View single post by javal1
 Posted: Wed Feb 8th, 2006 01:31 am
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Grumpy Geezer

Joined: Thu Sep 1st, 2005
Location: Tennessee USA
Posts: 1503

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Indy -

  I was really hoping you were posting "tongue-in-cheek", but somehow I don't think you are. I hope you'll allow me to disagree with you in the strongest of terms, and understand that it's not meant as a personal attack, but rather my opinion on your opinion of what a ranger does, and what a National Park needs.

   I'm not sure what fields you've been to, but let's use Gettysburg as an example since that's the best known. When you go there, and gaze across the Wheatfield, site of horrible 2nd day fighting, you see precisely that - a wheat field. When you gaze upon the Peach Orchard, you see just that - an orchard. How do you think they stay like that? What do you think they'd look like without the constant care and nuturing they get from the dedicated staff of rangers and other park workers? When you walk the fields of Picketts Charge, surely you don't expect it to be waist high with weeds and poison ivy. You expect it to somewhat resemble what it appeared to be in 1863. Do you think you could climb to the top of Little Round Top, were it not for the constant cutting and weeding, and path clearance? This takes people - people that dedicate their lives to keeping our history alive. It's not only their passion, but it's also their career. They have to be paid. It takes machinery, which has to be bought. It takes maintenance. And on and on.... And that takes money. And that's where these cuts come from.

The monuments you see, the cannon, the historic houses that sit upon the fields - they don't take care of themselves. I'm not really sure where you got the idea that all a park needs is someone to collect money in the Visitor's Center, but I assure you it's much more than that. Most battlefields have cemetery's which contain the remains of the men we honor. Ever think how much care it takes to keep those cemetery's looking so well-maintained? And that's not even counting the archivists, the archaeologists, the librarians, the firefighters, etc.

I hope others like Calcav will post here and try to explain better than I ever could how much more there is to it than you seem to think there is. Here's a job description for a park ranger:

Park Rangers supervise, manage and perform work in the conservation and use of resources in national parks and other federally-managed areas. Park Rangers carry out various tasks associated with forest or structural fire control; protection of property; gathering and dissemination of natural, historical, or scientific information; development of interpretive material for the natural, historical, or cultural features of an era; demonstration of folk art and crafts; enforcement of laws and regulations; investigation of violations, complaints, trespass/encroachment, and accidents; search and rescue; and management of historical, cultural, and natural resources, such as wildlife, forests, lakeshores, seashores, historic buildings, battlefields, archaeological properties, and recreation areas. They also operate campgrounds, including such tasks as assigning sites, replenishing firewood, performing safety inspections, providing information to visitors, and leading guided tours. Differences in the exact nature of duties depend on the grade of position, the site's size and specific needs.

I also want to point out that "National Parks" means alot more than Civil War Battlefields. Imagine what Yellowstone would like like without the care it gets. So when we talk about cuts in a program that has already run at a shortfall for decades, cuts in the amount of $100 million in a single year, it's very serious. You're correct that we should all pick up our trash while touring, but I implore you to think how much more there is to it than that. Again, none of this is meant as a personal attack, and I hope you won't take it that way. Just my opinion...


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