There is currently a lot of debate about revolving around
the Second Amendment and a persons right to protect themselves. At the
heart of the matter is ones right to protect themselves while on public
lands such as National Parks, National Forests, State Parks, Wildlife
Refuges and other often remote areas. While it is true that overall violent
crimes and animal attacks in our park system are rare, it is also a fact
that every year there are dozens of incidents where an armed citizen could
have saved a life or prevented serious harm to themselves or others.
The partial list of crimes
and attacks listed below are not intended to deter people from visiting
parks by to provide facts about crimes and safety issues within our park
- Mount Rainier National Park, Washington - 1978 a double
rape and armed robbery occurred on Rampart Ridge
- Appalachian Trail, Virginia -
May 1981, Susan Ramsay and Robert Mountford Jr. were
murdered while hiking along the AT. Liberal courts released
murderer Randall Smith who was paroled after only 15 years for
double murder. After his release Smith tried to kill to more
people in the same area.
- Virginia - 1986, along the Colonial
Parkway near Williamsburg, the bodies of Cathleen Thomas and
Rebecca Dowski were found in Thomas's car. They were in their 20s
and athletic, their wrists were bound, their throats were slit,
they had not been sexually assaulted, and there was no sign of a
- Pennsylvania - May 12, 1988, Rebecca Wight was shot
dead and her partner, Claudia Brenner, was seriously wounded on a
hike on a part of the Appalachian Trail that runs through Pine
Grove Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania.
- Appalachian Trail, Pennsylvania - September 12, 1990 AT hikers Geoffrey Logan
Hood, 26, of Signal Mountain, Tennessee was shot, and Molly LaRue, 25, of Shaker Heights, Ohio was
stabbed and raped at their campsite in
- Shenandoah National Park, Virginia - May 28, 1996, Julianne Williams,
24, and Lollie Winans, 26 were both bound and had their throats cut
while hiking and camping near the Appalachian Trail.
- Hovenweep National Monument, Utah - May 29, 1998, 3
armed men shot and killed one police officer and wounded two others
before fleeing into the remote area around Four Corners. 500 law
enforcement officials searched the area for weeks.
Appalachian Trail, Pennsylvania
- June 3 1998 woman raped on the Appalachian Trail section in
Michaux State Forest.
Waynesboro, Virginia - August 13, 1998, A female camper
using a city park frequented by AT hikers was attacked in her tent
while she slept. This park is a few miles from the AT and
thru-hikers use nearby facilities at the YMCA.
- Yosemite National Park, California - February 1999, Carole Sund
and Silvina Pelosso were found in a burned out rental car near Long
Barn a month after they had last been seen alive at Yosemite’s
Cedar Lodge. The body of Sund’s daughter, Juli, was found 30 miles
away a week later.
- Yosemite National Park, California - July 1999, a
26-year-old park worker named Joie Ruth Armstrong was decapitated
near her park cabin.
- Honokohau National Park, Hawaii - Park Ranger Steve
- White Mountains, New Hampshire - November 15, 2001,
Louise Chaput 52 was stabbed to death while hiking not far from the
Appalachian Trail. This crime remains unsolved
- Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, - August 9, 2002,
Ranger Kris Eggle, Murdered
- Yellowstone National Park, WY, MT - August 28, 2006 Man
severly beaten, by the time rangers arrived, Ramirez (criminal)
had left the area and his victim was in the hospital.
Investigators determined that the victim had suffered serious and
permanent head and facial injuries. (MR 5/16/07)
- Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina - June 5, 2007, A man
broke in a window, splashed gasoline inside a room, thrown in the
gas container, then ignited the fuel. Four people were in the room
at the time of the attack.
- Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest - July 2006, Mary Cooper, 56 and her daughter, Susanna Stodden, 27,
were both murdered along the Pinnacle Lake trail. Their murderer
has never been captured.
- Lake Mead National Recreation Area, AZ - May 2007, an
emotionally disturbed man who'd told people at the Lake Mead
Trailer Village store that he'd been swimming through blood
assaults rangers with knife and carpet cutter.
- Buffalo National River, Arkansas - man severely beaten
with bat just outside park
Nantahala National Forest & Pisgah National forest North Carolina
- Irene and John Bryant were murdered, one bludgeoned the other
shot after a hiking in the fall of 2007.
- Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, Georgia -
November 27, 2007 19 year old woman struck in the face and robbed
as she walked along park road.
Apalachicola National Forest, Florida - Cheryl Hodges
Dunlap. Dunlap's decapitated body was found Dec. 19 2007.
State Park, Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia - 24
year old Meredith Emerson was kidnapped, beaten to death, and her decapitated body
was found about a week after she was last seen hiking with her dog on January 1, 2008.
- Appalachian Trail, Virginia - May 2008, convicted murderer Randall Smith who was
released by liberal court system after only 15 years pulled out a gun and shot
Sean Farmer and Scott Johnston. The two men were fishing and
camping along Dismal Creek near the Appalachian Trail. They fed
Smith and his dog who then stood up thanked them for the meal and started shooting
them, both mulitple times. Smith had previously been convicted
of killing Susan Ramsay and Robert Mountford Jr. in May 1981 about
1.5 miles away, he was paroled after only 15 years.
Pike National Forest, Colorado - 2,000 pounds of marijuana seized. July 2009
- Malibu Creek State Park, California - On July 21st 2009,
rangers from Santa Monica Mountains and officers from the Los
Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, California State Park Police,
CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting), and Mountains
Recreation Conservation Authority entered three marijuana
plantation sites and eradicated the plants found within them. Two
were located in Malibu Creek State Park and one in the Zuma-Trancas
Canyon area on National Park Service land. All three plantation
sites were initially discovered by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s
Department, which led the operation. A total of 3,509 plans were
eradicated, including 1,421 plants in Zuma Canyon.
● Fatal Hunting
Fatal Treestand Accidents
Randall Smith, AT Double Murderer Paroled, Tries To Kill Again
Appalachian Trail Double Murder