National park rangers say inadequate funding is adding new risks to their jobs. Crime in parks is on the rise, and most parks don't have the money to beef up their law enforcement. To publicize the problem, the U.S. Park Rangers Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police has listed the top 10 most dangerous national parks.
Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus
National Monument, located along the Mexican border 120 miles west
of Tucson, ranks first. Other dangerous Western parks include
Saguaro on the outskirts of Tucson, Big Bend, Yosemite, Lake Mead
National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon.
Pipe Superintendent Bill Wellman says he doesn't think his park
deserves to be number one, but acknowledges that it has a place in
the top 10. Up to 1,000 illegal immigrants pass through the park
every day, he says, and 60,000 to 80,000 pounds of marijuana were
seized within its boundaries last year. Between five and eight
rangers patrol the 330,000-acre park, says Wellman: "It's about
half of what we need to handle the
The ranger group, which represents a
majority of the 1,600 commissioned Park Service rangers, surveyed
its members and then offered the results. Randall Kendrick, the
group's executive director, says Organ Pipe's predicament isn't
unusual. Rangers routinely struggle with radio "dead zones," drive
inferior patrol cars and fire engines, and police vast areas
without backup officers.
Contact the Fraternal
Order of Police, U.S. Park Rangers Lodge at 800/407-8295 or