More on Mr. T (bflying in parks)

Mark Walker mwalker at
Tue Sep 2 14:49:19 EDT 1997

Kenelm wrote:

> I may have missed something--but the fact remains that, whether or not
> the law makes sense (not all that much, in most cases) it has been illegal
> to collect insects (and plants, and rocks, etc.) in National Parks with-
> out a permit for decades. I discovered this back in the 1950's when a
> very polite ranger informed me that I should not be attempting to collect
> butterflies on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which I was trying to do in
> happy ignorance. Ever since then I have obtained permits--and thus have
> only had to hide my net from tourists--not from Park rangers.
> 	So yes--the newspaper article was full of hype, as most such
> articles are these days. But Mr. T. a) should not have been collecting
> in National Parks, and b) if he was that knowledgeable a collector
> should have known better. If he really did try to hide his net, he
> obviously did know better. Just because the newspaper is wrong does
> not make Mr. T. right...

When will I learn that short and terse is not appropriate for the Internet?

My remark about hiding my net was made to emphasize my disgust at the ranger's
(and author's) assumption that _net_hiding_ is an admission of guilt.  Net
hiding is an unfortunate response to _anti_collecting_ sentiment that only
grows exponentially following such absurd and misinformed reporting.  To assume
that the man in question was poaching and disguising himself as an amateur
collector based on his impulse to hide his net would be unreasonable.  To
assume that he knew better and thought he could get away with his amateur
collecting in the N.P.'s is reasonable.  To consider that he grossly
underestimated the likely consequences of his collecting behavior is logical,
based on his willingness to collect in the N.P.'s to begin with.  The bottom
line here is that if he really were interested in poaching valuable species, he
wouldn't have been touring the N.P.'s.  My guess is that he really wanted to
check out a few Giant Sequoia's.

Mark Walker.

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