The National Park Service's version of the FBI is no joke

No, they aren't after people who litter. The National Park Service's Investigative Services Branch (ISB) of 33 special agents handle the rapes, murders, assaults, robberies, poaching, drug smuggling, and other big crimes that occur on the 85 million acres of United States parks, historical sites, monuments, and other NPS turf. From Outside:

) ISB agents are a strange breed. They require a high tolerance for time alone in the backcountry—but because solving crimes typically comes down to getting information from people, they also need social skills. “I look for people who can talk to anybody,” Sullivan told me. Each of the half-dozen agents in the office was drawn to the job for different reasons. Kristy McGee, a petite blonde wearing cowboy boots, specialized in violent crime. “I had a very chaotic childhood. I was exposed to a lot of adult-natured things—drugs, abuse,” she told me. “I found a place where I can use that to relate to people.”

Steve Kim, who has salt-and-pepper hair and a degree in wildlife ecology, told me about how he had spent the summer of 1995 living the life of a dirtbag climber, when Yosemite put out a call asking climbers to help with a death investigation. While rappelling off the east ledges of El Capitan, looking for clues, Kim discovered that ISB work suited him—“It’s probably my obsessive-compulsive tendencies”—and never looked back.

Cullen Tucker, the office’s youngest agent at age 30, was born into the business; his dad is a former deputy chief ranger at Yosemite, and his mom was one of the park’s first female investigators.

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Watch this very good boy fearlessly escape a pack of wolves

While bopping around Italy's Abruzzo National Park, zoologist Paolo Forconi witnessed a pack of three young wolves assaulting a garden variety house pooch. While it takes a few nips from the wolves, their young jaws, according to Forconi, weren't able to do much damage. Tthe dog was able to make its escape through a small hole in a fence. Read the rest

Gorgeous high-def footage from Rocky Mountain National Park

More Than Just Parks is a wonderful channel that showcases the incredible natural beauty of America's national parks. Their latest video celebrates Rocky Mountain National Park. Read the rest

Texas parks department posts photos of "Bigfoot" footprints

The Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department posted images of mysterious large footprints reportedly spotted at parks and trails just north of Austin, Texas. Is this Bigfoot or a marketing stunt?

"I'm leaning towards not real at least on the top one," area Bigfoot researcher Russell Miller told the Houston Chronicle. "Too narrow at the instep."

And, of course, if the "surveillance" camera was capable of capturing the footprints, why didn't it get a shot of the (ahem) "cryptid" that made them?

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Our Park Ranger surveillance has captured strange footprints at various parks & trails in the area. If you find these,...

Posted by Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department on Saturday, June 10, 2017

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Coming soon to New York, an underground park: The Lowline

Do you like the Highline park in Manhattan? There's a subterranean version coming soon. The Lowline looks like it's going to be amazing. Read the rest

Veterans remind Pokemon players of memorial park's sanctity by shouting obscenities, throwing punches

Everyone behaves badly in this one—snotty youngsters v. violent veterans—but that older guy throwing punches and threatening a pregnant woman should be in jail. Come for the Pokemon rage, stay for the expert demolition of a portable gazebo.

A story at the Winona Daily News appears to concern the same park; it looks like there's a concerted effort afoot to ban more or less any unapproved "gatherings" there, and it's all about the Pokemon Go phenomenon.

The ordinance would cover a wide array of activities, not all related to increased traffic from Pokémon players, and some which is already prohibited. ... recent crowds that suddenly began gathering at all hours earlier this month when the game was released include prohibitions on hammocks and tents, sleeping and sunbathing, recreational activities and games (electronic or not), having pets in the area and playing music.

Why would you bother asking the Pokemon company not to use that location as a gym when it's so much easier to pass sweeping teen-menace legislation? Read the rest

An Exclusive Inside Look at Denver’s Dinosaur Hotel

Ethan Gilsdorf reports on the most awesome hotel in the country. Meet Stanley the Stegosaurus and friends!

Kazakhstan's Satanic earthwork

This pentagram visible on Google Maps is located on the shore of the Upper Tobol Reservoir in Kazakhstan. It's either an evil etching created by the ancient astronauts who were also Satan's minions, or the outline of a park built in the shape of a star during the Soviet era when that symbol was quite popular. You decide. (Yahoo! News) Read the rest