My first job out of college was an officer in DNR for the State of Maryland. I was commissioned in 1979 and took my first assignment in Central Maryland. I know first hand the balance a good Ranger needs to maintain the laws and be a conservationist, while helping people with their recreation needs. That’s why I can't seem to let go of what’s happening to the very people who look out for Assateague. I was at the fling and know of the citations given for a dog playing on the beach. I heard about the citations for falling asleep at 6:00 am in a chair with baited rods, forced to take down an empty tent, forced out of the back of a jeep when riding safely down the beach. While I was a State officer not Federal, the job should not be that different. Law enforcement by a Ranger was a tool used as a last resort. What happened? I myself have fished Assateague since 1977. I always followed the laws and even assisted the rangers on more then one occasion. My feelings up until this year were the Rangers are there to assist you if needed, and to keep the public safe. If there was a need for law enforcement, then they were there. Now I feel like there is a Ranger behind every sand dune waiting for somebody to break a law, any law, and then write the citation. That’s not what I was taught, and not my idea of a Rangers place in the Federal Park system.
I have long since left the state of Maryland, but I'm still employed in the fishing and hunting field. As luck would have it I'm deeply connected with the Maryland Legislative Sportsman Caucus, (feel free to look us up on line). I relayed my concerns to Senator John Astle, who is in the leadership roll of the Caucus, and fishing and hunting companion. He advised me to let Chief Ranger Mike Anderson know of the issues we are facing. Should the Chief Ranger not attempt to correct or at least explain the issues, please let him know the names of the Rangers involved.
Being a new member to this board, I will not do anything until I hear from this forum. The last thing I want to do is open Pandora's Box.
Thanks for letting me vent.