Threats, assaults increase at parks
WASHINGTON — Park rangers, wildlife refuge workers and Park Police experienced more assaults and threats from visitors last year than in 2011, according to a group that represents federal resource workers.
A total of 591 incidents were reported by six land and water agencies in 2012, up 38 percent from the previous year, the group says. More than one-quarter of the incidents involved some sort of violence against the employee or officer, the report by the advocacy group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility said.
More than half of 100 reported incidents against Park Police involved violence, the report said, including an incident in which a suspected drunken driver tried to run over a police officer.
The report is to be released on Monday. The report is based on figures obtained from the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and other agencies.
The report says 2012 began violently, with the New Year's Day shooting death of a park ranger at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state. That same month, a note was a left at a Texas wildlife refuge visitor center that included racist remarks and a threat to burn down the center. In September, someone took a shot at a land management worker driving an agency vehicle at an Arizona recreation area.
Other incidents include assaults on law enforcement officers, resisting arrest and threats of violence, including at least one that resulted in a court-imposed restraining order.
Jeff Ruch, executive director of PEER, said the report shows that incidents of violence and abuse directed against rangers and other federal employees are becoming more common.
“The saying ‘It's not easy being green' is becoming truer with each passing year,” Ruch said.
Employees cited a number of factors for assaults or threats, including conflicts over federal land-management policies, growing use of public lands for meth labs and marijuana plantations, and deeper penetration of remote backcountry areas by off-road vehicles.
The figures do not show a clear pattern reflecting rules allowing loaded firearms in national parks and refuges starting in 2010, Ruch said. PEER opposed the law that allowed loaded guns, saying it could increase dangers for park rangers and visitors.
The U.S. Park Police, which patrols national parkland in Washington, New York and San Francisco, experienced a 43 percent jump in assaults and threats.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Name of cop withheld in shooting of motorist in South Carolina
- Food industry players fighting proposed dietary guidelines drop millions on lobbyists
- U.S., Hong Kong researchers develop computer model to examine spread of influenza
- Construction of giant bridges sparks curiosity, high demand for public tours
- Pressure mounts for Biden to join 2016 White House race
- 2 women advance to final phase of Army Ranger training
- State Department accuses top Clinton aide of violations
- 4 dead, 65 sickened in Bronx by Legionella
- Obama’s nuclear deal lobbying sways Democrats
- ‘Fast, Furious’ pistol was sold to gunman in foiled Texas terrorist attack
- Marines finally ready to roll out controversial fighter jet