Some former employees of the National Park Service, along with park advocates, were Friday expressing dismay about a Bush administration decision to allow people to carry concealed weapons -- where permitted by state laws -- in national parks and refuges.
But park service officials in Alaska didn't appear particularly concerned.
"We've had guns in the ANILCA parks since 1980 with no real troubles," noted Alaska region spokesman John Quinley. The legislation creating the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, or ANILCA, parks has always allowed for guns to be carried.
The only parks in Alaska where guns have been restricted are the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park in Skagway, the Sitka National Historic Park and the old sections of Denali, Katmai and Glacier Bay national parks.
Park service rangers here note that so many people carry guns in Alaska -- especially in the backcountry -- that firearms can be considered the norm. Still, the Coalition of National Park Service retirees blasted the change.