Yes National Parks have rules, no you don’t have to be obvious about breaking them

Here we go again.

Local Florida reporter Dan Thomas, as aired by CNN,  shows what may seem outrageous if you don’t really know the laws for national parks and preserves, and then goes on to ruin what could be a perfectly interesting story by making into, well, nothing.

Now, while it’s tragic, horrible, deceptive, and disgusting what has happened with the handling of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and BP’s mismanagement and maybe even outright fraud, park services are doing what they are there to do.  Manage, preserve, and maintain the safety of the park.

If I were to pick a single flower and get caught on the wildlife preserve near me, I could not only be reprimanded, but fined.

This particular item from the Gulf Islands National Seashore may seem vague, but is actually applicable when digging below a certain level of the sand, and those who patrol the areas doubtfully are trying to cover anything up since even the BP crew presumably was not supposed to dig below six or so inches.  It states:

Plants and animals are protected within the Seashore.

Well, that’s pretty clear – and, just because BP is a scofflaw outfit, uncaring for the environment, doesn’t mean everyone else should be. During oil spill clean up, thousands of sea turtles were relocated before hatching. Imagine the damage that could have been done if before relocation tons and tons of reporters just decided to go digging around for oil, but instead unearthed turtles that could have been moved to safer sands.  Potentially as tragic as the disaster itself.

But, that doesn’t only apply to turtles. There is much more sea life out there – and much more wildlife that is protected – that maybe, just maybe, is not about reporters.

That said.  Reporters can, with some research and assistance by people who just may not be your enemy, go safely in and film whatever they want.  Perhaps it was just as easy to pick up the phone and call “Pat Gonzalez of U.S. Fish and Wildlife.”  On top of that, why bring a film crew?  You can’t bring a handheld and take it back to the studio?  No, instead, make a spectacle of yourself and then wonder why you didn’t quite get the scandalous story you wanted to.

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