Here's a synopsis from the ABCNEWS webpage ...
On June 28, the U.S. Park Rangers Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police released its third annual survey of the 10 Most Dangerous National Parks. The rangers cited increasing problems with illegal immigrants, drug smuggling, and potential terrorist threats.
Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument topped the rangers' list for the third year in a row. Following is the list.
1. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (Arizona): After the August 2002 murder of National Park Service Ranger Kris Eggle, the NPS bolstered its force at the monument with tactical teams, since removed, and has failed to restore staff levels to previous levels.
2. Amistad National Recreation Area (Texas): Amistad shares the same problems of drug and alien smuggling as Organ Pipe. Seven rangers attempt to hold the line on 85 miles of an international border. With days off, it means that only one or two are on duty at any given hour of the day, and at night, the park is turned over to the smugglers.
3. Big Bend National Park (Texas): This park, which has the largest boundary with Mexico, struggles with an overwhelming flow of illegal aliens. According to the rangers, the park has violated NPS orders to hire law enforcement staff before hiring other personnel, leaving the few remaining rangers understaffed.
4. Lake Mead National Recreation Area (Nevada/Arizona): Although Congress has approved funding for 24-hour patrol coverage, this park operates without law enforcement at night due to staff shortages. Lake Mead has at least 17 fewer rangers than in 2002.
5. Coronado National Memorial (Arizona): Although a small park, Coronado is grappling with ever-more-sophisticated drug smuggling networks.
6. Biscayne National Park (Florida): Drug smuggling and illegal fishing are major problems at this park. A potentially devastating vulnerability is its proximity to the Turkey Point nuclear power plant. The plant is located just a mile and a half from park headquarters, and the plant's security zone is almost exclusively on park waters.
7. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia): The understaffed ranger work force is coping with a large number of armed poachers and encroaching suburban crime. The ranger staff has been cut in violation of NPS policy.
8. Delaware Water Gap (New Jersey/Pennsylvania): Once one of the best law enforcement programs in the NPS, Delaware Water Gap now has half the rangers in the field it did in the mid-1990s. At night, only one or two rangers are on patrol.
9. Edison National Historic Site (New Jersey): Growing urban crime is having an impact on this park, leaving rangers outmanned and outgunned. Rangers are denied pepper spray, shotguns and rifles, and access to a dispatch. Edison's irreplaceable treasures are guarded and inaccessible to the public.
10. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming): At the beginning of the 2003 season Yellowstone eliminated its entire seasonal law enforcement staff. This forced rangers into solo patrols on the roads, few patrols in the backcountry, and a dangerous lack of backup in a park with a growing list of incidents to respond to.
For the rangers' full report, which includes a secondary list of "Dishonorable Mentions," visit this Web address: http://www.rangerfop.com/danger03.htm
For more information on the rangers and their efforts to ensure park safety, visit their Web site at www.rangerfop.com