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Confrontation at Yellowstone

bobcul

Regular Member
Joined
May 19, 2008
Messages
24
Location
Maryland - Wyoming
Below is an e-mail letter with attached narrative (part of a much longer travelog with some photos) describing an Open Carry interaction at a Xanterra Parks and Resorts facility at Yellowstone park.

Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

Xanterra contact information is at the bottom - unfortunately I could not find a corporate e-mail address, only the one for yellowstone.

BobCul


------------------


Gentlemen,

The narrative below is part of a travelog I have written about our recent travels. A full, much longer version with this and many other short visit stories will soon be posted on the web site at the address on the card provided to Joe Caruso at the Yellowstone Lodge, and also below.

To reiterate, your representative found himself in a somewhat awkward situation and after a rocky start we had a good conversation on the situation at hand. In the narrative I have discussed the often cited reasons for trying to establish a safe zone by disarming the occupants - that unfortunately makes them all easy targets if someone decides to attack them.

Again I encourage Xanterra to change this policy. As a quick suggestion, I would remove the signs and not prohibit individuals from carry sidearms, openly or concealed. You currently never see those carrying concealed sidearms, even with the signs if they choose to ignore them. You will never detect the persons with evil intent until they act, regardless of a sign or policy. There is always a staff member capable of pleasantly conversing with the open carrier, like Joe Caruso did with me, to assure himself that the individual was acting properly and rationally. I think you will find that almost all of those open carrying a sidearm will be very friendly and willing to engage in conversation. If you want further firsthand reporting on such an encounter, talk to Joe Caruso the assistant cafeteria manager at the Yellowstone Old Faithful Lodge. He is now experienced in such matters.

You can also talk to me.

Sincerely,
(SIG LINES DELETED)

=============
Confrontation at Yellowstone

On Saturday, July 21, 2012, we headed north to Yellowstone to see the sights. Stopping at West Thumb, Cathy visited the Yellowstone Association shop and I loitered outside - open carrying. We then went on a hike around the boardwalk at the thermal features. I have discussed this area walk in previous travelogs. Many folks passed by, including many foreign tourists and a few rangers. No big deal and a few friendly conversations ensued. Next we headed further north for a 4 mile hike. Two hours of vigorous walking was quite comfortable with the Fobus paddle holster and the 1911 without the light.

We finished our walk about 8:15 pm, so we immediately headed into the Old Faithful area for some dinner because it was getting late. We went into the Yellowstone General Store to check out the snack bar. Looking carefully, we saw there were no firearm restrictions but the snack bar was about to close and the food selection was limited. The very friendly staff recommended the Old Faithful Lodge cafeteria which had a bigger selection and stayed open later. They had no reaction to the openly carried sidearm. We walked to the lodge and saw no firearm restriction signs on the open doors, so we moved through the common lobby area and into the cafeteria to look at the selection boards. After several minutes of surveying the menus, we decided on our selections, got our meals and drinks and headed to the cashier.

While paying for our meals a fellow approached from my right and spoke; I thought to the cashiers, as they looked up at him. He said something along the lines of when you finish checking out step outside to have your meals. That sounded strange so I looked over at him and saw he was speaking to me. He had just started speaking without addressing me or gaining my attention before hand. Seeing my quizzical look he inferred correctly that I did not understand. He then said something about having a policy of not allowing firearms in the establishment. I informed him that I had looked for signage restricting this, as I am usually quite thorough in observing signs, but saw none. As an aside, the cash register clerk made some statements indicating that he understood my viewpoint and firearm position. Indeed, from our view as we moved away from the cashier and to the condiment stand in the dining room, there were clearly no signs on the entrance doors going directly into the dining room (though not the ones we entered the building by). We discussed the requirement for signage at all entrances and he acknowledged the apparent lack, thereof. But the cafeteria staff member said that he checked with the front desk management and the policy stands; he reiterated his request that we eat outside on the porch and not in the dining room. I will not go into details but I told him I objected to being required to leave the dining room and eat outside; it was a kind of “back of the bus moment”, yet I told him I would comply with his request. The exchange was quite cordial throughout.

We moved to the porch outside the dining room and even though there were no tables and chairs, we made due with some comfortable rockers and a great view of Old Faithful and a beautiful sunset with a very new moon setting behind the mountains. I took a few minutes to again visit the front entrance doors (by an outside route) and DID find some small square signs with a red circle and slash over a handgun and a brief notation referring to a Xanterra Parks & Resorts policy. Unfortunately, I did not have a camera at that time. I had not seen the signs when we first entered because the doors were PROPPED OPEN and the signs on the outside front of the doors COULD NOT BE SEEN from our direct approach to and through the doors. Yes, the front doors were posted but in a useless fashion and the side doors were not posted.

The person who confronted us was Joe Caruso, the assistant cafeteria manager, a very pleasant and professional young man. Xanterra does not hire fools. He again approached us after our meal (fair quality, by the way) and we had an extended conversation and I gave him my MCSM card and explained our reasons for open carrying. He appeared sympathetic and I gave him one of the Walk In The Park flyers (PDF file on the MCSM web site) and asked him several times to take my comments to Xanterra and suggested they should modify their policy. Joe then supplied me with comment cards. I have carefully checked the Xanterra web sites and can find no reference to any firearm or related policy. Times are changing and more folks will be carrying sidearm defense tools, especially in areas like Yellowstone.

Any organization which actively denies the carrying of personal defense tools should understand the potential liability of their actions. There obviously is a loss of business liability as I already have a short list of businesses I will avoid. I need to get some Gun Owner - business educational cards - printed up to explain this at future contacts. If a business chooses to exclude me and others from doing business with them, that is their choice. I guess there is also the safety and legal liability for Xanterra, but not the one they are thinking about when they ask their lawyers about this position. What is their liability if by denying self defense, in the event of an attack, an individual is more seriously hurt or killed? This hazard headed into the Old Faithful area for some dinner extends not only to the denied firearm carrier but to the whole room - they can not benefit from an individual defending himself and thus the whole group suffers. As we left the building I had the clear thought, that now the people there were in MORE DANGER because they were in a victim disarmament zone. If Xanterra is worried about the reaction of some of their guests who might be upset at the sight of someone carrying a self defense tool, I reminded Joe of the 8 oz. Bear Spray my wife was carrying. All of our encounters with tourists and rangers in the parks have been very positive, often resulting in conversations and curiosity satisfied.

If you care to contact Xanterra, here is the information to do so.
Xanterra Parks & Resorts - 6312 South Fiddlers Green Circle, Suite 600N
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111 - Phone: 303.600.3400 - Fax: 303.600.3600
<http://www.xanterra.com/Corporate-Offices-350.html>
Specifically for Yellowstone; <info-ynp@xanterra.com>

Be kind to them. They are in the midst of an emotional reaction, denying firearm owners access to an area thinking it makes the area safer, and they will be bound up in a changing tide. Gentle and reasoned persuasion, and business changes, will educate them.
=============
 

YellowstoneGlock

New member
Joined
Jul 12, 2012
Messages
4
Location
Yellowstone National Park
As a Xanterra employee I am incredibly sorry for your poor experience. It is true that Xanterra does maintain a no firearms policy in all of its facilities, something that was brought about with the allowance of open carry firearms into national parks. As you stated there are quite small no firearms signs posted at MOST doors entering xanterra facilities...but as you stated as well they are quite easy to miss! As an employee I have gone as high as I can go in trying to get these rules changed with little to no success. That being said, anytime I am not on the clock I stay out of all xanterra facilities...because I am always OCing. I hope that will a little more resistance from the OC community we can push to get these rules changed. And if you ever make it up to the Mammoth Hot Springs area drop me a line and we can enjoy the park as well as our constitutional liberties together! Again I apologize and hope that we can all cause the necessary stir to make some positive changes in the park!
 

MAC702

Campaign Veteran
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
6,337
Location
Nevada
Does Xanterra have any competition in the area, or do they somehow have exclusive vendor rights in the park? If their rights are exclusive, I'd like to see a copy of the contract. Maybe they don't even have the right to prohibit firearms. Surely the contract is public information, right?
 

Mike

Site Co-Founder
Joined
May 13, 2006
Messages
8,710
Location
Fairfax County, Virginia, USA
Stop suggesting stores post signs!!!!!

why are you giving them ideas about signs?

This just encourages posting.

We don;t want posting.

Stop helping stores advance anti-gun policies.

This has been covered extensively here and on other blogs.

Stop.
 

bobcul

Regular Member
Joined
May 19, 2008
Messages
24
Location
Maryland - Wyoming
You can not cower - step up and speak out

I have been visiting Wyoming for decades and we now live in Jackson. I hope to meet up with you and as many other Wyoming gunnies as possible.
Thanks for the kind words. Two years ago, when the park regulations changed I organized the Walk In The Park activity on Independence Day, It was written up here and also on the web site at <www.mcsm.org>

The experience was not "poor" it was instead an opportunity to educate a company employee and possibly get a message to management. I got an e-mail "read" confirmation - I wonder if they will reply?

Whenever I encounter a situation which others would benefit hearing about, I write about it. I get the word out especially if it can be applied to change or correct a situation. I mentioned the firearm "business cards" and have taken the time to look them up. Just google for Concealed carry business cards and you will find several PDF files for the cards, one of which would be suitable for your purposes. If businesses realize that discriminating against part of their potential market will have an economic impact, their actions may change.

Bob


As a Xanterra employee I am incredibly sorry for your poor experience. It is true that Xanterra does maintain a no firearms policy in all of its facilities, something that was brought about with the allowance of open carry firearms into national parks. As you stated there are quite small no firearms signs posted at MOST doors entering xanterra facilities...but as you stated as well they are quite easy to miss! As an employee I have gone as high as I can go in trying to get these rules changed with little to no success. That being said, anytime I am not on the clock I stay out of all xanterra facilities...because I am always OCing. I hope that will a little more resistance from the OC community we can push to get these rules changed. And if you ever make it up to the Mammoth Hot Springs area drop me a line and we can enjoy the park as well as our constitutional liberties together! Again I apologize and hope that we can all cause the necessary stir to make some positive changes in the park!
 

bobcul

Regular Member
Joined
May 19, 2008
Messages
24
Location
Maryland - Wyoming
Is it easier to hide from a condition, from your attackers, than to fight back. Postings already exist, I would be a chauvinist to think that anything I did caused someone to take an anti-gun attitude. I DO think I have encouraged some to think and act more intelligently and less emotionally by their trying to hid from guns and their owners.

If anyone thinks such actions encourage posting, then might the companies also think I mean business when I say "no sale" in the future? The "No Guns = No Sale" cards will say that in the future.

It is a bit short sighted to think that pushing back against anti-gun policies encourages those policies in some way.
I will continue with the good fight. You are free to join or stay on the sidelines. Unless you can give me hard evidence that our actions in fighting back are actually causing more harm than good, your unsupported claims are useless.

Bob


why are you giving them ideas about signs?

This just encourages posting.

We don;t want posting.

Stop helping stores advance anti-gun policies.

This has been covered extensively here and on other blogs.

Stop.
 

bobcul

Regular Member
Joined
May 19, 2008
Messages
24
Location
Maryland - Wyoming
Park Concessionairs

Xanterra has the concession contract for Yellowstone lodging and food service in most areas - just look at their web site to see just how broadly they reach.

I puzzled over this two years ago when visiting the Leeks Marina Pizza Parlor in Grand Teton Park. They have a very small "no guns" symbol at the entrances to their establishment. I asked an employee about it and was assured it was a concessionaire policy and not because any park employees worked out of the building as might cause the federal posting at a rangers office or similar place.

Now it occurred to me to that perhaps such a prohibition at ANY location in a public park may be contrary to law - I have not looked into that. I guess there may be some legally competent folks on this site who could opine on this (or someone may know who could give an opinion). I have the feeling that the concessionaires can behave just as if they leased the space and ran a private business. BUT, your idea of looking at the concession contract makes sense. GO FOR IT.

Bob


Does Xanterra have any competition in the area, or do they somehow have exclusive vendor rights in the park? If their rights are exclusive, I'd like to see a copy of the contract. Maybe they don't even have the right to prohibit firearms. Surely the contract is public information, right?
 

OC for ME

Regular Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
12,204
Location
White Oak Plantation
Slippery slope arguments falsely assume that one thing must lead to another. They begin by suggesting that if we do one thing then that will lead to another, and before we know it we’ll be doing something that we don’t want to do. They conclude that we therefore shouldn’t do the first thing. The problem with these arguments is that it is possible to do the first thing that they mention without going on to do the other things; restraint is possible.

http://www.logicalfallacies.info/presumption/slippery-slope/
Pointing out the fact that a sign is posted is not the same as encouraging other businesses to post signage?
 

PaulB

Opt-Out Members
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
28
Location
, ,
I think any true private business should be able to have any firearms (or other) policy whatever.

However, for a concession type business on government (so-called "public") land, I don't think this is right. The laws in the park overall are those of the state, now. If you want a concession on "public" land you should have restraints on the sorts of things you can do. In fact I am sure there are already many conditions on the actions you can take in such a business (my wife had a lodge in national forest land and the restrictions were numerous and detailed). Why should you be able to get away with trampling customers' RKBA in your business, when you are subject to many more petty restrictions?

Until Xanterra comes to their senses, I suppose the usual policy should be followed by firearms owners: boycott. I do not patronize businesses that trample customer RKBA. I suggest the rest of you do likewise.
 

MAC702

Campaign Veteran
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
6,337
Location
Nevada
Do you need it to be honored? We have open and concealed with no permit needed. Maybe it's for residents only.
No permit for concealing in WY is for residents only with the definition of at least 6 months residency.

I maintain that Xanterra does not have the right to have policies of exclusions as exclusive concessionaires on public lands.
 
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Grapeshot

Legendary Warrior
Joined
May 21, 2006
Messages
35,337
Location
Valhalla
Is it easier to hide from a condition, from your attackers, than to fight back. Postings already exist, I would be a chauvinist to think that anything I did caused someone to take an anti-gun attitude. I DO think I have encouraged some to think and act more intelligently and less emotionally by their trying to hid from guns and their owners.

If anyone thinks such actions encourage posting, then might the companies also think I mean business when I say "no sale" in the future? The "No Guns = No Sale" cards will say that in the future.

It is a bit short sighted to think that pushing back against anti-gun policies encourages those policies in some way.
I will continue with the good fight. You are free to join or stay on the sidelines. Unless you can give me hard evidence that our actions in fighting back are actually causing more harm than good, your unsupported claims are useless.

Bob
Newbie insults OCDO owner. :eek:
 

Grapeshot

Legendary Warrior
Joined
May 21, 2006
Messages
35,337
Location
Valhalla
Xanterra has the concession contract for Yellowstone lodging and food service in most areas - just look at their web site to see just how broadly they reach.

I puzzled over this two years ago when visiting the Leeks Marina Pizza Parlor in Grand Teton Park. They have a very small "no guns" symbol at the entrances to their establishment. I asked an employee about it and was assured it was a concessionaire policy and not because any park employees worked out of the building as might cause the federal posting at a rangers office or similar place.

Now it occurred to me to that perhaps such a prohibition at ANY location in a public park may be contrary to law - I have not looked into that. I guess there may be some legally competent folks on this site who could opine on this (or someone may know who could give an opinion). I have the feeling that the concessionaires can behave just as if they leased the space and ran a private business. BUT, your idea of looking at the concession contract makes sense. GO FOR IT.

Bob
There is no special dispensation for concessionaires.

Guns are legal on NPS lands where state law does not otherwis restrict it. Guns are restricted in facilities where federal employees normally work - such must be clearly posted.

http://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/management/lawsandpolicies.htm

See Fair Credit Reporting Act:
Guns at national parks
"Asked about an unrelated provision in the bill allowing visitors to U.S. National Parks and refuges to legally carry licensed, loaded firearms, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters during Friday's press briefing, just before the signing ceremony, that Obama would sign the bill with the gun provision included: "Overall, the credit card reform bill is important for consumers and should be signed," Gibbs told reporters. The gun clause takes effect Feb. 22, 2010."
http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/obama-signs-credit-card-law-1282.php
 

skidmark

Campaign Veteran
Joined
Jan 15, 2007
Messages
10,449
Location
Valhalla
Really, Grape? Two comments about a now three year old thread?

But since you opened the door, concessionaires (that is their legal title) are not federal employees but independent contractors who operate NPS facilities. Any GFZ policy would be in contravention of NPS policy.

Too bad you waited so long and that it came to my attention from being on the sidebar and your comment about the (in 2012) newbie.

Perhaps this little tidbit of information will be of use to some future visitors to National Parks.

stay safe.
 

Grapeshot

Legendary Warrior
Joined
May 21, 2006
Messages
35,337
Location
Valhalla
Really, Grape? Two comments about a now three year old thread?

But since you opened the door, concessionaires (that is their legal title) are not federal employees but independent contractors who operate NPS facilities. Any GFZ policy would be in contravention of NPS policy.

Too bad you waited so long and that it came to my attention from being on the sidebar and your comment about the (in 2012) newbie.

Perhaps this little tidbit of information will be of use to some future visitors to National Parks.

stay safe.
Aware of all of the above.

Thought was worth posting, particularly since no resolution was noted.
 

Justin in WY

Newbie
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
3
Location
Saratoga, WY
Mac702, could you tell me where you found the requirement of 6 months to be considered a resident at? I asked a local cop and they said it's 12 months, which would make sense as that's how long you need to live here to get resident hunting/fishing licenses, but according to several state/city websites you're considered a resident for "all purposes other than game licenses" as soon as you're either employed or own/rent your primary home (designated you live in it more than 6 months per year) in the state.

I'm not trying to say you're wrong, I'm just wondering because I have friends and family looking to move here and want to be able to inform them correctly.

Thanks for any help you can provide.
 
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MAC702

Campaign Veteran
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
6,337
Location
Nevada
Mac702, could you tell me where you found the requirement of 6 months to be considered a resident at? I asked a local cop and they said it's 12 months...
Wyoming Statutes 6-8-104(a)(iv) and 6-8-104(b)(i):

6-8-104. Wearing or carrying concealed weapons; penalties;
exceptions; permits.
(a) A person who wears or carries a concealed deadly
weapon is guilty of a misdemeanor ...
unless:
...(iv) The person does not possess a permit issued
under this section, but otherwise meets the requirements
specified in paragraphs (b)(i) through (vi), (viii) and (ix) of
this section and possession of the firearm by the person is not
otherwise unlawful.
...
(b) The attorney general is authorized to issue permits to
carry a concealed firearm to persons qualified as provided by
this subsection...The attorney general through the division shall
issue a permit to any person who:
(i) Is a resident of the United States and has been a
resident of Wyoming for not less than six (6) months prior to
filing the application.
...
 

Grapeshot

Legendary Warrior
Joined
May 21, 2006
Messages
35,337
Location
Valhalla
Originally Posted by Justin in WY
Mac702, could you tell me where you found the requirement of 6 months to be considered a resident at? I asked a local cop and they said it's 12 months...
Wyoming Statutes 6-8-104(a)(iv) and 6-8-104(b)(i):
We regularly admonish people to not ask LEOs about the law. They frequently don't know it and won't be the ones to defend you if things go south.

They way to get the best answer is to read the actual pertinent law. There are those like Mac who will guide you.
 

Justin in WY

Newbie
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
3
Location
Saratoga, WY
We regularly admonish people to not ask LEOs about the law. They frequently don't know it and won't be the ones to defend you if things go south.
Oh no, I know they often don't know, and I know they wouldn't risk their job to defend you. But there are only 2 or 3 cops in my town (and a few game wardens), so if they all think the law's more lenient than it is you're pretty safe "breaking the law", since they're the only ones here who could bother you about it. About 1/4 of people here carry open or concealed, and I've never had an issue at all, so it's pretty safe.

Thanks for the information though.

Edit: Also, is there even any way for a cop to find out how long you've been a resident of a state aside from you telling them? I wouldn't imagine so.
 
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