Sunday, January 29, 2012

Another College Using "A Park Ranger's Life"

I just recently found that Union College located in Lincoln, Nebraska recommends A Park Ranger's Life on their International Rescue and Relief Page and have included the book in their campus library.

Recognition of my book by colleges and universities is increasing leaving me honored and surprised.  You can learn how to order a copy of A Park Ranger's Life: Thirty Two Years Protecting Our National Parks to the right on this page.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Park Ranger Margaret Anderson's Memorial Service

You can go to this web site to view video excerpts from yesterday's Memorial Service for National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson who was killed in the line of duty on New Year's Day.  I viewed these with a large lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.

May Margaret rest in peace with the knowledge that she did her duty saving the lives of  others.  Let us never forget her sacrifice nor that of her family.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fund for Margaret Anderson's Family Now Set Up

A fund has been established for individuals to provide financial assistance for the family of slain National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson.  Her family has requested that donations be made to this fund rather than the purchase of flowers.

Below is taken from the National Park Service's Morning Report;

 The family asks that donations be made in lieu of flowers. They will be used to help Eric
raise their two girls. Donations should be sent to KeyBank, P.O. Box 159,
Eatonville, WA 98328. Checks should be made out to the Margaret Anderson
Donation Account.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Following Murder of National Park Ranger Media Focuses On Dangers Of The Job

The murder of National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson has sparked a sudden interest from the media on the dangers of the job.  Numerous articles are appearing in national newspapers, websites, and on TV.  Here is one of the better ones I have perused from the Washington Post.

I find this of interest since the most common remark I here from non-park rangers who have read my book is that they had no idea of how dangerous the job was.

It is tragic and sad that it takes another death of a National Park Ranger to bring these facts to nationwide attention.  I am concerned that with impending additional budget cuts to come decisions will be made that will further place in harms way the Park Rangers serving today.  In the past cutting of budgets normally resulted in reduced staffing, failure to replace worn out equipment such as vehicles and radio systems, cuts to training, and limited access to new and improved technology to safely do the job.

I do not argue that our Government spends more than it should and cuts need to be made.  I just hope that politicians and managers consider the safety of people working in dangerous situations before making blanket reductions.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sense Of Loss Of A National Park Ranger

I can never know the pain and sorrow that is now inflicted on the family of Margaret Anderson.  Her close friends and co-workers are sharing in this grief filled emotional roller coaster.

Although I no longer wear the green and gray of a National Park Ranger, those colors still run strong in my blood and Margaret’s death takes one more piece of my sense of sanity in the world.  I believe I speak for every present and past Park Ranger when I say that the loss of Margaret Anderson has reverberated through us all and left an indelible mark on our hearts.

Eventually there will be opportunities for contributions to be made to aid Margaret’s family in caring for her husband and two young daughters she has left behind.  I will pass this information on when it becomes available.  I hope many of you can find a way to help out.  In the mean time, let us not forget the ultimate sacrifice made by Margaret Anderson doing what she dedicated her life to that was for the benefit of every one of us.

After working in law enforcement as a National Park Ranger for more than thirty two years I have developed a patina of cynicism and do not normally find sympathy for anyone who would kill another human let alone a law enforcement officer.  In this case I do find myself reflecting on the second edge of this blade stabbed into society’s heart in that the suspected shooter, Benjamin Colton Barnes, appears to have been a young, troubled, military veteran of the war in Iraq.  This is another tragic story in itself.

When such appalling events occur in National Parks many feel a deep concern as if it happened in their own back yard for the National Parks do belong to all Americans.

My thoughts here are rambling, but I find that being a condition of my grief.  Today and everyday may we all say a prayer of support for Margaret Anderson’s family.
US Park Ranger Margaret Anderson

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Suspected Killer of National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson Found Dead

A body of a man now identified as the suspected killer of National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson has been found in Mount Rainier National Park.

Monday, January 2, 2012

National Park Ranger Murdered In The Line Of Duty

National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson was shot and killed in the line of duty yesterday morning at Mount Rainier National Park.  This senseless murder happened when a vehicle was stopped after running through a tire chain check point.

This is taken from this National Park Service Morning Report:

Mount Rainier NP
Ranger Shot And Killed By Assailant

Ranger Margaret Anderson, 34, was shot and killed on the road to Paradise
at Mount Rainier National Park on Sunday morning.  As of this time (early
on Monday), the assailant is still at large and a manhunt is underway.

The incident began when a car failed to stop at a required tire chain
checkpoint. A ranger tried to pull the car over, and, when it failed to
stop, Anderson established a road block with her vehicle.  The assailant
jumped from his car and opened fire with a shotgun, fatally wounding her.
He then fled on foot into the woods. Rangers and law enforcement officers
from various agencies responded.  The Pierce County SWAT team arrived on
scene and they, too, were fired upon while rendering aid to Anderson.

Law enforcement officers closed the park road, evacuated park visitors from
Longmire, and locked down Paradise, with all visitors in the area taking
refuge in the Jackson Visitor Center.  There were 125 park visitors and 17
park staff in the visitor center as of late on Sunday.  The visitor center
has a restaurant to provide food, restrooms and water, and law enforcement
officers are on hand to provide protection.

The search for the murderer continued into the night, with fixed wing
aircraft using forward looking infrared to scan the ground.  There are a
more than 100 officers from a variety of agencies assisting with the
manhunt for the shooter, including National Park Service, Pierce County
Sheriff, FBI, Washington State Patrol, US Forest Service, City of Enumclaw,
and Lewis County Sheriff.

Mount Rainier National Park will remain closed today.

Anderson served at Mount Rainier for four years.  She is survived by her
husband, also a park ranger at Mount Rainier, and by two young children.

Director Jarvis issued this statement early today:

“Yesterday morning, Park Ranger Margaret Anderson was shot and killed while
making a traffic stop at Mount Rainier National Park.  As I write this late
Sunday night, the murderer is still at large in the park, which has been
closed.  We are working closely with the FBI and local law enforcement to
protect visitors and staff and to track down Margaret’s killer and bring
him to justice.

“This is a heartbreaking, senseless tragedy.  Margaret was just 34 years
old. She and her husband Eric, who is also a park ranger at Mount Rainier,
have two young children.  Margaret was killed while doing her job –
protecting the visiting public on one of the park’s busiest days of the

“Last week, we mourned the death of U.S. Park Police Officer Mike Boehm,
who suffered a heart attack while responding to a serious incident in
Washington, DC.  Mike left behind a wife and a son.

“Our hearts go out to both families, and I ask you to keep them in your
thoughts and prayers in the hard days ahead.

“As updates from Rainier are available we will share them with all
employees through InsideNPS.  These losses are painful reminders of the
risks faced by National Park Service employees every day. Please be careful
out there and watch out for each other.”

My family's heartfell condolences go out to Margaret's family, friends, and co-workers

For more news coverage go to: