Ranger Kathryn's Arches

April 4, 2010

The shiny patina wears thin

Metaphor for how I feel today?


The day-in, day-out demands of working with selfish human beings is beginning to wear on me. In a perfect world, everyone would read signs, respect the resource, and obey the golden rule. In an imperfect one, like the one I work in…

… parents let their children run wild and unsupervised over our fragile biological soil crust.

… weekend warriors with a length of rope end up needing to be rescued because of their own foolishness and out-of-shape-ness.

… people in a pick-up lie about the ATV in the back of it, and their intentions. They told the entrance booth that they would not use it, and then came to me at the desk to inquire about ATV trails. ATVs are illegal in every national park.

… a throng of photographers descends on a scenic overlook, disregarding the conspicuous sign to please stay on the trail and off the crust.

… a party acquiring a free backcountry permit racks up hundreds of dollars of potential fines for flagrant violation of regulations that were clearly explained to them; it appears that they had no intention of obeying them in the first place, but just needed access to the climbing route.

I don’t know. It’s Easter. Maybe I’m just missing my kids.


  1. you need to channel all that negativity…… what do you think is going to happen when you get 3 brothers out there????

    Comment by john — April 5, 2010 @ 6:02 am | Reply

    • I’m going to be off duty, John! Being in charge of my three brothers’ safety and well-being and entertainment will be a welcomed change.

      Comment by kath56ryn — April 5, 2010 @ 7:14 am | Reply

  2. . . . and you are still Ranger Kathryn.
    And that makes the world a better place.
    And that’s the truth.

    Comment by LeRoque — April 5, 2010 @ 8:58 am | Reply

  3. I love to take photos of stuff and often worry that I’m in a part of the park I shouldn’t be in. So I have parks where I do certain types of photography. My local state park, for instance, one ranger told me that I could go anywhere in the park and so I do, which is where I get most of my deer photos. Other parks like Wyalusing which is situated above the bluffs of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers, I don’t go where ever I feel like because of cross-contamination of invasive species and the overall unstableness of the park — mostly I stay on the trails because I’d probably get lost. I try and for the most part do follow the golden rule, Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but foot prints. Sorry to read the weekend caused you such stress. As always my hikes took me away from mine.

    Comment by Randy Roberts — April 5, 2010 @ 12:03 pm | Reply

    • People like you are the least of my worries. You are responsible, informed, and have a conscience. These will continue to serve you well and will go a long way in protecting the places you frequent. Thanks for caring about your parks, Randy.

      Comment by kath56ryn — April 5, 2010 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

  4. This is Chris – Finally have a chance to catch up with your blog after working Holy Week at a chuch. Whew!Yes,it can get discouraging seeing
    what people can do in public parks. Up the shore, we often conspicuously pick up litter and make sure our collection bag is visible as we hike out from a river. Saving the parks one beer can at a time. (Illusions of power, here?)

    Comment by jim youngman — April 6, 2010 @ 6:14 am | Reply

  5. Well, K, you did read Desert Solitaire, so you can’t say you haven’t been warned! 🙂
    Here in Yellowstone, which is really just the top of a sleeping volcano, we not only have people going out of bounds, but often they break through the crust into boiling water or mud which proves quite painful and often deadly. We also have people ignoring the admonishment that the animals are wild, like the guy from Texas who walked up to a fully-antlered bull elk, held out his point & shoot and flashed the elk in the face. As he was walking back to his car, reviewing his photo, one of those majestic antlers pierced his torso – deeply – from behind. Perhaps park personnel could screen visitors with a foolishness test at the entrance gate…

    Comment by Red Bird — April 6, 2010 @ 10:00 pm | Reply

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