Showing posts with label National Park Service. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National Park Service. Show all posts

September 16, 2018

Bears Are Hungry in the Fall

Grizzly bears (US Fish and Wildlife Service)
Tennessee: A black bear killed a man in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some confusion ensues.
Park officials have shot and killed the bear associated with the investigation into a man's death.
Spokeswoman Julena Campbell said it happened around 9:45 Sunday morning [Sept. 9].
A news release Wednesday said the National Park Service had euthanized a male bear after finding it near a man's body in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On Friday, the park said rangers actually had not yet found and killed the bear.
Wyoming: A bowhunter and his guide were attacked by grizzly bears in the Teton Wilderness; the guide was killed.
As initially reported, a grizzly bear attack on an elk hunter and his guide wounded the client hunter Corey Chubon, from Florida, and left the guide, Mark Uptain, dead. His body was recovered yesterday from the scene in Turpin Meadows at approximately 1:15pm.
After interviews and visiting the scene, Undersheriff Matt Carr said Uptain was rushed by a grizzly bear in “a very aggressive manner.”
“They were field dressing this elk. They were in thick timber and this bear was on them very quickly,” Carr said. “There was apparently no time to react.”
UPDATE: More information on the incident. Apparently bear spray was used.
Oregon: A woman hiking was killed by a mountain lion in the Mount Hood area.
The hiker who went missing on Mount Hood in late August and was found dead at the bottom of a ravine Monday was likely killed by a cougar, authorities said — a shocking twist in the missing persons case. 

The body of Diana Bober, 55, was found Monday [Sept. 10] at the bottom of a 200-foot embankment on the famous Oregon mountain's Hunchback Trail, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

April 13, 2017

America's Best Outdoor Recreation Value Will Cost a Little More

Trail signs, Colorado National Monument.

America's best recreational value.
Maybe someone realized that ten dollars for a lifetime senior national parks pass was just too good a deal in 2017. At any rate, the cost is going up — to $80.

If you are 62 or older, however, there is still a window to buy the pass at the old cheap price:
But if you get a lifetime pass before the change is implemented, it will cost only $10. Passes can be purchased online for an additional service fee of $10 or at any of the parks without an extra charge.

National Park Service officials are unsure how long it will take to implement the change, but it’s expected before the end of 2017. Meantime, they are spreading the word informally.
It's one good deal. Just show that pass to the ranger at the gate, and a whole carload of people get in. Some groups have been known to rearrange themselves so that the pass holder is driving, but I don't know if that is really necessary.

Even at $80, the pass would pay for itself if you made three national parks visits in a year.

IN OTHER PARK SERVICE NEWS:  President Trump donated his first-quarter 2017 salary to the National Parks Service, according to The Hill, a website focused on political news. That sum of 78,333.32 is, what, about equivalent to the annual salary of national monument supervisor? What do they make, anyway?

It's a nice gesture — and an under-reported one — but the park system needs a lot more money than that, mostly for non-spectacular stuff like repairing water systems, upgrading employee housing, fixing roads, etc.

April 09, 2017

Colorado Sand Dunes from Space and How to Say the Creek's Name

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
photographed from the International Space Station (NASA photo).
I came across this quick explanation for why southern Colorado has sand dunes on the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve's Facebook page.
Many visitors wonder: Why is there so much sand only here, but not at other locations along the mountains?

In this view from space, part of the answer becomes clear. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are curved here, and at the same location are low passes to funnel wind and sand from the valley floor into this pocket.

Then why doesn't sand accumulate, for instance, at the base of La Veta Pass to the south? The mountains also curve there below a low pass.. The answer is that this northeast part of the San Luis Valley is a closed basin. Streams carrying sand into this basin don't exit, so all the sand they carry is deposited here. In the past, these streams fed into huge lakes; when these lakes disappeared through natural climate change, vast quantities of sand blew and accumulated here below Mosca, Medano, and Music Passes. In other parts of the valley, and in most places in the Rocky Mountains, sands are continually washed away and carried downstream into larger and larger rivers.
That is the San Luis Valley on the lower left and the Wet Mountain Valley to the upper right, so the top of the photo is roughly northeast.

A lot of visitors also pronounce the name of the creek that flows by the dunes as "Meh-DAH-no," thinking that that is the correct Spanish pronunciation, whereas in the Wet Mountain Valley, you hear something more like "MAD-uh-now" or "MAD-uh-no," usually in reference to Medano Pass, which connects the two valleys.

The latter is actually closer to the Spanish Médano — note the accent mark — which means "sand dune" and comes from an old Castillian word for mountain.

March 10, 2017

Nuts to You, Says Abert's Squirrel

Abert's squirrel in ponderosa pine.
Everyone thinks of squirrels as caching nuts (thus inadvertently planting trees), but not the Abert's squirrel of the Southern Rockies and Colorado Plateau.

They just eat their favorite tree, ponderosa pine, which happens to be my favorite tree too, although I rarely eat any parts. (The pollen is a tonic, though.) Colorado Parks and Wildlife says, "Abert’s squirrel does not hoard food, but eats whatever part of its host tree, ponderosa pine, is available in season: cones and inner bark of twigs."

Many are a sort of salt-and-pepper grey (like these), but in southern Colorado they are mostly black. I think I have seen one grey one near the house in twenty years.

This degenerate squirrel has abandoned its healthy wild lifestyle
to eat sunflower seeds under the bird feeder.
Its name is one of those 19th-century "Westward the course of empire" relics, for it is named after James William Abert—explorer (Corps of Topographical Engineers), artist, and Civil War staff officer.

James William Abert
As Lieutenant Abert roamed the West in the 1840s, his proud father wrote to John James Audubon, "My son, Lieut. A., has some taste for Natural History. He has just returned from Santa Fe, having been on General Kearney's expedition. . . "

Together with collecting specimens, he also discoursed in the 19th-century manner on color theory for artists interested in natural history.

You can see Lt. Abert's reconstructed room and sketchbook at Bent's Old Fort, where he (and Everyone who was Anyone) stayed c. 1846.

June 20, 2016

Venomous and Nonvenomous Links

In El Castillo cave, hand stencils join a red disk (not pictured)
that may be Earth's oldest cave art (Science/AAS)
Arizona wants to kill you. I thought the rattlesnakes were bad; now this: "Arizona Hiker Dies After Being Stung by 1,000 Bees."

Americans don't visit national parks anymore — that was the message a couple of years ago. (See the graph for early 2000s.) Now it's "The National Parks Have Never Been More Popular."  Free admission for the 100th anniversary helps, so does cheaper fuel. Or is this just one of those "fat is bad for you / fat is good for you" deals? Will M. and make it to Yellowstone this fall?

In case you missed it — although we are not talking about Chauvet-type art, still the evidence is that the Neanderthal people made art. And of course it's older than the Cro-Magnon stuff.

April 06, 2016

The National Monument that I Avoided for No Reason

Colorado National Monument's Window Rock with Grand Junction sprawl in the background.
I have not been everywhere, but I have visited many of the famous spots of the Colorado Plateau, from Mesa Verde and Hovenweep to Wupatki and Chaco, to Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods and Comb Ridge, Goosenecks State Park and the San Juan River, Canyonlands, Moab, Arches, and Natural Bridges.

I once performed emergency repairs on a '69 VW bus after chocking its wheels with rocks partway up the Moki Dugway.

But never Colorado National Monument. Superstition? I would be driving on I-70 or riding the California Zephyr, look south as I left Grand Junction, westward bound, and think "Oh yeah, got to go there some time."

Maybe it's my uneasy relationship with Grand Junction. It's twenty miles across and one story tall, all highways and arterial roads so that least you can get through it quickly.  A once-small town has spread like a quart of oil spilled on the garage floor.

It's a place where I occasionally rent a motel room — once  M. and I, younger and poorer, rented a room in a now-vanished SRO hotel — probably the only overnight guests they had had in a long time — and someone coughed himself to death all night in the adjoining room.

I was covering some off-road race for a start-up car-racing mag (The Whitewater 200? Something like that.) and had an expense account of about $20. The magazine folded. Now "off-road race" is more likely to refer to a contest of Spandex-clad bro-cyclists.

And there is a the family angle. I can walk down Main Street and see where my maternal grandfather and his brother ran variously a furniture store, a rod-and-gun shop, and the Personal Loan Company. The house on North 7th Street where my grandparents lived until their divorce still stands.

(In addition, one of my older sisters was born in GJ, and the other lived here for some time when first married.)

So maybe it is my feeling of estrangement from that older side of the family (with a couple of exceptions) that makes me feel twice a stranger here, where I sit typing in a tiny studio apartment rented on Airbnb.com. At times I keep imagining that the Jeep has an out-of-state license plate, which is a sort of cognitive hallucination. It's been years since Colorado stopped coding license plates to county of issuance. You can't tell who is local and who is not from their plates anymore.

We have spent two days hiking in Colorado National Monument — back to red sandstone, screaming flocks of scrub jays, and the bitter, resiny taste of ephedra leaves in my mouth — self-medication for spring allergies. Gambel's quail dart along the road and bighorn ewes and lambs cause "critter jams" on Rim Rock Drive.

Back on the Colorado Plateau, and why didn't we come here sooner? Spring is the best time.

April 05, 2016

Bear or Buffalo: You Decide


"Look at the bear rock," says M. from across the canyon. But is it? The commenter offering the best rationale for his or her position wins a giant invisible prize.

Photo taken at Colorado National Monument.

February 08, 2015

How Not To Become Prey

Bears biting backpackers. Mountain lions munching mountain bikers.

Every time that some carnivorous critter bites or kills a human, there will be voices proclaiming, "They were here first. We live on their territory."

That is true in a long historical view —  and it is also true that human populations have lived alongside big carnivores throughout history — but Wyoming writer Cat Urbigkit's new book, When Man Becomes Prey: Fatal Encounters with America's Most Feared Predators, adds some nuance and some new information.

Her book is divided into species-specific chapters
  • Black bears
  • Coyotes
  • Gray wolves
  • Mountain lions
  • Grizzly nightmares
  • Greater Yellowstone grizzlies
plus two more, "Habituation and Alaska Attacks" and "Learning to Coexist with Predators."

Each chapter begins with some narratives, the kind that you want to read in the daytime with a clear view of your surroundings. They then cover relevant scientific research and practical ways to avoid conflict with bears, mountain lions, or whatever. "For some hikers [in coyote habitat] rocks-in-pockets becomes a routine at the start of every hike."

For instance, I was raised to believe that while they were a threat to dogs and cats, coyotes left adult-size humans alone. Urbigkit leads with the 2009 killing of Taylor Mitchell in Cape Breton Highlands National Park by a small pack of three coyotes — all healthy. "Wildlife officials suspected that these coyotes had become habituated to humans during the tourist season, and this may have involved the animals receiving food rewards from humans." (There have been other attacks on children and adults , but she was the only recorded adult human fatality.)

Attacks on pets, even leashed dogs with people, are also increasing. Geographically, coyote attacks seem most common in parks, where no hunting is allowed, and into urban areas, again without hunting and with a variety of food resources.

A certain degree of hunting, she suggests, does encourage predators to stay away from people. Yet with mountain lions, for instance, "wildlife managers believe that when heavy localized hunting results in the harvest of older mature males, more young mountain lions are likely to disperse into those areas, creating an increase in [lion-human] conflicts."

Some other take-aways:

• While people think that black bear sows with cubs are the most dangerous, "the majority of the fatal attacks on humans involved male bears, and most attacks took place during the daylight hours." While most black bears are shy, some do prey on humans deliberately. Also, "no one killed in a black bear attack carried bear spray."

• Urbigkit, who lives on a sheep ranch south of Grand Teton National Park, believes in bear spray: "You don't have to be an excellent shot to be effective with a can of bear spray — a cloud of spray between you and a charging bear should be enough for your immediate retreat from the area."

She also offers a case where bear spray stopped an attacking mountain lion. I myself have used it only on aggressive dogs, where it worked well, so I suspect that it would work just as well on a wolf or coyote.

• There are no documented cases of black bears attacking humans in defense of a carcass, but as Northern Rockies hunters are learning, grizzlies, where present have done that a number of times.

• The old idea, from books like Jim Corbett's Man-Eaters of Kumaon (1944), is that the predators who attack humans are usually elderly, crippled, or wounded. With grizzly bears, that is sometimes true, Urbigkit writes. But there also more North American predators than there used to be, thanks to recovery programs and more-regulated hunting. In addition, we have created such predator-friendly places as parks and food-rich subdivisions.

Consequently, they become habituated to us — and we become habituated to them, sometimes forgetting that they "are not loveable toys to be enjoyed when convenient [Yellowstone wolf tours?] and then discarded or destroyed when they reveal their true natures.

"Predators should be treated with a realistic acknowledgment that they are animals that kill prey to survive, and should be respected for the wild creatures that they are."

Any backcountry hiker or hunter, anyone who visits parks like Yellowstone or Great Smokies, and anyone who sees bears, coyotes, or deer in their neighborhoods — where there are deer, there are lions — ought to read When Man Becomes Prey.

It is available from the publisher, Lyons Press, or from the usual online source.

May 30, 2014

Floods, Fire, Buses: Changes at Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument visitor center with sandbags
M. and I last visited Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico in May 2011, mainly to see the new diorama in the visitor center that her brother had built. Then the Las Conchas fire closed in and threatened those buildings—but they survived (maybe with the help of copious Class A foam).

The brother himself had never seen it, since he lives in Virginia, but we went there Wednesday as part of a family reunion.

"They repainted my lizard," he said. "Crappy job." Apparently someone thought his yellow stripes were not bright enough. And the background mural had been cropped as well, although only he would have noticed that.

One change was the effect of the September 2013 flooding, worst in the monument's history. (See pictures here and videos here). Lots more debris piles and fewer picnic tables — maybe those washed into the Rio Grande.  The visitor center is still sandbagged.

Another is that visitors are now strongly encouraged to park in White Rock and take a free shuttle bus the last eight miles to the visitor center. Apparently this does not apply to those staying in the park campground and/or just driving to the Frey Trail head, judging by the number of cars there. (The bus also stops at the trail head.) There are a few other exceptions too—see the link.

But after years of seeing the main parking lot fill up in the spring and summer and having to turn visitors away, the NPS has taken a new stance.

November 18, 2013

Blog Stew with Sunflower Seeds (You'll Like Them)

¶ You could use this fancy online tool at the Cornell ornithology lab to find the best food for your favorite winter birds. Or you could just put out black oil sunflower seeds because almost all the cold-weather birds like 'em. As one of the local Auduboners once told me, "They're like ice cream for birds."

¶ The US Forest Service takes a step back in its tug-of-war over water rights with ski areas operating on national forest land — which is a lot of them. Durango Herald reporter Joe Hanel writes, "The Forest Service has tried sporadically for years to get legal control over snowmaking water rights, because of worries the rights could be sold to real estate developers or others not interested in using the water for skiing."

That, yes, but also conservation groups like Trout Unlimited have worried about ski areas drying up streams for snow-making.

¶ Workers at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico recently found a large new room. They are calling it Halloween Hall, whether for the date or for the multitude of bat bones in it, I am not sure. Photo at the link.

September 23, 2013

Olympic National Park: Hoh Rain Forest

The west side of the Olympic Peninsula is the wet side, where the trees grow big — but sometimes just when I am thinking to myself about that, I look deeper in the woods and see the really big stumps. A few even still display the holes for springboards.
The glacier-fed Hoh River flows west into the Pacific
M. and I drove up the Hoh Rain Forest road into Olympic National Park and hiked a couple of short trails. The Hall of Mosses trail features a grove of bigleaf maples completely swathed in mosses, lichens, and every local variety of epiphyte.

Says the Park Service website, "one criteria [sic] for the determination of a temperate rain forest is that the amount of moss and other epiphytes exceeds the weight of all the foliage (leaves and needles) per acre by at least two times."
Bigleaf maple trees covered in moss, Hoh rain forest
You don't often get a sunny day in the rain forest. Nearby Forks ("We brake for vampires") averages 212 days annually of measurable precipitation — about 107 inches (2.7 meters or 15.3 hands). The Hoh forest itself averages 140 to 170 inches (12 to 14 feet).

September 22, 2013

Olympic National Park: Hurricane Ridge

The present

Walking around the Hurricane Ridge parking lot and then up the trail, I felt that my energy level was high. In fact, I was congratulating myself at how bouncy I felt up there at timberline. Then Rational Mind kicked in: "Dude, you're at a lower altitude than your house."
Hurricane Ridge visitor center, with Mount Olympus in the background
Timberline is so much lower there, thanks to latitude and whatever other climactic factors. The visitor center is at 5,242 feet (1,911 varas, 1,598 meters), in other words, the same as the high plains city of Denver. Mt. Olympus is 6,900 feet but gets massive snowfall as storms sweep off the North Pacific.
Trail in the Hurricane Ridge area
Looking north: the white streak is a cloud bank on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, while the dark strip on the horizon is Vancouver Island.
The past

Driving up to the ridge, I was trying to remember and reconstruct the last time I had entered Olympic National Park. It was between my freshman and sophomore year of college, and my girlfriend and I had driven up from Portland for a quick backpacking trip in her Volkswagen squareback.

Did we car-camp the first night in the park? I know we hiked to some lake —  Lake Angeles? Why did we go there? What did we eat? What did we talk about? All I can remember is camping beside some lake in the forest. And the "green tunnel" effect of driving on the Olympic Peninsula, which still struck me even after my first year in western Oregon.

I was keeping a journal then, but I can't consult it, for it was one of the volumes that my mother trashed (and then lied about it) after I left them in my old desk at her house. So it goes.

September 21, 2013

Dungeness Days

At the Juan de Fuca Cottages, Sequim, Washington
Back to the travelogue . . .

We left Port Townsend last week  and drove on west to Sequim ("skwim"). While at my sister's home, I had started researching motels in Sequim and nearby Port Angeles, but M. said she wanted to find a classic vacation cottage by the sea.

Luck was with us: the Juan de Fuca Cottages in Sequim had a vacancy, and they were exactly as she envisioned — old enough to be "vintage" but clean and well-maintained — and just steps from the water.

The dark line on the horizon is Dungeness Spit. Closer, it looks like this:
Dungeness Spit
The spit is part of a national wildlife refuge, and there is a county park adjacent for camping. If you were to walk 5.5 miles along the beach, you would come to a lighthouse.

Sandy bluffs inland from the spit
This eroded bluff is what creates the spit. As sand erodes from its face, wind and tidal action move the sand along the spit's outer edge in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, depositing grains as they go.

Beach shelter on Dungeness Spit
After a day in the Hurricane Ridge area (more to come), we moved on west and got serious cottage envy at Lake Crescent, also in Olympic National Park.
The Singer Tavern Cottages at Crescent Lake. There are others.
If you want to visit Olympic Park in the laid-back manner, you can rent various cottages at the old resort of Lake Crescent.
Lake Crescent Lodge
The lodge is the original Singer's (or Singer) Lake Crescent Tavern from 1916, a hotel really, back when guests arrived by ferry.

We can dream.

September 16, 2013

Parkitecture at Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park

The "Stockade Group" Visitor Center
The "Yakima Park Stockade Group" buildings at Sunrise were built in the 1930s–1940s, modeled consciously on frontier blockhouses. I think that they would look familiar to a Roman legionary in first-century Germania as well — who thought that the roots of the National Park Service ran that deep?
Sunrise Lodge, side view
Sunrise Lodge was built in 1931, originally as part of a never-competed resort hotel. Behind me — but un-photographed — was a parkitectural "comfort station" that is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

July 23, 2013

Dying for Beauty

The Wave (Wikimedia Commons)
You have heard of the Darwin Awards. I propose the Everett Ruess Award.

Ruess was a young California artist who sought inspiration in the southern Utah canyonlands beginning in 1931, nearly dying of dehydration at least once, before he disappeared for good in 1934. "Beauty" was one of his favorite words.

Lately the fatal lure is a rock formation called the Wave. Three people have died this month hiking to and from it.
The Wave is a richly colored geological upheaval, its fiery swirls emblazoned on postcards, posters, maps and computer screensavers. It is said to be one of the most photographed spots in North America.
Ironically, you have to apply for a permit to hike there, it is so popular.
Half of the 20 daily permits are doled out on a walk-in basis at a visitor's center in Kanab, with up to 100 people showing up for each one. For many, it's a lifetime opportunity that can encourage risk-taking during the hottest time of the year.

July 21, 2013

Colorado's Redwoods

The Big Stump, a fossilized redwood, was once the pride of a commercial resort at the site. The tree would have been a "little" larger than the ponderosa pines now growing around it.
Taller and faster-growing, Colorado's redwoods were in all respects better than those in California — except for having flourished 34 million years ago, before a series of volcanic eruptions suffocated them.

Flash forward to the 1870s, when residents of Colorado Springs could take an excursion train west into the mountains and wander through the petrified logs exposed on the ground, chipping away bits to take home and place on the mantelpiece or in their flower beds.

Visitors chipped away so industriously that the logs are gone, except for those still buried. A generation later, two adjacent commercial establishments controlled the fossil beds, each one part dude ranch, part museum, and part fresh-air resort.

Only in 1969 did the area become the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, which also showcases fossils of quite a few plants, vertebrates, and invertebrates, preserved in volcanic ash.

M. and I stopped by in June 2013 for the first time in (non-geological) ages. We found the new park visitor center and more trails and signage than we remembered.
Too many visitors don't get far from the vistor center. That is actually a stump in the pit, surrounded by a supporting band of steel.

I poop on your signage.
The easy half-mile Ponderosa Loop Trail includes photos of the previous commercial establishments at the fossil bed, as well as a time line of geology and life at the site. Here a modern dinosaur appears to have left some comments on one of the signs.

The monument covers 6,000 acres, and there are 14–15 miles of hiking trails, depending which brochure you read.

We walked another three-mile loop, which crossed the Homestake Pipeline, part of Colorado Springs' water system. The pipeline carries water from a collection system near Aspen, with its flow shared by Aurora and Colorado Springs.

(It's amazing how many Springs residents think their water comes from snow on Pike's Peak, and Aurorans probably don't think at all about it.)

Despite its significance in our hydraulic civilization, the pipeline rates no signage on the hiking trail. Apparently it does not fit the narrative of the fossil beds.

The cleared strip marks the route of the Homestake Pipline through the hills west of Colorado Springs. It was built just before the national monument was created.

February 07, 2013

Happy Ninth Blogiversary

It was nine years ago today that I made my first post on this blog, which actually began as a class blog for my nature-writing class.

That first post included a photo of yet another ex-student, Mario Medina, in his historical persona as an interpreter at Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site near La Junta, Colorado.

When I made the blog my own, I removed the students' content — they had long since all moved on anyway.

November 24, 2012

What People Are Missing from this Story?

The view from the porch on a cove in Table Rock Lake.
M. and I are spending the long Thanksgiving weekend with her siblings and their spouses in a rented "chalet" on Table Rock Lake in southern Missouri—all imitation log siding, cathedral ceilings, stuffed animals (M. not too keen on them), and rustic lodge-themed art of the Hobby Lobby variety.

It's been all feasting and sleep, which is what we needed after the stressful last two weeks.

Yesterday she and I broke off from the group and hiked around in Table Rock State Park, adjacent to the big 1950s dam that created this impoundment with its 700-plus miles of shoreline. (Purposes: flood control on the White River, hydropower, recreation.)

Then we visited the Corps of Engineers visitor center at the dam. The historical exhibit began with the Osage and other Indian tribes . . . and then suddenly it was 1954. Nothing from the early 1800s until the 1950s.

Apparently the people living here then were just "dumb hillbillies" not worth memorializing except for a brief video appearance as victims in the Great Flood of 1927.

Assuming that eminent domain was employed to get the land that would be flooded, some people must have left their farms and businesses in sorrow, cursing the federal goverment.

Perhaps others took the money with delight and never looked back. Maybe others sold to private buyers for what seemed like a lot of money, while the buyer made much much more selling what would become prime lakeside building lots.

Whatever the stories are, the Corps of Engineers is not telling them.

There is a parallel with the National Park Service erasing history in Shenandoah National Park:
After all, the Blue Ridge dwellers were not only different from the mainstream of American society, but, according to one contemporary journalist, their existence in the dark hollows represented "about the limit of destitution at which human life could be sustained." Park promoters and government officials publicized the fact that "these people will be moved to more civilized regions of agriculture and industry." 
I suspect that the attitude of officialdom towards the Ozarks residents was much the same, but you will not find out at the Dewey Short Visitor Center.

February 29, 2012

"Re-Taking the Landscape"

In Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona, tourists are escorted by armed rangers in to protect them against Mexican smugglers.
"The real problem we have with safety is drug dealing, not the people looking for work," [Interpretive ranger Ken] Hires said from a loudspeaker system at the front of the van. Three different border patrol agents riding ATVs raced by, waving. "What we are trying to do is retake this landscape so we can all be free to be out here," he added.

Twenty minutes later, the vans arrived at Quitobaquito, where two young men toting heavy M14 rifles were already waiting. The rangers arrived at the springs two hours earlier to scour the area and make sure no one was hiding.
The Park Service does not want the area re-made to favor security issues. On other other hand, it has to be kept secure to protect both legitimate visitors and the ecosystem.