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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rangers: Park Defenders

Being a park ranger, for the most part, is a fairly stress free job. Interacting with park visitors, living in beautiful settings, having a low cost of living are all benefits of working for the park service. The ability to get away from it all is also a big draw for most park employees.

However, that ability to get away from it all also draws criminals. While national parks are extremely safe, they are not immune from crime. Places like Oregon Pipe National Monument on the Arizona/Mexico border is renown for crime, drug running and human trafficking in particular.

Special park rangers, those trained in law enforcement, are charged with protecting the visiting public from crime, but also protecting the park's natural and cultural resources from damage. Crimes against the public in national parks are rare, although they do happen. However, resource crimes stolen artifacts, poaching, or vandalism are too common.

Protecting the public, as well as protecting our irreplaceable cultural and natural wonders is a fairly unique mission among federal law enforcement. And highly trained, highly skilled, and professional men and women of the National Park Service do an outstanding job.

My new novel, Unleashing Colter's Hell tells the story of Grayson Cole, a Yellowstone ranger, and his efforts to prevent a madman from unleashing hell on earth. Look for it to be out soon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

National Parks Protect More than Natural Wonders

Recently Congress passed the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization act. Within this new legislation is language authorizing the National Park Service at Crater Lake to protect the park's natural soundscapes from intrusive tourist helicopter overflights. I'm thankful that I was able to play a role in this bill's passage. This new protection will insure visitors are able to enjoy the park's natural soundscapes and wildlife without constant helicopter buzz.

Over its 100 year history, the National Park Service has come to understand that its mission is to protect more than natural or cultural wonders. It must also protect visitor experiences and more importantly public safety.

National Parks are some of America's most special places. The Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall, and the Washington Monument protect the cradles and symbols of our democracy. Hundreds of millions of people from around the world visit these sites each year, many in a pilgrimage to be part of America's history. Unfortunately, the high profile of these places and their large crowds also attracts the attention of bad guys.

My new novel Unleashing Colter's Hell is about a terrorist attack on Yellowstone National Park. The book's villain chooses the park for its potential to unleash a devastating blow on America, a stab at the country's very soul. Park Ranger Grayson Cole and FBI agent Dianne Harris are all that stand between the world and Armageddon. The book is slated for release this spring. Look for it soon.

What values and resources do you expect the Park Service to protect?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Parks benefit all

The national park system is comprised of well known sites like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon. Yet, it also includes lesser known jewels like Point Reyes, Devil's Tower, and Fort Vancouver. All total the park system contains nearly 400 sites, sites that contain and protect some of America's most sacred ideas, hopes, places. The founders of the park system envisioned that as America developed, its history unfolded, and scientific understanding deepened, the park system would expand to capture these new chapters in our ongoing story.

Currently, efforts in Washington State are underway to elevate Mount St. Helens to a national park. Adding the volcano to the park system would bestow added prestige to the volcano, attract new visitors, improve the regional economy, provide more stable funding, improve recreation, and better protect irreplaceable natural and cultural wonders. Recently, 100 economists, including three Nobel laureates signed a letter to President Obama detailing the economic benefits of protected lands such as that in the park system.

Unleashing Colter's Hell, my soon to be released novel, is set in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is the world's first national park. Since that time more than 100 countries have followed America's lead and established approximately 1,000 national parks. Some have called the "national park" America's best idea.

Across the country today, community leaders, business owners, recreation enthusiasts, wildlife lovers, and countless others are re-discovering their nearby national treasures and exploring the benefits of adding their sites to the national park system. Several new park bills have been introduced this congress, many could be pass this Fall.

A park system that continues to evolve and expand, can better tell the American story, better reflect the changing face of America.

What benefits do you see from an expanded park system?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Latest Cover Design

Here is the latest cover design for Unleashing Colter's Hell, my new novel. Set in Yellowstone, Unleashing Colter's Hell is about a fanatic sent to the Wyoming wilderness to trigger a Yellowstone eruption, spelling the end of the United States. A lone park ranger named Grayson Cole and Dianne Harris, a rookie FBI agent are all that stand between the world and its destruction.

Look for the book to be out in paperback soon.

Let me know your thoughts on the cover in the comment section.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

60,000 Words!

Just passed 60,000 words in my manuscript for Unleashing Colter's Hell. My current writing focuses on tightening plot lines and filling out characters. Heading toward 70,000 and beyond.

Stay tuned.