting per se - what they oppose is bison hunting where there is no habitat for bison; they oppose a canned hunt on Yellowstone's border). So, there's a lot of work to do here close to Yellowstone let alone the rest of the country.

    Some in my group - including myself - are going to Gardiner tonight for a Bear Creek Council meeting. This is a grassroots group that has generally been allied with those who have supported the bad deal made with the Church Universal and Triumphant north of the park and was a recent signatory to a letter about the bison haze west of the park - with the same groups, as well as Defenders of Wildlife. While we don't think we're going to change minds necessarily on the deal, I think it's more important to develop a working relationship with a group of people living right on the park boundary - who could be leading the effort to inform the traveling public on what's been happening with Yellowstone's buffalo. Anything I can do to support them - and grassroots organizing in general - I will, even though we have strong disagreements over the deal.

    But, we'll need help keeping this in the news. It really takes the efforts of others making news about this to keep it there. If you are visiting the park and have a message for the traveling public, we can do our best to amplify that in the media. Buffalo Field Campaign cannot do it alone; they truly need others to be speaking out and informing others.

    And, Kurt, thank you for keeping this issue on your site and providing a forum for both points of view on the recent deal. By the way, we've posted the details of the deal on our Web site - see http://buffaloallies.org/node/39; it's even worse than it sounds.

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

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 30 weeks ago

    The anti-gun gang hysteria never ceases to amaze me. "We're afraid that people with permits might have guns and we won't know it!. Eeewwww!" Why don't you whine about all of the gun-carrying criminals you pass every day? For your information, since gun -banners never do the research, as of the 2006 FBI data, there were appx 14,000 non-suicide firearm deaths in the U.S. Of that number appx 7800 were committed with handguns. The trend in firearm deaths is that typically around 70% are committed as a result of criminal behavior by actual criminals who didn't bother to get a background check or permit for the stolen gun they used. Law-abiding citizens used guns more than a million times each year to stop crimes. Concealed carry permit revocation rates are typically less than 1% and usually for non-violent behavior. Except Philthadelphia which has a revocation rate of more than 10%. It's not a gun problem it's a Philthadelphia crime problem But that new $45 million sports complex sure helped take a bite out of crime, eh? Stop the anti-gun bigotry. You have absolutely no proof that citizens with concealed carry permits will change your national park experience. Except to make it safer. Yes, safer. Because criminals now might think the next person they try to rape, kill or rob might actually be able to defend themselves. Don't ell me about the park rangers because we all know when you're on a 10 mile hike you never see one ranger. People complaining about this don't have a clue what it means to have their lives threatened and being defenseless.

  • While Bison Are Driven Back into Yellowstone National Park, Questions Over Management Continue   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Please keep this issue in the news. As spring turns into summer, too many people are going to forget about this "crying shame" ! I hope some organization can keep the word out to visitors of the Yellowstone NP and nearby areas this summer. Intense pressure from the "tourists" will make a difference as it hits the almighty dollar factor !

    This situation is a national disgrace and needs to be solved once and for all, while we still have some of these magnificant wild animals left.

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Actually, Bob, the National Park Service only counts Klondike Gold Rush NHP once towards the total of 391 National Parks. I refer you to Page 3 of this PDF file for Reference:
    http://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/refdesk/classlst.pdf
    Although this Park has two superintendents, and hence, two entires in the Index, the National Park Service counts it as a single Unit. But hey, if the National Park Service can count the tiny slice of Glacier Bay around the East Alesk River as a separate "Unit" of the National Park System - why not count as a single National Park two units separated by 1,000 miles!

    Or, if we want to really confuse the NPT readers - consider the National Capital Parks, which counts as one of the National Park System's famous 391 Units. As it turns out, this "Unit" of the National Park System is sub-divided into two administrative jurisdictions with two separate superintendents, one for "National Capital Parks - East" and one for "National Mall & Memorial Parks" (the latter was formerly known as "National Capital Parks - Central".) These two superintendents, meanwhile, actually have jurisdiction over at least 15 Units of the National Park System! The superintendent for National Capital Parks-East has jurisdiction over Fort Washington Park, Greenbelt Park, and Piscataway Park which all count towards the 391 Parks total, as well as areas like Anacostia Park, Baltimore-Washington Parkway, Oxon Cove Park, and the Suitland Parkway which do not count towards the 391. At the same time, the superintendent of National Mall & Memorial Parks has jurisdiction of the FDR, Lincoln, Jefferson, Korean War Veterans, Vietnam Veterans, and World War II Memorials, as well as the Washington Monument, Constitution Gardens, Ford's Theatre NHS, and the Pennsylvania Ave NHS, all of which count towards the 391 -- and just to confuse things further, also over the "National Mall" (technically that green space between the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building), which counts separately towards the 391 too. On the other hand, the superintendent of National Mall & Memorial Parks also has jurisdiction over the DC World War I Veterans Memorial, the George Mason Memorial, the Japanese-American Memorial, and the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial - all of which don't count towards the 391. Go figure!

    It remind me of the old phrase - "the only rule is that there are no rules!" Anyhow I hope this helps....

  • Is Your Backcountry Safety Net A Personal Locator Beacon or Cell Phone?   6 years 30 weeks ago

    I just finished reading"The Last Season" , the story of Ranger Randy Morgenson's disappearance in King's Canyon N.P. If anyone would like to know just what all an SAR entails, this is a great education. Locator beacons are a great tool that can save life, time , and resources when used responsibly. But if you are the kind of slacker who would just lean on your "technology", you should realize every rescue mission endangers the lives of the people who come to save you. People, I might add, whose main jobs are probably way underpaid and not neccessarily geared toward search & rescue. As usual, people need to have that increasingly rare thing know as common sense. Be responsible for your own life.

  • Park Service Retirees Urge Interior Department to Halt American Revolution Center   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Lest we forget, Valley Forge was a state park until the Bicentennial when the state decided it was cheaper to let the federal government have it. It's surrounded by hotels, shopping centers and houses.

  • Would a Change in Gun Laws Be a Threat to National Park Bears?   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Timothy Treadwell thought very much like these anti-gunner peaceniks. Now, he is dead.
    Bears, lions and wolves are all wild animals. Not cute cuddly, warm and fuzzy pets like your cartoons and fairy tales depict.

    And then there is the recommended defensive bear encounters advise by the NPS. To, play dead or in the event of a black bear or your tent is invaded by bears, always fight back. Fight back ? With what? Fight back and pull back a stump ?
    Please. How did so many liberals ... get to be in charge of our National Park System ?

    Editor's note: This comment was edited to remove a gratuitous aspersion.

  • Is Your Backcountry Safety Net A Personal Locator Beacon or Cell Phone?   6 years 30 weeks ago

    Although I hope I never need it, I plan to carry something like a SPOT along with all my other backpacking stuff. There are just too many times when help is too far away and we must rely on ourselves and our preparation. To assume that we can "push the button" if we get into trouble is not very smart. "One-in-a-million" situations CAN occur; be prepared.