- The Washington Times - Monday, June 17, 2013

Falling into the category of “who would have thought?” is a recent report from the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility that found that incidents of aggression and assault against the nation’s public parks workers rose by 38 percent between 2011 and 2012.

Park rangers, wildlife refuge workers and U.S. Park Police — they’re all facing danger on the job from angry attackers, the report said.

Nearly 600 incidents were reported by six different environmentally based agencies for last year, including the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management, Newsmax reported. That’s up 38 percent from 2011. And more than a quarter of those incidents involved acts of violence against the worker or the police officer, the group said.

The year 2012 got off to a bad start, with a New Year’s Day fatal shooting of a park ranger at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state, Newsmax said. Shortly after, a racist and a threatening note targeting Texas wildlife refuge visitor center employees surfaced, and in September someone shot a land management worker in Arizona, Newsmax reported.

“The saying, ‘It’s not easy being green,’ is becoming truer with each passing year,” said Jeff Ruch, executive director of the PEER group, in the Newsmax report.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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