Recent comments

  • Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Ummm, the bear was in people territory. Bears are not landowners.

  • Presidential Politics and the National Parks   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, now also the Vice Presidential nominee for the Republican Party, is opposed by organizations like the League of Conservation Voters and spokes-figures like Gene Karpinski primarily because she (in order of importance):

    • is Republican, conservative, and therefore 'the enemy'.
    • Opposes abortion - gave birth to a Downs Syndrome baby.
    • Supports a Creationism option in classrooms.
    • holds a lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association.
    • Promotes 2nd Amendment Rights.
    Therefore, she is attacked as an environmental horror-story ... and no doubt, desecrater of National Parks. More accurately, though, objections to her on environmental grounds and out of concern for the Alaska Nat'l Parks, is something of a Trojan Horse.

    Actually, it's simply partisan politics as usual, both the League & Karpinski and their abundant company, functioning in the practical sense as informal but important Political Action Committees for the Democratic Party.

    Some may think that I am overstating or whining. Consider then, please, that exactly the same dynamic & relationship applies to Womens' Groups, who are also liberal, left-wind surrogates for the Democrats. Conservative women are treated as traitors by women's group.

    The real reason for attacking Sarah Palin on the basis of National Interest Lands, Polar Bears, ANWR, etc., is much more realistically that she is a strong, conservative, attractive Republican who has the potential to threaten the Democratic candidate in the Presidential election.

    Sarah Palin will motivate many people who would otherwise just go hunting & fishing, riding ATVs & snowmobiles, eating venison stew (and dreaming of moose stew), cleaning their firearms, etc., to instead overcome their desultory view of John McCain, and go to the polls for him come November.

    Obviously, the Liberal-Left is very concerned about the way Palin affects the political balance.

    The actual situation in Alaska with respect to the Federal Gov'mt and the Parks, is that the Alaska Constitution and the ANILCA Alaska National Land Claims Act of Congress are in direct conflict, and Alaska has for many years found it in their interest to maintain that conflict. Several years ago, the Fed took the unprecedented step of assuming broad Federal jurisdiction over Alaska's fish & wildlife resources, primarily to enact the Subsistence Provision of ANILCA.

    Alaska is now handled in part as a Territory, rather than a State.

    Although Subsistence proceeds only partly in & around Parks, this portion of the issue disproportionally influences National Parks management in Alaska.

    Sarah Palin is of course not really out to pave the wilderness and exterminate the bears - on the contrary, Alaska seeks to expand & protect these assets because they know perfectly well that in the long run tourism is worth a lot more to them than the oil & gas.

    Remember, Alaska's formulas & policies actually work: The place is overrun with bears, wolves, moose, caribou, and Wilderness. Large carnivores and massive ungulates not only occupy the entire sub-continent, but infest the streets & backyards of Alaska's cities & towns!

    Palin the enviro-monster? That's what some would like you to think ...

  • Presidential Politics and the National Parks   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Christy, I'm afraid that you're barking up the wrong tree here. There is no evidence that proximity to national parks breeds park advocacy. On the other hand, we have tons of evidence that the opposite may be true -- mostly because having parks in the vicinity crimps many kinds of economic development and forces locals (including inholders) to deal with complex issues such as dealing with federally protected species that are harbored by parks.

    To add some depth to this discussion about whether Gov. Palin might be good for the National Park System, consider this statement by the League of Conservation Voters (as quoted by the New York Times). There's obviously a lot of room here for arguing both sides of this case.

    Energy and environment issues also moved front-and-center with Governor Palin’s selection. While she boasted that she had confronted the “Big Oil” companies today over profits and revenues, the governor remains a cheerleader for offshore drilling in the Artic and elsewhere. (With gasoline prices straining household budgets, recent polls indicate that the majority of the American public supports drilling as well.) But just hours after the announcement today, the League of Conservation Voters, which favors Mr. Obama’s positions, issued this statement by its president, Gene Karpinski, listing the group’s opposition to her stances on several matters:

    “Unfortunately, with her support for drilling in the Arctic Refuge and off our coasts, Governor Palin will simply continue the failed policies of the Bush-Cheney Administration and their Big Oil friends – policies that could make us even more dependent on foreign oil. Governor Palin characterizes McCain’s flip-flop on drilling offshore as a positive step in his transformation from maverick to Big Oil’s best friend. She has implored McCain to change his position against drilling in the Arctic – something she will have plenty of opportunities to pursue as his running mate.

    In addition to supporting backward-looking energy policies, Governor Palin has also opposed a crucial clean water initiative, sued the federal government for listing polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and opposed other important wildlife protection measures.

  • Presidential Politics and the National Parks   6 years 12 weeks ago

    If anyone even THINKS that Obama/Biden (with only 1 national park between them in their home states) will be better for our parks than McCain(19 park units)/Palin(17 park units) they need to have their heads examined!
    McCain and Palin will be the best ticket to ensure our parks are fully funded!

  • Bear Mauls Woman in Gates of the Arctic National Park   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Alyeska flew her she won't ever bad-mouth "big oil" again.

  • First Piping Plovers, Now Sea Turtles Descend on Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 12 weeks ago

    And you would be in error.

    Check the references at the end of the recovery plans......

  • First Piping Plovers, Now Sea Turtles Descend on Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Corrected willingly. It should say non peer reviewed science based management policies at work.


  • Video: Birds and Bike Paths in Grand Teton National Park   6 years 12 weeks ago


    I drove through Grand Teton on the way to Yellowstone this summer. I was absolutely appalled by the amount of ground disturbance that was being caused by the construction of this bike trail. I cannot believe that NPCA was the principal supporter of this project since it is an organization that is supposed to protect parks, not develop them. I don't get it.

    Rick Smith

  • First Piping Plovers, Now Sea Turtles Descend on Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 12 weeks ago

    There's no such animal as "peer-reviewed" management. You can have peer-reviewed science upon which management decisions are made, which does exist. I'm not sure what good it would do for managers at the Tetons, or Yellowstone to review the management policies at Hatteras anyway.

  • **** Viewing National Parks Traveler on Firefox 3.0****   6 years 12 weeks ago

    ditto. this thing looks fine.

  • First Piping Plovers, Now Sea Turtles Descend on Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 12 weeks ago

    I reckon it’s a lively debate when just about everybody disagrees with everybody else. And that tends to make picking a starting point a bit difficult when crafting a reply.

    Starting at the top with the anonymous comment, “Nice to see that Cape Hatteras is finally doing what it needs to to protect wildlife at the seashore. It's been overrun by 4x4s for far too long” I’ll attempt to make some sense of whats here.

    That comment is silly and clearly stems from a lack of understanding of how CHNSRA operates. Once again, someone makes the mistake that orv’s normally enjoy full access to all the beaches. That hasn’t been true for many, many years.

    As far as NPS mandates concerning CHNSRA, the primary mission of this park unit is that of a recreational area. And only areas that are not suited for that purpose are to be set aside as primative wilderness. Any derogation from that primary mission is in direct violation of congressional law and only congress can change the nature of the park. Had congress desired CHNSRA to become a wilderness area, nature preserve etc…they would have done so as they crafted the Wilderness Act.

    What makes managing access and wildlife at CHNSRA so difficult is an extrordinary lack of standard protocols and peer reviewed science. Peer reviewed science is required by USFW and USGS to support management policy. And yet, the policys enacted under the consent decree and even the Interim Management Strategy are unsupported and constitute opinion rather than fact. They also, as I pointed out earlier, are in direct conflict with congressional law. Whether you want to discuss birds or turtles, management policy differs everywhere depending on who happens to be calling the shots at the moment. Those that claim that “preservation of the unique flora and fauna or the physiographic conditions now prevailing in this area… ” as their rallying cry are strangely silent when the point is made that no plovers were documented at the seashore untill 1960. Nor do we hear a complaint when the destruction of over 90 acres of highly successful bird habitat that was destroyed at CHNSRA is discussed. This occured during the tenure of Larry Belli as park superintendant.

    With the turtles we again see mixed, non peer reviewed management policies at work. We also have a shining example of just how misunderstood these magnificant creatures are.

    Turtle nests, as has been stated by a different “Anonymous” are in fact moved at CHNSRA. However, they are never moved to provide access for ORV’s. Nest safety in terms of overwash and erosion are the driving factors in relocation, not beach users. The problem is NPS doesn’t take in to account local knowledge in making that determination. Nor do they move all of the nests that will overwash or erode. Currently, there are two nests by Ramp 44 that have been overwashed repetedly at the tide for over a week. One is within it’s hatch window and the other is just days away. The issue here is that at this late stage of development, the turtles need a lot of oxygen that permiates the shell membrane, their little air bubble being largely gone. Matthew Godfrey, a NCWRC turtle biologist, explained to me that even a heavy rain can drown a nest at this stage.

    The silt cloth in place for days is an issue also. It does funnel the water and sand to the nest. It has yet another unintended consequence in that Ghost crabs get trapped within that barrier and burrow. This has resulted in predation of the nest. Ironically, ORV’s limit Ghost crab numbers which benefits turtle and bird alike. Eliminating one of the primary Ghost crab predators, the racoon, by the hundreds, has resulted in an explosion of these voracious feeders. At the silt fence enclosed nest just south of Ramp 44, I counted with my binoculars, over 40 crab burrows within the closure. Those were all I could count contained within the silt fence to the fall of the beach toward the sea. Assuming the crabs havn’t found the nest yet, any hatchling emerging from that nest will have to run a gauntlet of 40 plus crabs just to begin it’s journey to the Gulf Stream. And this year, finding crab burrows with almost four inch diameters has been common place. Those of us that notice such things have been awed by this phenomenon. Obvioulsy, lack of predation and draconian ORV restrictions have done the crab well. Bear in mind that these crabs are the number one unfledged bird predator at CHNSRA and usually mark the primary reason of chick mortality.

    Nobody knows just how many turtles there are. And nobody knows the true mortality rate from hatchling to sexual maturity which is thought to be around 20 years. The argument that the Atlantic population is threatened is based primarily in a decline in turtle nesting in Florida. Last year there were only just over 45,000 nests, down from the year before. But that’s not a fair figure as turtles don’t breed every year. On average that happens only once every three years with each turtle laying an average of five to seven nests per season. This year was a record year throughout the East Coast, with one notable exception; Cape Lookout National Seashore, CALO for short.

    Research and public record amassed by NPS at CHNSRA and thoroughly compiled by a friend of mine shows that for over a decade, on average, CHNSRA lost about 45% of its turtle nests. The two factors involved have been erosion/drowning and predation. But not ORV traffic. The average nest containing 112 eggs, the math works out to tens of thousands of eggs lost.

    Much ado has been made about the effects of night driving. I’ll have to agree with Anonymous and say that a trucks lights behind the nest can disorient the hatchlings. Of course that assumes that the ORV in question is actually parked behind the nest or otherwise remains stationary for an extended period. With all due respect, the only time Ive seen lights shining on turtles at CHNSRA involved “turtle people” wanting a photo such as the one within this article. Anyone truly familiar with CHNSRA knows that night driving has always been at a minimum. Stand on this sand long enough and you will begin to notice folks leave in two waves as evening approaches. One is dinner and the other darkness. Leaving only a handfull of vehicles on the beach. And we’re not driving between hatch window nests and the water; day or night. A passing vehicle will have little effect on turtle orientation especially as turtles cant see red, rendering tail lights moot.

    The origional window for moving a nest is nine hours because of the dynamics involving an air bubble and a hatchling. Rotating the egg after this period will cause the turtle to drown. It’s not until about day 20 that sex is determined by nest temprature. So, in fact, there is a larger window for nest relocation. But rather than just increasing nest relocation, NPS should adopt the same management policy as is practiced at PINWR. There vounteers monitor the nests from dusk to midnight. A small garden border fence is unrolled and placed around the nest and continued to the sea. The sand in that narrow pathway is raked down to eliminate obstruction. If no turtles emerge, the fence is removed and a cage is placed over the nest which is inspected at dawn for any hatchlings. If found they will be released the following night to minimize predation. This practice funnels neither water or sand to the nest and doesn’t trap Ghost crabs.

    Whats astounding is the CALO report for this year as it flies in the face of “environmentalist” reasoning. Particularly because CALO doesn’t have the piers, the villages, the ORV traffic, night driving ( when the CD allows) etc. that CHNSRA has. And yet without the illegal draconian restrictions placed upon the users of CHNSRA, their bird and turtle numbers are in the pits!
    These results clearly demonstrate how little impact ORV and pedestrian users truly have. Storms cannot be blamed as we have had only one of note this year, so far.

    The CALO numbers:

    Seashore Sea Turtle Nesting Activity to date: Nests are hatching now.

    North Core Banks- 93 activities, 35 nests, 4 digs*, 54 crawls
    South Core Banks- 103 activities, 54 nests, 2 digs, 47 crawls
    Shackleford Banks- 26 activities, 18 nests, 1 digs, 7 crawls

    Seashore Total- 222 activities, 107 nests, 7 digs, 108 crawls

    *digs are likely nests, but eggs were not found, will be investigated during and after hatch window

    Sea Beach Amaranth:

    North Core Banks- 0 plants
    South Core Banks- 0 plants
    Shackleford Banks- 76 plants

    Piping Plover Summary: Preliminary Seashore results; 46 pairs, 57 nests, and 9

    South Core Banks- 22 pairs, 29 nests, 7 fledglings
    Ophelia Island- 2 pairs, 3 nests, 0 fledglings
    Middle Core Banks- 6 pairs, 8 nests, 0 fledglings
    North Core Banks- 16 pairs (2 singles), 17 nests, 2 fledglings
    Shackleford Banks- 0 pair

    American Oystercatcher Summary: Preliminary Seashore results; 62 pairs, 91 nests,
    and 15 fledglings

    South Core Banks- 24 pairs, 44 nests, 5 fledglings
    Ophelia Island- 2 pairs, 2 nests, 0 fledglings
    Middle Core Banks- 7 pairs, 6 nests, 7 fledglings
    North Core Banks- 18 pairs, 22 nests, 3 fledglings
    Shackleford Banks- 11 pairs, 17 nests, 0 fledglings

    Colonial Waterbird Nesters:

    South Core Banks- Five colonies
    North Core Banks- Seven colonies, Old Drum Inlet still a few skimmer
    chicks/fledglings on the soundside.
    Middle Core Banks- Five colonies

    Ok, once again, CALO doesn’t have the piers, the villages, the ORV traffic, night driving (when the CD allows) etc. that CHNSRA has.

    But false crawls are equal to the number of nests.

    56 Plover nests and only two more birds than were fledged from the 13 nests at CHNSRA.

    The LETE, AMOY and Skimmer numbers are dismal as well. But none of this is due to ORV use at CALO. And none of it can be documented at CHNSRA.

    There is no reason to believe that ORV users, which are comprised of a collection entirely of road legal, licensed trucks and wildlife cannot co-exist. But what’s also true is that I and many other pro access advocates promote the restoration of habitat destroyed and the creation of additional habitat soundside. This has proven succesful and is something that needs persued.
    To appreciate just how redily that nature dictates the shape and features of this place one must take the time to understand how things work(normally) at CHNSRA. To do that you must come here and spend the time to appreciate just how dynamic this environment really is.


  • Bear Mauls Woman in Gates of the Arctic National Park   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Very lucky lady to have survived a mauling and I wish her the best in her recovery. Having backpacked in Yellowstone and Glacier NP's several times I am puzzled about the "food Tent" being in the same close area as their sleeping tents. Is this common in Alaska or at long term camps to establish the food prep and storage tent in the same camp as sleeping tents? Or is this a giant mistake in grizzily bear safety protacal. We always maintained the minimum 100 yard triagle for sleeping, storage and prep when in grizzly country much to the "do we have to" whines of some fellow campers. Curious if anyone with Alaska experience can respond.

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 12 weeks ago

    As a follow up on crime statistics, I was just checking them out for this year. A quick glance of the numbers shows that more homicides have happened in Police District 7, which is Anacostia, than any of the other districts. Property crimes are higher in some of the other police districts. Even if crime rates were lower, my point would have been the same. You can't talk about any kind of crime in this park and this place without talking about - it's not a unique kind of event that can be abstracted from the neighborhood or the city's context.

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

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Shaw is gentrified (my friends in Proposition One - the anti-nuclear vigil at Lafayette Park in front of the White House - can tell you that by the rapid increase in property taxes that they can't afford to pay) and the Benning Road / East Capitol Street area isn't far behind. As the H Street corridor has become overrun with new businesses and as Capitol Hill expands to the east toward RFK, things change - though not the crime. Actually, as far as crime rates, it depends what you look at. The highest number of robberies, for instance, in DC happen in NW neighborhoods, 2 of which no one would expect given the number of yuppies living in them (Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, and rapidly gentrifying Columbia Heights are the three neighborhoods with the highest number of muggings). But, Anacostia - especially Ward 8 (Marion Barry's ward) is certainly the poorest ward in the city. The idea that someone has a submachine gun in the park in Anacostia wouldn't really surprise anyone.

    But, no, Ted, this isn't an issue that's reducible to its face value. It's simply an accident that it's a story of guns in a park in this case. There is no real boundary in DC between parks and non-parks, and so no real boundary where they appear and don't appear and the reasons why. The story gets at that somewhat by noting the way neighborhoods and parks overlap somewhat (and this park unit is actually more geographically definable than some in DC - but it never matters; take Rock Creek Park, which cuts the NW of the city in half - it's still an impossibly blurry line from the ongoings of the city itself, especially as it must be crossed constantly just to get from one part of NW to another part. You simply cannot grasp or discuss this story without talking about the context of this city, of these people, and what brings them there.

    This is a minor story in the DC world; it's a complete non-story in the parks world, except to highlight that the national parks run so many of the parks in DC, so much so that the only question of relevance when an arrest is made is what jail you have to go find them at. Gun regulations in the park would do nothing to change this story; removing the park boundary would do nothing. All it would change is the location of the jail and what uniforms are doing the arresting - not a particularly interesting discussion. Of course, some will talk about how this is evidence that the park units might be stripped off, especially in the unique environment of DC where the parks are essentially city parks run by NPS. Okay, sure, whatever ... but highlighting this instance should point us to different questions, even on a national parks site. Or, are we that vacuous in the way we consider stories? If we are going to talk about a crime in Anacostia, we have to talk about the world that makes up National Capital Parks-East. That's the ecosystem, much the way that buffalo, bears, wolves, and lodgepole pines make up the one right outside the door of where I live now. The urban environment, particularly this environment, which is not simply a city - but a city with a unique and particular history that colors how issues like this are discussed and considered - needs to be essential to the discussion. In fact, to look so narrowly at the guns in park aspect of this is to go off on a wild tangent; it's merely the incident. I would say the same about a report about a speeding ticket in Yellowstone - what it would say is something more about the relationship of people and wildlife, not about speeding per se.

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

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Anacostia is actually a large and diverse section of Washington, DC that includes many well-kept homes and even some mansions in the neighborhoods adjacent to Fort Dupont Park. There are indeed areas that have high poverty rates and are prone to crime but I would avoid painting with such a broad brush about a section of DC that is probably far safer statistically than other neighborhoods such as Shaw and sections of far Northeast along Benning Road and East Capitol Street.

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Actually, in the purist sense, laws are what we "civilized" people use to delineate between law-abiding citizens and the criminal element. To repeatedly utilize the rhetoric, as has been stated in SO many previous threads that laws only apply to those who follow them is ludicrous, and a prime example of flawed logic. A society that maintains a moral compass, a sense of decency, respect for ALL members and many most importantly, a personal sense of honor requires little in the way of "forced" supervision and monitoring. Unfortunately the human animal has yet to aspire to that height of civilization, hence the need for some manner of legal documentation specific to what is and more to the point, what is not permissible within our societal structure.

    Could it be that the subjects decided it best not to tip their hand as to their true intent by prematurely "gunning it out" during an unexpected visit from the authorities? Or, given the locale as quite aptly described in Jim's post, could it have been intended as a plant for someone who was to attempt to leave the jail in an untimely pre-release party over the holiday weekend? Speculation and imagination can lead us anywhere without some type of hard evidence, but my spidey-sense tells me that this most God awful weapon was not to be used by the goofs who brought it to the park. Blowtorches like this have no place in a civilized world, which is precisely why they currently are allowed to exist. Our lack of moral compass and incessant lobbying from groups who claim that one should be able to obtain whatever manner of firepower they believe is required for the purposes of "hunting and providing for the family". The only animal this repeater was designed to hunt, my friends, I most certainly hope you're not throwing on the barbecue this or any other weekend. If you are, PLEASE have the decency not to tell anyone, except maybe your minister, should you be so inclined, and the local constable.

    In either case, to Officers Brecht and Omo, a most deserved "well done" and "thank you" are due from us all. There can be no room for doubt on anyone's part that this machine pistol wasn't going to be utilized for any purpose that could even remotely be described as "proper, useful, or justified".

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 12 weeks ago

    MRC said:

    "Give [the D.C. Parks] to the City then there is one police force, who knows the parks as part of the neighborhoods. ... This split jurisdiction seems to me as a nightmare from the point of law enforcement.
    In many contexts across the nation, I believe the maintenance of a separate, unique, isolated Park law enforcement is inane bordering on the ludicrous.

    Facetiously, Olympic Nat'l Park enforcement consists of one man who really wanted to do something else, a small boy, and a pet dog. To cover a million acres. Olympic enforcement should be done by the Counties in which it is embedded, and in fact both State Patrol and County Sheriff double-patrol part of the Park jurisdiction, are handy to all of it ... and likewise in most Parks. The present set-up is rinky-dink, bogus, and ineffective in the face of any real need.

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Jim Macdonald asserts:

    "The issue is Anacostia, poverty, racism ..."

    The topic of this post, titled "Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East" is unusually tightly-focused, and it is a guns-issue topic, to an unusually emphatic degree.

    That some would prefer to divert the topic of discussion away from issues & matters with which they are uncomfortable (gun rights, 2nd Amendment, legal firearms in the Parks) but which are indeed closely tied to the actual topic of this post is understandable, but it remains simply that: an attempt to divert the conversation & thread.

    This weapons-offense story is not about the bane of poverty that afflicts our American cities, nor the scourge of poverty that ravages much of planet Earth (to which we give short account).

    This story is not about the urban decay & dissipation on display in many of our cities. The 'modern city' is a business-model which has demonstrated the limits of it's competence. An interesting theme - but a separate topic.

    This is not a story of broad philosophical strokes and over-arching rhetorical devices.

    This is a guns-story of the plainest & earthiest kind.

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Eloquent and spot on. I am interested in solutions. Any ideas?

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 12 weeks ago

    I'm not talking about Piscataways except in an ironic sense. The issue is Anacostia, poverty, racism, a place that has been left behind, and the world that has grown up around this depressed place. It's only irony that allows this to be called a national park at all, although there's something green about it in the stench of the air.

    That this story is the same as the story of the place that came long before is simply just ironic.

    And, that people think this can be simply a story of people defending themselves and gun rights and crime entirely misses the point ... a story like this that becomes a discussion of that is lost in the abstraction of the ideological discussion. The people in this downtrodden, heavily African American area where things like this are regular occurrences inside and outside the park cannot be allowed to become another general conversation about guns and self defense.

    When people think of Washington, DC, they think of government and Constitution and aloofness from the rest of the world; unfortunately, the country is aloof to the human stories of this city. In a place like DC, whose gun laws were recently struck down by the Supreme Court, a city whose people will always be close to my heart, making this another abstract discussion about parks and guns (fueled by a practical instance), really only exacerbates the colonial status that the city still labors under and these people most of all. What I mean by that is that colonialism is exacerbated by the discussion because the event mentioned in this park unit is essentially neither a park story nor really a gun story; to discuss this story as though it is blinds us to the lack of voice that the people in DC have and perhaps the people of Anacostia have most of all (the Indian reference was a veiled reference to that).

    Submachine guns and crime are mainstays of a city with such wealth. You don't walk through the streets of DC as a resident without being consciously aware of it - whether you are inside or outside of the parks. And, you notice race, and you notice where people live and don't live, where they walk and where they don't walk. Anacostia is perhaps the most extreme example of the DC experience, and a unit managed by the national parks in Anacostia is almost irrelevant to what happened. So too is any discussion about the merits of the 2nd Amendment; with or without it, the same condition is there. With or without extreme gun laws, with or without those parks - and if people don't stop and look at that instead of going right at the same pat discussion that is so common here on this site - then they will totally miss what happened and why east of the river.

    Free DC,
    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Is there any reason why the city parks of D.C. are in the jurisdaiction of the NPS and their Park Police? Give them to the City then there is one police force, who knows the parks as part of the neighborhoods. Not two with experience in the either the parks or the residential areas. This split jurisdiction seems to me as a nightmare from the point of law enforcement.

    And who would believe the city parks are managed according to the Organic Act anyway.

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 12 weeks ago


    I do have a strong interest in Native American themes, and have become a much more assertive advocate on their behalf as the 'victors version' of history has worn thin for me. I may well look into the native context that you bring up.

    However, this is not a story about Natives: It's a weapons-offense story that happens to have occurred on former Indian territory ... a circumstance that would apply equally to all the rest of North American as well.

    This story is indeed closely germane to 2nd Amendment themes - which are currently before our Nation and the National Parks constituency as rarely before - and is not an Indian-story.

    The "story of this place" may well be interesting & important, but it's a different topic.

  • Grammar Vigilantes Busted in Grand Canyon National Park, Barred from Park System   6 years 12 weeks ago

    I believe the simplistic answer to the protection of historic signage is simply, and feel free to correct (or feel indignant by the usage of) the colloquial grammar:

    The system ain't got no money for such altruistic pursuits.

  • Park Police Arrest Men Who Brought a Loaded Submachine Gun to a Playground in National Capital Parks-East   6 years 12 weeks ago

    The park is in the poorest part of the District of Columbia; the Park Service has its local jail in that area as well. It's a very sad and filthy place - you can't go there without recognizing that racial divisions are alive and well in our country.

    It's in an area right along the riverfront, which used to be a Piscataway Indian trading area - but long gone and forgotten by most.

    And, thinking of this, one thought comes to mind - if we reduce this discussion about this place to guns and the rights to bear them, then we are severely misunderstanding the story of this place and the people who live there.

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

  • Hidden Hall of Records at Mount Rushmore   6 years 12 weeks ago

    I'm certain that the new movie, National Treasure, will stir up renewed interest in the hall and its creator.