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Park service hat reuse?

fedoralover

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,006
Location
Great Northwest
Always wanted one of these, but are they Legal to wear??

I've wanted one of these for years and just won this vintage one off of ebay. I paid a little more than I wanted to but the fact that it has "Premium Beaver" imprinted on the sweatband inclined me to bid a little more. But I've been wondering, since it has USNPS imprinted on the leather band, is it going to be legal for me to wear? I know we have some law enforcement gentleman here on the lounge, what say you?? I'm thinking that as long as I don't wear a brown shirt thats looks like I'm trying to impersonate a forest ranger I should be okay.
If anyone knows about the legality of wearing one of these please let me know. Here's the pics. It even comes with the original box.

rangerhat1.jpg

rangerhat2.jpg

rangerhat.jpg

rangerhat3.jpg

rangerhat4.jpg


fedoralover
 
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Messages
10,524
Location
DnD Ranch, Cherokee County, GA
Unless you work for the Nat'l Park Service, you need to get another hat band, IMHO.
There are some leather bands that are very close but don't have that USNPS embossing.
Some may feel it is nothing different than wearing an Army surplus jacket with US Army on it but not to me.
This is an icon of the Park Service. For years, I worked as a VIP, Volunteer in the Park, at Andersonville Nat'l Park.
I have good buddies that are Park Rangers & would be offended if I wore such a hat around in public.
 

fedoralover

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2,006
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Great Northwest
Well that's something to consider. I'll have to think about that one a bit. In the same vein, I would not consider wearing my G-1 to a military type event or show since I was not a Pilot in the Airforce or Navy. But on the other hand, I know I am comfortable wearing it around town as casual wear. HMMM, things to ponder.
Thanks for your input.

fedoralover
 

Atticus Finch

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2,718
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Coastal North Carolina, USA
Fedoralover, at least in North Carolina, it would be legal for you to wear your Smokey Bear hat as long as you are not trying to impersonate an employee of the National Park Service. I think the applicable Federal Law is about the same. You get into to some pretty sticky 1st Amendment issues when you start enacting legislation that proscribes symbolic dress. As a result, most such statutes proscribe the conduct of impersonation as opposed to outlawing the wearing of specific symbols or articles of clothing.

AF
 
Messages
10,524
Location
DnD Ranch, Cherokee County, GA
I'll leave the "legal" aspect to AF & the other lawyers in the Lounge.
I had a college professor that gave me a baseball cap from a county in Tenn Sheriff's dept.
His brother-in-law was a deputy & gave it to him. I always wore fertilizer caps to class & he felt the cap should go to somebody to wear.
Prof's wife said he looks stupid in it. A buddy of mine sold supplies to the county prison camps in GA.
He gave me a prisoner outfit that I used for Halloween one year. I used to wear that cap some to.
Being young & dumb, I used to wear the prisoner pants, a Emory University t-shirt & the Sheriff's dept cap to class.
I used to get a lot of stares riding the MARTA buses to campus & back.
I am positive that a real deputy from that county would not have appreciated my rig.
My prof thought it was hoot but this was the late 70's early 80's.
 

fedoralover

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2,006
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Great Northwest
Fedoralover, at least in North Carolina, it would be legal for you to wear your Smokey Bear hat as long as you are not trying to impersonate an employee of the National Park Service. I think the applicable Federal Law is about the same. You get into to some pretty sticky 1st Amendment issues when you start enacting legislation that proscribes symbolic dress. As a result, most such statutes proscribe the conduct of impersonation as opposed to outlawing the wearing of specific symbols or articles of clothing.

AF

Thanks Atticus, that's good to know. The next time I visit my daughter in Rutherfordton N.C. I'll have no worries in wearing it. I think that it's one of those things to be discreet about. Last month my family drove down to Crater Lake Oregon. Going through the entry point into the park to pay our fee, the State employee was wearing one. There is no way I would have worn this hat to a popular State park like Crater Lake. However if I go hiking on some obscure trail, I may go ahead and wear it.

I bought mostly just for the historical value, it's a Premium Beaver Stetson and it's vintage.

fedoralover
 

fedoralover

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2,006
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Great Northwest
Yes...I struggle with this very ethical issue in the context of my flight jacket collection...especially my nylon flight jackets.

Anyhow...here's what the Supreme Court did with a well-known piece of legislation that addressed the wearing of uniforms, awards and such....

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washin...2-06-28/supreme-court-stolen-valor/55895020/1

AF

Thanks so much for your professional input Atticus. BTW, last year was the first time we went out to N.C. to visit my daughter. Loved the State and the people. Going through the Biltmore Estate in Asheville was fantastic. One of the things I loved the most was ordering something in a restaurant and having the waitress call me "Honey" and "Sweetie". They just don't do that here in Oregon.
 

Stanley Doble

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2,808
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Cobourg
Wear it in the city and they like it just fine,

Wear it in the country it's a twenty dollar fine,

Hot hot papa, Hot hot papa.

With apologies to George Thorogood.

Seriously, I agree that you can wear it if you replace the band and do not wear any insignia or badges.

But frankly unless you are a mountie, a park ranger or a scout master I can't see where you are going to wear a hat like that.
 
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fedoralover

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2,006
Location
Great Northwest
Obviously it's not going to be a daily wearer. But there are occasions where I can see wearing it. I go to a lot of antique shows where people are seen wearing vintage items like this all the time. I think it's all in the context in which it's being worn. If a person is going to hold strictly to the principle that if you didn't wear it originally you shouldn't wear it at all, I wonder how many people would qualify to wear A-1s, A-2s and G-1s and other military jackets. But that is up to each individual and their own personal experience to decide.
Fedoralover
 

scottyrocks

I'll Lock Up
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9,169
Location
Isle of Langerhan, NY
I had been told that as long as there are no official badges or patches on it, it's okay for a civilian to wear it. This is supposed to be true for any article of clothing.
 

Atticus Finch

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2,718
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Coastal North Carolina, USA
...I wonder how many people would qualify to wear A-1s, A-2s and G-1s and other military jackets.

...Or would qualify to wear an official Donald Driver jersey when you're not Donald Driver and have never played for the Packers. Or wear a Harvard T-shirt when you've never set foot on the campus. Or sport a FDNY cap when you’ve never touched a fire hose. It is a slippery slope, indeed.

AF
 

KC Capellor

One of the Regulars
Messages
143
Location
Kansas City
Without a badge or insignia it is just a campaign style hat. Wear it and enjoy it, like smokey the bear and countless scoutmasters. Military coats without currently active insignia are just fine to wear. Vintage uniforms are fine to wear as costumes as long as you do not falsely represent yourself as a veteran to military or veteran's organizations to obtain benefits or privileges. I worked for a large military antiques / surplus uniform dealer for years, sold and rented many uniform items and these questions came up often. I wear an '80's Sage Green Nomex flight jacket and '70's OD jungle combat boots regularly when weather dictates, they go fine with jeans and a silverbelly Open Road. Also, I often see hunters around here head to toe in current digital camo utilities, often surplus with insignia intact.
 

Hoyt Clagwell

One of the Regulars
Wear it in the city and they like it just fine,

Wear it in the country it's a twenty dollar fine,

Hot hot papa, Hot hot papa.

With apologies to George Thorogood.

Stanley, you should be apologizing to David Wilcox.(The Canadian David Wilcox)

As for wearing the hat as it is, that is entirely up to you fedoralover. It is a terrific hat, and if I had a chance to add it to my collection, I certainly would, but I really don't think I would wear it.
 
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fedoralover

Call Me a Cab
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2,006
Location
Great Northwest
As for wearing the hat as it is, that is entirely up to you fedoralover. It is a terrific hat, and if I had a chance to add it to my collection, I certainly would.

There are usually several of these on ebay at any given time but most of them are newer Strattons, this being a vintage Stetson and also labeled Premium Beaver made it a bit unique to me. I doubt I will wear it much, but when I do, it will be appropriate for the time and place.

fedoralover
 

bendingoak

Vendor
Messages
613
Location
www.Penmanhats.com
I think it's fine as long is there is no insignia or the such. Have been in the fire service myself. Most don't care if you wear a fire department ball cap or t-shirt. It's the Maltese cross that is a no, no. Should be worn by firefighters and family memebers only.
 

Annixter

Practically Family
Messages
783
Location
Up Yonder
I disagree with others that you should worry about changing the hatband for legal purposes. It is a 1st amendment right to wear things of this nature (as pointed out by A. Finch with the news article). The hat as it is is perfectly legal for you to wear so long as you do not walk around claiming to be a parks official or attempt to instruct people in their jurisdiction as if you were one. Patches and insignias on clothing--whether currently in use by officials or outdated--are not legal badges proving that one is an official, so you will have no problems with an actual official claiming you are impersonating an official unless you use your clothing to purposefully deceive for your personal ends.

This all being said to clarify legality issues, be prepared to get flack from people who disagree with your freedom of speech if you do wear the hat with or without the hatband, just like people would get flack if they wore a modern air-force jacket with patches or policeman's hat if they are obviously not in the military or a policeman. I think most of us who sport vintage attire and fedoras disregard anyone's flack about our clothing (most of us have at one point been compared to a gangster, a private detective, a rabbi, a barbershop quartet member, etc. depending on the attire) so I say if you like it and can wear it with confidence, do just that and to the devil with naysayers or those who think you are disrespecting the office just because you like the hat.

EDIT: If anyone cares to look through the legal evidence for 1st Amendment right for anyone to wear uniforms see SCHACHT v. UNITED STATES, 398 U.S. 58 (1970) where the supreme court upholds the right of citizens to wear military uniforms in theatrical productions which are very loosely defined and do not require a professional theater, multiple people, advertisement, etc. Other uniform use laws aside from military follow this ruling because it is the precedent, but I'll let others link to those if they wish.
 
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