We ultrarunners do a lot of volunteer work for parks, and we sure use them a lot. So in general, I like to think park rangers are our friends.
But sometimes not-- Click for Silicon Valley Mercury News on-line article
Several have deftly commented on the article website (I'm about to also) regarding the obvious hypocrisy of paying rangers to patrol and issue tickets on a day they have closed the parks due to the lack money to keep them open for reasons of safety. (If the previous sentence was confusing, supports my point.) To boot, it wasn't a regular Monday, but a federal holiday, when a large portion of workers are off. We taxpayers have the right to be, and should be, pissed.
picnic area at Alum Rock Park
Great quote of an administrator holding the official line, but speaking out of his ass nonetheless: "Alum Rock Park is a huge park," said Mark Marney, deputy director of the city's parks division. "When you're training on trails in the back area, you could be a long way from any help."
Right-- on all my multi-hour training runs out on remote trails when parks are officially open, I always appreciate the rangers cruising around everywhere, ready to help me out if I trip and hurt myself in those "back areas." (I also love running behind their trucks to breathe in the exhaust, lest I go into withdrawal.) Whatever you say.
I believe in an ordered, safe and civilized society, and respect most laws, but I have a serious problem with irrational and arbitrary rules, especially when their enforcement disproves and negates the specious logic on which they are based.
Well, if Mr. Nguyen is down $100 (hopefully not much more), plus the major hassle of a court date, I know he has found the priceless joy of running long distances on trails communing with nature. No ranger is ever going to take that away from him. I'm guessing he's training for American River as his first 50-miler. (By the way, he's an ultrarunner, not a "scofflaw jogger.") If you ever read this, John, good luck at AR, keep running, and hope to meet you on the trails some time!