Neighbor Larry commented that he sensed the park rangers had shifted from being service-oriented and always happy to help to being authoritarian. He was pulled over driving down the entrance to the parking lot at Great Head, had his plate run, license, registration and insurance checked. He felt the ranger was distant and official instead of simply giving a friendly warning. (He did not have his seat belt on.)
Larger numbers of visitors do demand greater vigilance, but along with the acquisition of firearms, the patrolling rangers seem to have aquired a more menacing attitude. While rangers leading programs seem as laid-back and fun as always, the other rangers are giving visitors less than pleasant memories.
This recent incident where park rangers cuffed summer workers and refused to allow them to relieve themselves for hours seems out of line:
A large group of workers celebrated year-end with an after hours party on a nearby mountain, a tradition for many years. This event included a few employees 18- 20 years old, minors, that is bad. It also included alcohol and marijuana. Also bad. They were however quiet, and did not disturb anyone. Rangers saw the cars, no one had called in a complaint, and went up the path to find the group.
According to Joel Perkins, a supervisor at Jordan Pond House who was at the event, after the group had been at the top of Day Mountain for about an hour, two law enforcement rangers appeared and immediately started yelling profanities as they gave orders. They told everyone to sit down and to produce their forms of identification.
One woman asked to be allowed to go pee and was told in strong terms to sit down, Perkins said. She took exception to the rangers’ tone and said, “I’m not a dog.”
This is when one ranger forcibly threw her to the ground, according to Wild and Perkins. Wild’s response to this — “That’s no way to treat a lady!” — resulted in his being thrown to the ground and knocked unconscious.
Perkins and others said that even though Wild had been knocked unconscious and was bleeding, the rangers were dismissive of his injuries and would not let anyone check Wild to see how badly he was hurt.
My teen, who knows one of the girls involved, said this young girl came to work the next day in tears, having had to sit for hours unable to relieve her bladder, and unable to let anyone know what was going on.
So, kids party, we cannot expect it to be condoned. But neither can we condone violence and profanity. We are lucky to have this great park, and to have it managed and cared for, but violence and intimidation should not be used so lightly.
The park rifle range is right here in the creek! We hear guns going off until after dark, so it must be lit. Jane Smith complains about it, she is 83 years old and it keeps her awake. When I was looking for a place to practice firing a trebuchet, I asked if we could use the range, and learned it is for park employees only. It is at the end of an old road, there used to be a farm called Boyd Farm out there. Some old trails go near it, and last time we went through there we noticed that the circular targets had been replaced with human silhouettes.
Nature Log The dark is getting closer, arriving around 7:30pm. We went for a walk in the dark last night, a little hard to see the telltale signs of horses, but we all came home with clean shoes.