Chris Durden's "apocryphal tales"

Neil Jones neil at
Fri Jun 15 13:53:21 EDT 2001

Chris wrote

> >One LEP SOC officer proudly introduced me to the National Park Special.

> The term I have heard used, mostly in other countries, is "park special".
> This term is used for a small folding net that can  be taken out of, used
> and returned to the pocket without disturbing others in a park or urban
> setting.
>   The term "National Park Special" I have only heard used by apologists
> for NABA, used in their apocryphal tales of unnamed abusive collectors.
>................Chris Durden

The term "National Park Special" has its basis in historical fact. It was
used by a very
 well known crook. The tales are not apocryphal and refer to a real

I apologise for breaking with tradition. One of these guys used to be on
this list and was NOT noted for his polite, rational, sensible, style.
There is a tradition of not mentioning his name for fear he will return.
You can find more in the archive if you have a strong enough stomach or even
taste for the wierd.

This comes from the criminal indictment of the felons Kral, Grinnell and
It is  part of a letter from Kral which sees him discussing with Skalski,
his ( Skalski's)
encounter with law enforcement over illegally collecting specimens of
Metalmark (Apodemia mormo langei). This is a federally protected butterfly
occurs on exactly one site on the planet. (I am deriving the text from a
1995 posting
by John Shuey)

"Really sorry to hear about the problem you ran into
concerning the _A. m. langei_.  By all means, please keep both of the Gaspe
_melissa_ for the
specimen you sent me . . . as I still needed some of these to complete a
series . . . .  If you ever
collect any more rare Leps, I imagine you'll really take precautions.
Myself, I use the BioQuip
pocket net--known as the 'National Park Special' for these tricky spots &
never collect within sight
of anyone even those who don't look the least bit suspicious, I find later
afternoon or early
mornings when few people are around are best for collecting. . . just say
you're a botanist.
Myself, I pretend to be a birdwatcher when collecting adults on the wing,
quickly stashing my net
& using the binoculars when someone approaches.  On two occasions, I used
plain ignorance, when
I was caught, would just say, sorry, I didn't know you couldn't catch bugs
here & just act like a
rank amateur bug collector, they always let you go then. "

Neil Jones- Neil at
"At some point I had to stand up and be counted. Who speaks for the
butterflies?" Andrew Lees - The quotation on his memorial at Crymlyn Bog
National Nature Reserve


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