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NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

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NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby Jesus Malverde » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:40 pm

Hi folks,
I was tooling around the Lassen National Park backcountry last weekend and came across a couple of NPS back country rangers patrolling with holstered pistols. I'm well aware that front country (I hate that term) NPS law enforcement rangers are issued and carry sidearms as standard practice. And I knew that back country rangers were issued handguns, I just didn't think that back country NPS rangers did open carry now. I could be dating myself here, but I thought the NPS back country folks left the guns in the pack. Does anyone know if open carry is a standard practice for NPS back country rangers in all U.S. national parks or does this vary from park to park? Any NPS LE out there? Just curious.

Google searches did not come up with anything specific relating to NPS back country rangers and a standard policy of open carry sidearms. I'd appreciate any feedback.
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Re: NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby ExcitableBoy » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:58 pm

Hi Jesus,

Sorry we haven't spoken since I finished Catholic school, but now is a good time to catch up.

After Mike Gauthier left Mt Rainier as head climbing ranger to take a prestigious position in Washington D.C., the next head climbing ranger, Stefan Loftgren, told me that in order to keep his job he had to train and be certified as an LEO (law enforcement officer). This was due to budget cuts, basically all rangers had to do double duty. As a result he open carried.

The long standing, recently retired, head of North Cascades National Park, Kelly Bush, open carried for as long as I can remember. I've heard all the climbing rangers in NCNP open carry now, but instead of Kelly's imposing nickel plated .357 Magnum revolver, they have gone to less conspicuous Glocks (or Sigs, my source was not sure).

I do remember a time before the budget cuts when back country rangers did not open carry, maybe did not carry at all? I think things have changed, as Stefan said, due to budget cuts and other incidents.
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Re: NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby Jesus Malverde » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:51 pm

EB,
Thanks for the word. Hopefully the Sisters didn't beat you up too much.
Yeah, between Mrs. Grizz, 9/11, the bad guys and los narcotraficantes, I figured times had changed for NPS. I think these rangers were carrying glocks or sigs. Gone are the happy Smoke-the-Bear-hat days..

BTW, be sure to recite your Paternoster.. :)
Padre Jesúsito
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Re: NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby ExcitableBoy » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:08 pm

Have you watched the Yosemite climbing documentary, Valley Uprising? In it Yvon Chouinard made the observation that Yosemite rangers used to have degrees in Biology and now they have degrees in marksmanship.
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Re: NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby Jesus Malverde » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:49 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote: now they have degrees in marksmanship.

Yeah, saw the movie when it first came out.
I dunno. I went through the NPS LE academy years ago and wasn't much impressed by the quality of shooting we were doing at the range. Back then it was .38s and pump shotguns. Now it's glocks and black rifles I'm sure. In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't go down the NPS LE road...
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Re: NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby mrchad9 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:59 pm

It is likely they need to open carry in the backcountry now because they have figured out what the others in the backcountry think of them.
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Re: NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby Jesus Malverde » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:08 pm

mrchad9 wrote:because they have figured out what the others in the backcountry think of them.

It's possible that NPS attitudes are changing towards the public.
I'll admit, NPS did some questionable things during the last congressional budget show down (i.e., making it intentionally more difficult for visitors to use very, very basic park amenities, scenic turnouts, etc).

‘Gestapo tactics’: Yellowstone park rangers held tour group captive
http://dailycaller.com/2013/10/08/gesta ... p-captive/
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Re: NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby Yank-Tank » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:19 am

1- Why is there Rangers patrolling the Mountains?
2- Why do they carry guns
3- Isn't the Mountains normally a place you go to escape the norms of society?
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Re: NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby Jesus Malverde » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:37 am

Yank-Tank wrote:1- Why is there Rangers patrolling the Mountains?
2- Why do they carry guns

Yank,
As you know, things be a little different here in Los Estados Unidos than in Kiwilandia.
Here's a little rip down memory lane for Year Zero (1970) in major changes in U.S. National Park Service law enforcement policy:

How Yosemite Became the Setting of a Chaotic 1970 Riot

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eb2DrV_vz9E

Stoneman Meadow Riot in Yosemite National Park
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VLc9DXDxBo
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Re: NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby Woodswalker » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:58 pm

I remember being in Yosemite in 1972. I was 12. There were hippies everywhere.
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Re: NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby Yank-Tank » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:45 pm

It kind of takes the free out of the land of the free doesn't it?

I guess America is still trying figure out how to solve things without violence.

They could make that whole area into a camp ground, it would probably help organize the mess that it is atm.
Last edited by Yank-Tank on Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby ExcitableBoy » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:48 pm

Woodswalker wrote:I remember being in Yosemite in 1972. I was 12. There were hippies everywhere.


My dad used to take me to the original REI store, on Pine Street in Seattle. Across the street was Feathered Friends. They had Tibetan prayer flags displayed and vaguely seditious looking long haired, bearded malcontents hanging outside. Probably some of the best alpinists in America at the time. I never had the nerve to cross the street and even peek inside.
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Re: NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby Yank-Tank » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:24 am

All you back country folks need to rally together to take the guns from the Rangers. There is absolutely no reason for them to have them on their persons. All they have them for is intimidation and when kids grow up around that style of authority they are at a higher risk of having problems with authority.

If they don't carry guns and they treat everybody nicely, the kids will love them.

I have seen them there in the states and they look like the kind of guys you need to stay very very far away from.
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Re: NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby Fred Spicker » Sun Jul 23, 2017 2:39 pm

Learned while working for the NPS -

There are two uniformed groups - Rangers and Naturalists

Rangers are cops - they are trained and armed law enforcement officers - no requirement for a degree in biology - they are there to enforce the law.

Naturalists are there for information, guiding walks, etc.

The public generally calls all uniformed NPS personnel "Rangers" not knowing the difference.
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Re: NPS Backcountry Rangers with Open Carry Handguns

Postby mrchad9 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:54 pm

Yank-Tank wrote:I have seen them there in the states and they look like the kind of guys you need to stay very very far away from.

This is very true. Frankly they are quite disgusting and without them or the money we are forced to pay to keep them there then the mountains would be a much more enjoyable place.

They are the spawn of an organization that thinks the mountains need to be "maintained".
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