An organization of retired National Park Service professionals took a dim view of the new law, suggesting that a visitor to Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Virginia is now free to carry a gun, or that anyone riding a Denali shuttle bus could find herself sitting next to a well-armed fellow visitor. The implication was that this is scary.
At Wolf Trap, maybe. On a Denali shuttle, less so.
It could be disconcerting to see firearms where there were none before, whether in a theater or on a bus. But Alaskans have a long tradition of taking firearms into the wilderness for protection even when they're not hunting. It's not unusual to see people out in the woods carrying sidearms, shotguns or rifles. Even those who don't carry guns generally take the sight in stride.Besides that, 10 of Alaska's national parks where hunting is allowed already allow firearms. The changes will take place at three of the most visited parks -- Denali, Glacier Bay and Katmai.
In the words of Mr. Spock, "A difference that makes no difference is no difference." Alaskans are already armed; no big deal.
I noted last summer, as my wife & I returned from a hike to Byron Glacier, that my sidearm drew a dark glower from a tourist as she exited a bus in the parking lot. I smiled & waved; she was still 100 feet from the head of the trail, where the sign read: "Warning: now entering bear country".
Perhaps she thought bears are like those at the local zoo, or maybe Winnie the Pooh. May her education be a gentle one; my pistol is for bears or trolls, not tourists. Sheesh.
Update: I posted this around 12:15; at 1:13, the National Park Service here in Anchorage visited the site. Sorry to disappoint, guys - no threats, automatic weapons, firefights, or illicit anything(s) for you to find.
I don't know what's ickier - the fact they felt the need to check it out, or the monitoring system that lets them know when a local posts anything with the word "parks" in it.
Clearly, some animals are more equal than others.
UPDATE #2: And, at 3:31 p.m., a site visit from the Dept. of the Interior. Clearly, there must be something interesting about this little blog.