'Unfriended' by National Parks | Letters
July 14, 2011 · 11:34 AM
Our Parks have ‘unfriended’ us
When my husband and I moved to the island, we couldn?t believe our luck at having purchased property so close to American Camp.
The National Park was a welcoming neighbor to us, and we have spent literally thousands of hours there over the past five years.
I don’t believe there is an inch of the many gracious trails that my foot has not touched. I have walked there almost daily and enjoyed the varied landscape, the way it all visually changes along with our changeable weather and throughout the various times of day.
Over the years, our many house guests have gloried in the beauty and accessibility of the park and appreciated the friendliness of the rangers and volunteers in the park.
But that has changed.
First came the signs peppered throughout the park threatening up to six months imprisonment if my dog’s leash is seven-feet long instead of six feet. Those signs greet me at many locations throughout my 1-2 hour hikes now.
Then came the several accounts of the gun-toting law enforcement ranger reminding locals and visitors of those dire consequences as he rests the palm of his hand on the butt of his gun.
What dreadful incidents led to what they must perceive as a necessary show of force against friends of the park?
And now we have surveillance cameras recording our movements through the park?
I no longer feel welcome in American Camp.
Our Park Service, previously a warm and friendly neighbor, has now made me feel like an unwanted trespasser. The outrage I felt at first has been replaced by a deep sadness.
What a loss we have suffered, islanders and visitors alike.
San Juan Island