From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Pilgrims Urge Peaceful Coexistence With NPS

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 – E-mail: alra@landrights.org or
alra@governance.net  Web Address: http://www.landrights.org 
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202-210-2357 – Fax: 202-543-7126 – E-mail: landrightsnet@a


The Washington Post article made it sound like the Pilgrims were violent because some of them carry firearms in the Bush.  This misinformation clearly shows the ignorance of the Post write.  

Alaskans know you better have protection from Bears when you live in a place like the Wrangells.  You don’t have a choice if you want to survive.

The Pilgrims have been so careful about this issue that they all put away their weapons when the Park Service shows up with the swat team all dressed out in flack jackets, automatic weapons and shotguns.  If you haven’t seen a picture of their swat team members, go to www.landrights.org.  Its right there on the home page.

The Washington Post is trying to make this out as some kind of Ruby Ridge or Waco.  A deliberate attempt by the Post to stir up trouble.  They are trying to gloss over all the heavy handed intimidation by the Park Service in order to make the Pilgrims into the villain.

Chuck Cushman, executive director of the American Land Rights Association, testified before Congress on Saturday, September 27th at a field hearing in Los Angeles in front of the National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands Subcommittee chaired by George Radanovich (R-CA).  Cushman said in part,

“The Park Service thinks it is a great agency . . . . because it manages great places.” 

The NPS does get confused.  They think because they manage National Parks, that anything they do is off limits to criticism.  Unfortunately, some members of the press like the Washington Post feel the same way.

Wrangell St. Elias News:  Regarding the National Park Service:

One way this agency preserves its immunity is by turning directly on its perceived enemies (hapless citizens) while the press is typically willing to give it the "pass" just mentioned.  The NPS uses its credibility to suppress and denigrate landowners and others instead of being good neighbors and working with local communities.  The NPS carries out search and destroy missions when opposed and it has few of any qualms about trying to flatten people with lies and innuendo...after all it's "for the good of all".   


It is critical that as many Alaskans as possible write a SHORT, one or two paragraph letter to the Post.  You don’t have to be an expert.  Just give them your feelings about the Washington Post article and how it harms not only to the Pilgrim family, but thousands of other peaceful families in Alaska.  This case is about access.  And thousands of Alaskans have been cut off from their traditional uses and routes of travel.

It is important to stress here that what Chuck Cushman has said for years is vital to remember as we seek to save the Pilgrims and others faced with harassment and intimidation by armed Park Service personnel.

“Violence is never appropriate in a Democratic society”  

Yes, the Washington Post engaged in what you would expect, the usual liberal garbage - character assassination on the Pilgrims primarily, attacking their credibility.  The attacks stretch all the way back to the father's childhood.  

But there are always peaceful ways to win.

HERE is what to do in order to WIN.  

NUMBER ONE.  DO NOT make responses primarily an attack the Washington Post or the reporter, aside from saying "here is what was left out of the story," 
"here is the rest of the story". . . . .

YES, the reporter did a lousy job, but that is not the point.  We want letters and possibly an op-ed published in the Washington Post on this.  The more you attack the Post and the reporter, the less likely they are to print responses.  

NUMBER TWO.  DO NOT make responses primarily a defense of the Pilgrim family, aside from if you have met or spoken with them PERSONALLY, and then keep it brief.  It will not help, because the Pilgrims, LIKE MANY IN ALASKA, are too unusual for any urbanite easterner to understand, and that is the Post's readership and that is who dominates decision making in Washington, DC.  

NUMBER THREE.  Here is what to do.  DO attack the National Park Service.  ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK.    The Washington Post is not the real enemy, they are just tools.  Playing defense for the Pilgrims will not work, because they are too far out of the mainstream.  Damaging the credibility of the NPS is what WILL WORK.  Make it more trouble than it is worth for the NPS!

ATTACK NPS for their phony boundary survey, and for the huge swath of damage it has caused in the park.  ATTACK NPS for other SPECIFIC examples of how they have harassed inholders in Alaska.  ATTACK NPS for grabbing land when they cannot manage the empire they already control.  ATTACK NPS for how much money they have spent harassing the Pilgrims - use costs and examples of how much guns, helicopters, personnel sent in from outside Alaska have cost.

ATTACK the NPS for anything and everything they have done in that park or any other in Alaska since passage of the Alaska Lands Act.  ATTACK NPS for broken promises, lies, using SPECIFIC examples.  ATTACK NPS for failing to notify the public of its plans in this case or any other.  ATTACK NPS for damaging private property rights, commercial businesses and jobs and recreational activities.  ATTACK NPS for claiming that 14 miles with a bulldozer is a lot, because in Alaska it is nothing due to the great distances.

Also, ATTACK the personal actions and backgrounds of park employees and superintendents, damage their credibility like the Pilgrims are being damaged.  ***This is nasty and personal, but it works - this is EXACTLY why the NPS had the Post reporter spend most of the article personally attacking the Pilgrims, while the critically important RS 2477 and ANILCA access issue is glossed over in a couple of sentences.

The point is, here we go again, this is nothing new from NPS.


***Responses must come from Alaska, that is what will get printed in the Post.  Look at it from their point of view.  Printing letters/op-eds from well outside their readership area makes them look good, makes it look like they are nationally influential.

***Letters to the editor.  250 words maximum, and that includes ALL words.  Each person should pick one SPECIFIC subject and write on it.  You can't properly cover many subjects in such a short letter, so be a team and do it in bite size pieces.  Also, demonstrate your credibility, such as "I've been a resident for 20 years" or "I am a park inholder" or "I'm the president of this association."  ALSO - Your name, street address, home and business phone (they will call to confirm it is your letter - also, with time zone difference, they may call you outside of business hours).

***Op-ed.  800 words maximum.  Less chance of getting printed, but if you are fired up enough, give it a try.

***Do it NOW.  Editors are impressed by immediate responses, it shows that people are riled up.  Email/fax letters in TODAY, MONDAY and TUESDAY.  Send it to ALL the faxes and emails below.
Send it to THESE faxes: 202-334-5269, 202-496-3883.
Send it to THESE emails: letters@washpost.com, fredhiatt@washpost.com, hardenb@washpost.com.

Look at the article - the reporter was a stooge for the NPS, he focused on damaging the credibility of the Pilgrims.  The best response is not to shoot the messenger, not to play defense, but to ATTACK the enemy - the National Park Service.  

ATTACK  MEANS  GO  ON  THE  OFFENSE.  Pressure the NPS with your letters, phone calls and other means of pressure.  Always peaceful, of course.

If you need help, contact Rick Kenyon with the Wrangell St. Elias News (907) 554-4454 or Ray Kreig (907) 276-2025 who is fully knowledgeable on the Pilgrim issue.  Also call Chuck Cushman at (360) 687-3087 at American Land Rights.

For more background, pictures and much more about the Pilgrim Family and the National Park Service, go to www.landrights.org

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