Recent comments

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    re: the comment by RAH:

    As to the varying state laws I would enforce the most liberal state law.

    A law enforcement officer's job would be a lot easier if he or she decided which laws to enforce - or ignore - but that's generally considered unacceptable performance.

    I would have made CCW allowable in parks and the CCW holder has to abide by the states rules he has the CCW license from.

    I suspect many people would have some heartburn with the idea that laws from another state could override the laws of their own state. That's analogous to saying visitors to the US don't have to obey U.S. laws - just follow the laws of their home country.

    Re: Beamis and "open carry" vs. concealed carry:

    "Open carry" was tried a few years back in places with names like Tombstone and Dodge City. I don't recall from my history class that it worked out so well in terms of improving general law and order :-)

  • Climate Change: Fact or Fiction?   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Yes, Alaska's glaciers have been shrinking for the last two centuries. This year, the bad weather was good for Alaska glaciers.

    The difference in temperature between the Little Ice Age and these heady days of American expansion?

    About three or four degrees, Molnia said.

    The difference in temperature between this summer in Anchorage -- the third coldest on record -- and the norm?

    About three degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

    Does it mean anything?

    Nobody knows. Climate is constantly shifting. And even if the past year was a signal of a changing future, Molnia said, it would still take decades to make itself noticeable in Alaska's glaciers.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    "Urban professional left-leaning elites." Now there's a label. Does one size fit all?

  • What Priorities Should The Next National Park Service Director Address?   5 years 40 weeks ago

    NPS is meant to preserve the natural beauty of the parks and to enhance recreation. So I believe that snowmobile that only leaves tracks in snow that get covered or melted should be allowed and encouraged. Yellowstone could even issue permits and get some revenue during the slow period.

    The above comment about the hiker / snowshoe user bothered is just a narrow selfish idea that only he/she can enjoy the winter scenery his/her way. The snowmobile is just another way of enjoying the parks. Like horseback riding vesus hiking which are both more destructive to trails than a snowmobile.

    Money is going to be tighter so resources to maintanance should be kept up and use of volunteers would help. Even volunteer guides and interpretive trails. There are many people that would love to volunteer that are retired or otherwise free to donate their time and labor.

    The problems of increase crime from drug smuggling in the southern parks will use up resources but that should be joint with volunteer clean up and even patrols and other government (border control) resources.

    However one commenter advocated allowing the homeless to use NPS land is a bad idea. Homeless without good sanitation and their abuse of drugs and alcohol negative impact other pleasure in NPS area.

    Most places that have allowed homeless to use land has seen a massive degradation of the land with trash and sewage and many homeless are mentally disbaled and approach visitors aggresively or just weird. This makes normal visitors avoid those areaa. I do not want the National Mall to be a homeless shelter and thus have all other users shut out.

    Homeless shelters need heat, sanitation food access and even medical facilities, NPS is poorly set up to provide those needs.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Here in Tennessee I see armed citizens with weapons openly carried in holsters and leather sheaths all the time. It does not bother me nor seem to bother my fellow citizens here along the tranquil banks of the Tennessee River.

    I've seen weapons worn openly in downtown Chattanooga and along many of the trails that I hike in the forests of the Cumberland Plateau. I've never felt scared or threatened by the sight of these weapons and welcome the protection they bring to society as a whole. The police should not be the only ones who are armed.

    It seems that the discomfort with guns comes mainly from the urban professional left-leaning elites, who are the core supporters of wilderness and parks. It somehow frightens them when anyone but agents of the state are packing the heat. They need to get used to this concept because out here in the flyover country our guns are out and we feel safer knowing we can use them when we need to, which is hardly ever.

  • Echoes of the Cold War in the Tropical Warmth of Everglades National Park   5 years 40 weeks ago

    When I worked as a ranger at Everglades aeons ago, they used the "Missile Site" essentially as a dump. As a child of the Cold War, I thought it was way cool. I have photos of the structures covered with weeds, with piles of trash covering them, etc. Kinda poingnant really, "rust in peace." Still, while part of me wants it naturally restored like the rest of the "Hole in the Doughnut" area, another part of me says that while interpreting Cold War history is not Everglades' mission to America, parks cannot pick and choose what history took place within their borders.

    I'm glad to see it at least being taken care of and not used for dumping anymore and I look forward to visiting it next time I visit the incomporable and irreplaceable River of Grass.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    The is just belly aching about the NPS having to adjust to the rule. Prior to 1976 there was no problem, of course nobody opened carry in visitor centers Since this is for CCW only, NPS should presume that CCW citizens are no worse when carrying then they are when not, and treat all visitors the same, because they will not know who is and who isn’t. Most facilities should not be restricted and those that are posted should have a gun locker room like a secured coat check. Then when you go to the facility you declare your CCW and check the gun. When you leave get your gun. Not a big deal

    As to the varying state laws I would enforce the most liberal state law. So if a CCW from Idaho, who get Idaho law throughout the park and only other CCW that has reciprocity with IDAHO has the same presumption. That would encourage that laws would standardized the most liberal gun laws.

    This is just because the nanny state liberals in NPS over the last 30 years do not like citizens being armed. We really need to have the public get over this idea that a man with a gun is a criminal. Get rid of that underlying assumption and most of these problem fade.

    I do agree that The new regulation is cumberson. I would have made CCW allowable in parks and the CCW holder has to abide by the states rules he has the CCW license from. So in NH where no CCW rules there are no rules for NK residents on CCW in NPS.

    Of course DOI could make is simple and just allow CCW period, no recourse to states rules and also open carry. Just punish those who misues the gun, like vandalism or target shooting in the park etc.

    Punish the action if a gun is misused and not make the gun the focus but the shooters actions to be the focus.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    The point of conceled weapons laws originally was simply this: if you had a reason to have a weapon, you wore it openly for all to see. If you had a reason to hide your weapon, it was assumed you were up to mischief. Until the last few decades, concealing a weapon was illegal everywhere on the assumption that people who responsibly had a reason to have a weapon would wear it openly and only a crook would feel the need to hide it. That way if the police found some punk carrying, they had reason to check him out and possibly prevent some crime.

    It doesn't have anything to do with the Second Ammendment, it has to do with your right to hide your weapon. In reality, gun advoctaes know that Americans are NOT comfortable with weapons in plain sight and would not welcome folks carrying openly, as few ever did, although this is widely legal in the US. Outside of TV news, where one or two scary events are found each night from a nation of some 300 million people, there is little need for anyone to carry a concealed weapon in daily life, especially in national parks, statistically some of the safest real estate in America. Leave the guns at home and enjoy your parks without making them yet another battleground in the gun control wars.

  • Echoes of the Cold War in the Tropical Warmth of Everglades National Park   5 years 40 weeks ago

    I'll be very interested to see some feedback on the Nike base, such as visitation numbers.
    My local NPS site has a Nike base within it's boundaries, which now serves as park headquarters, as well as other facilities. Needless to say it's being put to good use.
    The history buff in me has wondered what shape an interpretive program on this Nike site would take.

    There are many NPS units that combine natural, cultural, and historical resources. Just because a park's main resource is natural shouldn't preclude interpretation of it's other resources, no matter how many similar resources exist elsewhere within the NPS.
    I give kudos to Everglades NP for shining a light on this piece of American history that so few really know about or understand. From a cultural resource standpoint this site's proximity to Cuba makes it the likeliest choice of any for this interpretive experiment. Sure it's unfortunate the base was originally located within such a fragile ecosystem, but there it stands. Why not interpret it?

    As for lack of funds for removal... well we all know there is an expense in developing an interpretive program for the site. Sure the cost of interpretation is far less than the cost of removal, but the expense is a conscious choice to interpret this resource which has been available for almost 30 years. Seen through cultural resource eyes, what a waste to have done nothing for the last 30 years to tell this story.
    Land may be a finite resource, but our history is ongoing, and new stories that need to be told will continue to appear as long as humans inhabit this land.

    For goodness sake, if Flight 93 is a story the NPS is going to tell (that site being established in record time after the unfortunate tragedy on September 11, 2001), then the NPS most certainly should get on the ball and start telling the Cold War story.
    Maybe no one will show up for the tours, and the information delivery method will be shifted to passive interpretation, such as a wayside or two. Perhaps the tours are being used as a decision maker: if no one shows up, we'll spend the money to remove it.

    But I sure hope it stays, I'd like an interactive learning experience to help me learn just how significant the Cuban Missile Crisis was in shaping national defense strategies, especially in light of the world we now live in.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Any concealed weapon carry has the responsibility to know the laws of the state(s) they are traveling through or in or suffer the consequences of being an idiot. For instance, when I travel from my home at Fort Campbell, Kentucky/Tennessee, yes I'm in the military, to my brother's home in New Jersey, I research the laws for all states I am traveling through so as not to be breaking the law. And, surprisingly enough, not all the roads I travel on are marked with a state welcome signs at the boarder and yet remarkably with the aide of this new invention called a map, (a graphic representation of the earth's surface as seen from above), or a GPS, I know what state I am in. It's amazing! My other remark would be that I guess since changing a law would be difficult we should just let the old law stand? Maybe it's the way I was brought up but I was taught not to avoid something or leave a wrong not righted simply because it would be to much trouble or difficult. I've carried concealed weapon for over 15 years. I've also walked around Iraq for more that 36 months carrying a loaded weapon everyday, all without incident. It seems to me gun apponents are grasping at any straw they can in order to defend the right to not bear arms. It' amazing that CCDW permit holders have been aloud to carry for years and years but now, all of a sudden, we are idiots and can't figure out how to carry legally in the holiest of holy state park.

    (and how do police officer's remember all those laws and which states they have reciprocal agreements with? I guess the Ranger is not as smart as a "regular" police officer)

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   5 years 40 weeks ago

    "The Bush Administration's last-minute gift to the gun lobby, allowing concealed semiautomatic weapons in national parks, jeopardizes the safety of park visitors in violation of federal law," said Mr. Helmke. "We should not be making it easier for dangerous people to carry concealed firearms in our parks."

    Seeing as people who don't have clean records can't get a concealed carry permit or legally own a firearm and that people who don't have a clean record and having a history of disregard for the law more than likely will disregard a ban on concealed carry as well who would a law banning concealed carry anywere make things safer for other than the guy who disregards the law? Who are these gun lovers? Most of these people visiting these parks are nature lovers and people who love their families likely visiting the parks with their families. I just don't understand why everyone wants to take away a non-felon's else's legal right? I mean, if you commit even so much as a misdemeanor of domestic violence you cannot lawfully own a firearm so that part is already taken care of. What in the world have I ever done to you concerning a firearm? The legal right is there? Why do you want to take it away? If someone postures, threatens, and shoots without being confronted with the danger of life or limb they lose their gun rights. Easy as that, now what do we do about the people who don't care about the law? That's a tough one. Can we do like the Brady Campaign does and file a lawsuit? If I or a family member become a victim of violence because the law was followed on our side of things and were left without the means to protection to include local law enforcement should we just sue both the state, police, and in some cases such as this the federal government?

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    This is what happens when you have too many cooks with their hands in the pot. It happens to many laws that cause federal law to bump heads with state laws. One reason why the overabundance of lawyers in this country can stay in such high income brackets.

    My husband is a retired federal agent, and as such was issued a federal firearms carry permit, good in all 50 states as well as US territories. I'm sure there will bet yet another set of rules that will apply to his particular situation.

    I never should have passed up going to law school.

  • Commentary: What Would An Economic Stimulus Package for the National Parks Buy Us?   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Honestly, agree with its value or not, Depression-era CCC projects are still standing in a lot of park sites, providing facilities for decades and decades and decades.

    By the same token Hitler's autobahns are still standing and have provided solid service to the German motoring public for decades and decades and decades. Ain't national socialism great?

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    The second Amendment is an individuals right to CCW, or for that matter open carry of a fire arm, it is the law of the land. These so called laws and impediments that require permits and registrations etc are violations of that law, simply put they can not exist while the second Amendment exists, states can not take away from individual rights, nor can any other part of the gov with out so amending the Constitution.
    I have carried for a long time. I have thank god never had to use my gun against man or beast, there have been times when I thought it could come down to it, but I have never taken it out.
    So why do I carry? Why do I carry something I have not had to use, or may never have to use? Because if I am so unfortunate as to be in a situation where it is my last choice, I have the right in that moment to make that choice. Much for the same reasons Noah built the Ark before the rains came, you can not use what you do not have.
    I find it so very odd so many people are so alarmed by guns. Guns are very simple, yet many in our society enshroud them in myth, and mystery, proclaim "guns are dangerous and no one should have one" When this same person will get behind the wheel of thier ford or chevy or BMW talk on the phone, roll slowly through stop signs...all the while operating the single most dangerous piece of equipment in the country, one with far more energy than my 44 revolver, one that when he/she, hits some one calls it an accident, when negligence is far more likely.
    Guns are tools, no different to me than the hammer or screw driver or chain saw or truck. The command respect and practice. No more, or less than any other activity. In the end they are a right, most other things in life are not. So instead of wondering if your fellow American is carrying gun, wonder if he/she might have reason to use it, to help you if your in a bad way and you have not chosen to exercise your right. Wonder how it is possible the gov of the people is so grossly over paid, and in recent history managed to vote to pay themselves for life, when they have done little to support our Constitution. Bodies that raise property taxes on retired Sr's forcing them out of their "dream" retirements...or how gov robed social security and bankrupted our that is far to depressing. Live your life right, be good and kind to those you meet in hopes they return your kindness, and be ready for what ever the day has in store for you and Im sure we will all do just fine. Guns, food, water, snacks, smiles, good boots and sense of humor can get you through any thing, and for the things they cant there is always your MC with a 29% Apr default rate....that is prime +28% right now by the way (maybe we should come down on Washington and our corrupt leaders and tell them CC companies have no right to more than Prime +5%...but that could be to good to many folks....I dont care I live on cash and have for several years..but I still hate the gangster CC companies who think they have rights...never saw them in the Constitution).

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Sounds to me like the "training" for CCL holders touted by some proponents of concealed carry failed to address good techniques for securing his "piece".

    Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good - or competent.

  • Commentary: What Would An Economic Stimulus Package for the National Parks Buy Us?   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Back on topic -- one thing I do want to point out is a lot of NPS sites are also in areas that don't have much else in the way of economic development other than tourism, and tourism does suffer during economic downturns. So rehabilitation of parks could be a good thing for those areas, help keep some people employed, help keep some hotels, restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, and the like from going under. And let's face it, most parks need a lot of work.

    Honestly, agree with its value or not, Depression-era CCC projects are still standing in a lot of park sites, providing facilities for decades and decades and decades.


    My travels through the National Park System:

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    CENTERVILLE, Utah - The man escaped with a few cuts to his arm, but the toilet made out much worse.

    Police say a man's gun fell out of its holster while he pulled up his pants after using the bathroom at a Carl's Jr. restaurant Tuesday. The gun fired when it hit the floor and shattered the commode.

    A few shards of porcelain cut the man's arm, and a woman in an adjacent restroom who was frightened by the noise reported she was having chest pain. Both people were checked at the scene and released.

    Police say they confiscated the 26-year-old man's firearm while they review the incident. The man had a concealed weapons permit. No charges are being filed.


    Rick Smith

  • Commentary: What Would An Economic Stimulus Package for the National Parks Buy Us?   5 years 40 weeks ago

    They may protest but how many will be using their own money?

  • Commentary: What Would An Economic Stimulus Package for the National Parks Buy Us?   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Come on, Bemis, how many real socialists are regular readers of NPT? And how many of us spell our country's name "Amerika"? The Pell deadbeats will protest your exaggerations.

    Rick Smith

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Actually, anonymous, the point is whether park visitors will be familiar with what state they're in and what laws apply. Is there a sign along the West Boundary Trail delineating the Wyoming-Idaho border, or one along the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone Trail to denote the Wyoming-Montana border?

    More so, under the old rule things were much simpler. Visitors could not carry guns, concealed or otherwise, in the parks, period. Visitors knew it. Rangers knew it. If a ranger saw someone with a gun, they knew that individual was up to something illegal. Under the revised regs, it's not exactly that simple any more.

    As for the laws of the state the LE is operating in, in Yellowstone's case then the rangers would have to know which other 23 states Wyoming has reciprocal agreements with on concealed carry and which 40 Montana has agreements with.

    Regardless of whether you support the change in regs, how anyone can describe the new rule as simpler than the old one is baffling.

  • University Researchers Suggest Solution To Yellowstone National Park's Bison Problem   5 years 40 weeks ago

    The war on elk and brucellosis in Montana has just started.

    Elk were just killed near Gardiner.

    This is an important and unprecedented development and a rather stupid move when it comes to building public support. Let's see these so called elk groups like Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd speak up against this; no doubt, they will be silent because they only care about killing wolves, not protecting elk. But, let's see.

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

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Surely it is not asking too much that our LE rangers know the most relevant laws for the states they are likely to operate in, and know what state they are in when in a border area? I would have thought this was standard practice. Else, how can they call for assistance in case of need? How can they assist other local LE agencies when asked?

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    And, of course, there are other parks that span multiple states: Death Valley, Great Smoky Mountains, Natchez Trail Parkway. Blue Ridge Parkway just to name four.

    Lake Meade National Recreation Area, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Dinosaur National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Gulf Islands National Seashore, St Croix National Scenic Riverway, Fort Smith National Historic Site, Harper's Ferry National Park, Delaware Water Gap NRA, Gateway National Recreation the patchwork quilt surrounding DC, Virginia, and Maryland...

    That this message didn't get out is either a failure on someone's part, or a resounding success on the NRA's part.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    Actually, Jim, Yellowstone is not a unique circumstance. Some other parks have what is colloquially called "exclusive" Federal jurisdiction (though to be technically correct each actually has partial legislative jurisdiction but let's not get hung up over terms.) A famous example being the original portions of what is now Denali National Park.

    Under the Assimilated Crimes Act, in these areas (and in many others with concurrent Federal jurisdiction also) state laws that do not conflict with existing Federal statutes can be cited as Federal law for the purpose of criminal prosecution. But that issue is not in play here.

    Don't get wrapped around state law. The way the change in the regulation was written (quoted below) was that the carrying of concealed firearms is allowed by Federal regulation in accordance with the laws of the state. Accordance being defined as "in conformity."

    State law isn't being applied in the parks by this change. Our regulation is simply conforming our practice to what the state practices. Sort of. Allegedly.

    (h) Notwithstanding any other provision in this Chapter, a person may possess, carry, and transport concealed, loaded, and operable firearms within a national park area in accordance with the laws of the state in which the national park area, or that portion thereof, is located, except as otherwise prohibited by applicable Federal law.

    And Yellowstone has always recognized state boundaries within the park for a multitude of purposes. Applying Wyoming sales tax, for one. Deciding which state traffic codes should be adopted in any given area. Deciding which Department of Environmental Quality to consult with over water and sewage issues.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws   5 years 40 weeks ago

    I thought Yellowstone National Park did not recognize state border lines within its boundaries since it was established as a National Park a decade and more before Wyoming, Montana and Idaho became states :-)