For the last 31 years, Yosemite Park Ranger Laurel Boyers has had your dream job. She's been working for the park, patrolling and managing the wilderness backcountry of Yosemite. Most park visitors (over 98%) never travel through the backcountry, but for the 1 1/2% that can get away from the hotels, traffic, and shops of Yosemite Valley, the experience can't be beat. I can only imagine what it would be like to have a career working outside in such a remarkable natural wonder. Our friend Steve Sergeant has put together a tribute piece to her career on his WildeBeat website:
Audio Program : Thanks Ranger Boyers!
In the interview, Laurel describes one of her final hikes as Wilderness Manager,
I just did my swan song of a sort, and took a trip where I went from Wawona, all the way up through Tuolumne Meadows, taking some of my favorite routes, all the way to that furthest northeast part, and then back down to Hetchy, so rode the entire length of the park. It takes ten days to ride across this park, which is quite interesting. That's not trying to make it longer, or whatever. And I think that's quite an important part of the wildness of this park, to think that you do have to cross a road once, you've got to cross the Tioga Road. But, Aldo Leopold said that wilderness should be big enough to take a week long pack trip. And lo and behold, in Yosemite it takes ten days, at least, to cross it, which is pretty exciting to me.
She concludes the interview by saying, "it's been a great honor to have this job. I'll be sorry to leave."
The WildeBeat produces a lot of stories that I think would be of interest to National Parks Traveler readers, including a recent two part series called 'Ranger Changes', which examines the changing role of the back country ranger in the National Park Service. It's worth a listen.