That Grand Teton National Park Ranger Is Juan Ibanez

Earlier this month we ran a story about an anonymous Grand Teton National Park ranger who seemingly went out of his way to assist a young father and his three sons during a fishing outing in the park. Well, we now know whom that ranger is.

The exemplar "rangering" was brought to our attention by Jan Boice, who recounted watching this ranger help the father assemble the fishing rods and assist the young boys with baiting their hooks and even catching a fish.

"It was heartwarming to watch. What a great ambassador this young ranger is for the NPS!" wrote Jan. "My 15-year-old granddaughter, somewhat smitten with the handsome young ranger, decided she might want to be a ranger someday. It is so nice to see someone who goes the extra mile and he should be commended."

After contacting Jackie Skaggs, the park's public affairs officer, with the story, she was able to track down the ranger in question.

"Juan Ibanez, who works in the north district of Grand Teton National Park" is the ranger, she said. "He called me to chat about this interaction with the family. Sounds like he definitely made a good impression and helped show that rangers are caring and helpful people."

In a comment to the initial story, Bryan A. said he definitely knew who the ranger was. This is what Bryan wrote:

Absolutely, I know who that Park Ranger is.

He was the Ranger that sat down on a rock next to me, at Bear Lake, in Rocky Mountain National Park one hot August evening as we both waited for my parents and sister to meet up with me.

I had hiked ahead of them, from Emerald Lake. I was only 8 years old, that day in 1963. He was an amazing man, large hands, creased face and his voice sounded clouded by years of cigarettes. I remember his Stetson as he placed it on my head, even if it only was for a few minutes, as he described the animals around us we could not see but they could see us. I didn’t know then, but 13 years later I was working that same place, as a Park Ranger myself.

I know this Ranger.

Because he is the same one that I met at Heart Lake, in Yellowstone National Park, as he helped me find my designated camp site, knowing that it would only delay him getting back to his cabin, after patrolling the area of the South Boundary Trail. Years later I met him again, retired from the backcountry position, but working the backcountry office at Grant Village Visitor Center.

I know this Ranger.

She helped me find her favorite angle of photographing the Lincoln Memorial, in the early morning light. She waited to make sure that I was set and could see in my viewfinder the shot that would please me.

I know this Ranger.

As the Ranger that stopped to check on me, knowing that I had a Grizzly Bear encounter while paddling my Kayak through the still waters of Lewis Lake in Yellowstone. We had talked the day before and instead of closing the camps around the lake, he allowed me to stay, but counseled me in the danger.

Yes, I know this Ranger.

As he lives in many men and women that put on the Green Uniform, whether Trail Rehab, Fighting Fires or driving a patrol car out to the next bear jam. They often live in less than perfect living conditions and working in weather situations that would otherwise drive one indoors. They remain the positive compassionate person that you saw in this ranger, along the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park. We are lucky that we have such dedicated persons, and families that support these people so they can go out and repeat this day again. I promise to always approach one of these people, in their Green Uniforms, no matter what their position and thank them for their work. I hope you will do this too.

Yes, I know who this Ranger is . . .

Comments

What a beautiful tribute to rangers! I've had wonderful experiences, too, with rangers, over my 50+ years of camping in our National Parks. They do so much for so little financial gain. It takes a special person to become a ranger. They do it out of love for nature and for our parks. They do it because they can't NOT do it.

I am proud to say that the special ranger is my brother, Juan! He is definitely a kind and caring person who has dedicated his life to the park service and those who visit the parks every year. He is truly the kind of man that every child can look at and want to be like in life. Continue the excellent work! Love your sister, Maite