LA Times Asks : Where are the Rangers?
Hot on the heels of the ABC News piece about fewer National Park Rangers, the LA Times this week has a story called "Rangers Among Parks' Rarest Sights". The piece goes into more detail about the guardians of our parks vanishing all across the country. From the first paragraphs:
Many visitors may not see a National Park Service ranger, as the agency's threadbare budget has forced officials to recruit volunteers to fill jobs formerly performed by federal employees and to reduce or eliminate traditional visitor services. "The old saying in the park service is, 'We can do more with less,' " said Craig W. Dorman, superintendent of Lava Beds National Monument, near the Oregon border. "I don't think that's true anymore. We're now in a position of doing less with less."Visitors are beginning to notice too. I read and occasionally contribute to an MSN email listgroup which discusses National Park Cancellation Stamp collecting. The members of the list come prepared when they visit a park, making a point to enter each visitors center to collect the passport cancellation stamp. Here are some comments showing frustration with recent NPS operations that I've seen posted in the last few days:
That is the most frutrating thing for me...to get to a site, and find out you can't get in, even though you checked their hours of operation and called ahead. Sure, it's disappointing to not get the stamp, but to not even get to experience the site is worse!Another recent observation:
It is unfortunate that the NPS doesn't realize that staffing choices they make, often cost the visitor a lot of money, to get there from somewhere else and then to leave without the experience.The 96% of visitors last year who considered their park visit satisfactory may be singing a different tune after their summer vacation is complete in the months ahead. Without park rangers, there won't be much "Service" within our National Parks.