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...
...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...
I think there's just some miscommunication. Read my post again. I subdivided my post between services and upkeep.
The parks were already working with a shortage. (So they say.)
Really though, how many SERVICES do you need in a park? Almost all parks are self-guided. You just need a couple rangers at the visitor's center. UPKEEP will probably suffer though, as will many ranger run programs.
I have no doubt that the parks need people and money. I was more or less talking about SERVICES. And don't get the impression that I am in any way happy about budget cuts. I'm simply saying that the parks won't close just because they can't offer as many SERVICES. We (the tourists) can still make our way around CW parks. (I assume that the first things to be cut will be tourist SERVICES.) Yet, upkeep will suffer as well. I don't include Park Rangers as those who cut the grass, trim trees, etc., although I'm sure they do some of that. They also need Park Rangers to "police" each park.
You don't need certified Rangers to run the bookstores, cafes, visitor information, etc.
Of course to save money, they can do what a lot of other places do and just hire illegal immigrants to do the upkeep. (That's tongue in cheek.)
Hopefully I made myself more clear and not clear as mud. And if I thought someone was saying that parks don't need a lot of money or a lot of work, I wouldn't worry about offending them.
Last edited on Fri Feb 10th, 2006 06:08 pm by