Dissing Authoritarianism

A friend of mine, an older runner, told me this story. He was heading south up into the coastal trail from the new Muir Beach parking lot last week. It was dark. He was heading on a route that he and his friends have been running for decades. There was a  new sign posted saying “No Entry After 6PM.” He saw a ranger’s SUV parked in the lot. Uh-oh.

   As he crossed the bridge, 2 rangers were approaching him with flashlights. As he got closer to them, one said, “Hey you can’t go out here.” He kept running. They probably expected him to stop, but as he pulled up abreast of them, he sprinted. “Hey, you, STOP!” — shining their lights in his eyes. He flew past them and kept running. He felt good, like he was a kid again, as their shouts receded in the distance.

   He says he’s tired of the increasingly intrusive and aggressive attempts at control by rangers. Sure, there are things you shouldn’t do in a national park, like chain sawing or dirt bike riding or disturbing seals during mating season, but a solo runner leaves no trace, bothers no one.

   He says he’s not going to submit to rangers’ questions or follow their orders anymore. He’s gonna run.

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