I Am a Park Ranger

Tomorrow a House Republicans will have the opportunity to question National Park Service chief Jonathan Jarvis for his handling of a situation that Republicans themselves caused. I trust that Jarvis will stand up for his agency during those few moments where he is allowed to get a word in over the grandstanding and deflection that will most assuredly be on full display.

If mistakes were made than so be it. No doubt the Park Service will examine their policies and try to improve their management during these times of crisis, but I refuse to join the outpouring of vitriol that continues to be directed at some of the most dedicated and passionate federal employees that we have. Update: A few more thoughts to consider.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

Purchase your copy today!

14 comments… add one
  • Brad Oct 18, 2013 @ 3:24

    People doing what they want at national parks in the name of “it’s the people’s park” is the height of irresponsibility and anarchy.

  • Marian Latimer Oct 15, 2013 @ 20:02

    I feel sad and scared about this. A couple of months ago, I very excitedly advised a friend in the UK, who has had her family all over the world, in fact, several years, when they were living in Thailand, doing humanitarian work in terrible upheaval, to send her adult daughter, studying ballet in Pittsburgh, to Gettysburg and my friends there would show her around. She just got the US, after studying at the Kirov in Russia. I’m beginning to think that we look like the good old days of the USSR where the masses come out and demonstrate over bread and who knows what else. People are tearing up our greatest national treasures like it’s devil’s night in Detroit (and this is not a new thing, either, and I’m not bashing Detroit, I’m from there) because they have been told the people who work there are the bad guys by the actual bad guys.

    The more I think about it, it’s too bad we don’t have a parliamentary system where we can have a vote a no confidence and throw the clowns out. Why do we have to wait another year? This is nothing short of a coup.

  • Linda W. Oct 15, 2013 @ 15:47

    Upon reading that people are ignoring barricades and entering “their” parks, I think of naughty teenagers having a party while parents are away. After all, it’s “their” home, and if some things are broken and some trash strewn around, what’s the big deal? Oh wait! Those hoodlums that crashed the party, the pet that was injured… totally unpredictable, right?

    • M.D. Blough Oct 15, 2013 @ 18:13

      Linda-I thoroughly agree. I wonder if the people who feel that they can trample over anything and everything because it is “their” park, etc give the slightest consideration to whether or not they are damaging what they think is their possession. The sad thing is that they are wrong. We are the current beneficiaries of a trust that was set up with the creation of the national parks and National Park Service. The Organic Act creating the NPS made it clear that the NPS administers this trust not only for current generations but is to preserve and protect this for future generations. In some cases, like Gettysburg National Military Park the trust was created even earlier (and merged into the national park system). It was for Gettysburg that the Supreme Court in the decision of U S v. GETTYSBURG ELECTRIC R. CO., 160 U.S. 668 (1896) http://laws.findlaw.com/us/160/668.html (Emphasis added] established the precedent that battlefield preservation was a public use for which the federal government could constitutionally use its power of eminent domain to protect land from commercial development and make it federal property. As the Supreme Court stated:

      >>The end to be attained, by this proposed use, as provided for by the act of congress, is legitimate, and lies within the scope of the constitution. The battle of Gettysburg was one of the great battles of the world. The numbers contained in the opposing armies were great; the sacrifice of life was dreadful; while the bravery, and, indeed, heroism, displayed by both the contending forces, rank with the highest exhibition of those qualities ever made by man. The importance of the issue involved in the contest of which this great battle was a part cannot be overestimated. The existence of the government itself, and the perpetuity of our institutions, depended upon the result. Valuable lessons in the art of war can now be learned [160 U.S. 668, 682] from an examination of this great battlefield, in connection with the history of the events which there took place. Can it be that the government is without power to preserve the land, and properly mark out the various sites upon which this struggle took place? Can it not erect the monuments provided for by these acts of congress, or even take possession of the field of battle, in the name and for the benefit of all the citizens of the country, FOR THE PRESENT AND FOR THE FUTURE? Such a use seems necessarily not only a public use, but one so closely connected with the welfare of the republic itself as to be within the powers granted congress by the constitution for the purpose of protecting and preserving the whole country. It would be a great object lesson to all who looked upon the land thus cared for, and it would show a proper recognition of the great things that were done there on those momentous days. By this use the government manifests for the benefit of all its citizens the value put upon the services and exertions of the citizen soldiers of that period. Their successful effort to preserve the integrity and solidarity of the great republic of modern times is forcibly impressed upon every one who looks over the field. The value of the sacrifices then freely made is rendered plainer and more durable by the fact that the government of the United States, through its representatives in congress assembled, appreciates and endeavors to perpetuate it by this most suitable recognition. Such action on the part of congress touches the heart, and comes home to the imagination of every citizen, and greatly tends to enhance his love and respect for those institutions for which these heroic sacrifices were made. The greater the love of the citizen for the institutions of his country, the greater is the dependence properly to be placed upon him for their defense in time of necessity, and it is to such men that the country must look for its safety. The institutions of our country, which were saved at this enormous expenditure of life and property, ought to and will be regarded with proportionate affection. Here upon this battlefield is one of the proofs of that expenditure, and the sacrifices are rendered more obvious and more easily appreciated when such a battlefield is preserved by the government [160 U.S. 668, 683] at the public expense. The right to take land for cemeteries for the burial of the deceased soldiers of the country rests on the same footing, and is connected with, and springs from, the same powers of the constitution. It seems very clear that the government has the right to bury its own soldiers, and to see to it that their graves shall not remain unknown or unhonored.

      No narrow view of the character of this proposed use should be taken. Its national character and importance, we think, are plain. The power to condemn for this purpose need not be plainly and unmistakably deduced from any one of the particularly specified powers. Any number of those powers may be grouped together, and an inference from them all may be drawn that the power claimed has been conferred.

      It is needless to enlarge upon the subject, and the determination is arrived at without hesitation that the use intended, as set forth in the petition in this proceeding, is of that public nature which comes within the constitutional power of congress to provide for by the condemnation of land.<<

  • James Kabala Oct 15, 2013 @ 13:00

    Unlike many people on both sides of this issue who have their minds pre-made up, I am trying to make an honest effort to find out the truth. Are the claims that the NPS is closing non-NPS-owned facilities true? If not, how did such rumors get started? If so, what is the justification?

    • Kevin Levin Oct 15, 2013 @ 13:18

      Well, I challenge you to find evidence that supports some of the wilder claims made about why the NPS instituted certain policies at specific sites. If you are looking for the origin of this I suggest starting here.

    • Keith Muchowski Oct 15, 2013 @ 15:17

      There are over 400 national parks and monuments. Perhaps the Park Service did make a few errors here and there, closing an access route here or there that prudence might have suggested leaving open. You do realize that these were skeleton crews working long hours, right? The Service’s primary responsibility is to protect these priceless resources and that is why they err on the side of caution. That’s a far cry from a conspiracy.

  • Andy Hall Oct 15, 2013 @ 12:49

    We should start a pool on which Teahadist will compare Park Rangers at the WWII Memorial to Nazis who were “just following orders.” My money’s on Blake “Duckie” Farenthold, but James Lankford, Louie “No Shit, You’re Really a Lawyer?” Gohmert, and Scott Dejarlais are strong possibilities, too.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 15, 2013 @ 13:42

      We get the representatives we deserve.

      • pat young Oct 15, 2013 @ 14:19

        I don’t deserve this.

        • M.D. Blough Oct 15, 2013 @ 17:16

          I can’t answer for anyone else, but I’ve been gerrymandered out of a say in who represents me in the U.S. House of Representatives, even though I consistently vote in Congressional elections.

  • Rob Baker Oct 15, 2013 @ 12:22

    I refuse to join the outpouring of vitriol that continues to be directed at some of the most dedicated and passionate federal employees that we have.

    Amen. It is unbelievably pathetic how political rhetoric is being used to demonize those that maintain national treasures. As a public school teacher that knows the hard hand of furlough, I hope Jarvis exposes those grandstanding radicals for what they really are….morons.

  • M.D. Blough Oct 15, 2013 @ 12:07

    It infuriates me to see the contempt with which these self-proclaimed “patriots” are treating people who have dedicated their lives to caring for these places and ensuring that it is there not only for the current generation but for future generations. No one gets rich working for the National Park Service. I wonder how many of those who proclaim that these places are “the people’s’ and declare, because of that, they can disregard the notices that are posted have volunteered at a park, historic site, etc. and/or belonged to a Friends organization; have contributed to the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) or National Park Foundation or more narrowly focused groups like the Civil War Trust, Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, or the Richmond Battlefields Association. All of this involves lay people working with the NPS to provide the optimal experience and to preserve land and historic buildings that the NPS doesn’t have the money to acquire, etc.

  • Buck Buchanan Oct 15, 2013 @ 11:20


    I ccould not agree more. Its a disgrace the way these men and women have been treated. A good friend and his wifde both work for Petersburg NBP. Both have been furloughed for 22 days each this summer and since 1 OCT.

    They didn’t ask for this…and they serve their country every much as I do as an Army Civilian and when I was an Infantry officer.

    They deserve better.

    We, their fellow citizens,, owe them more.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *