I started a rather short NPS career as a seasonal Ranger / Naturalist at Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone in 1966. In 1968, I transferred to Old Faithful as a "Protection Ranger," where I had the great privilege of working with a young Jerry Mernin.
In August of 1968 I was sent to Albright Training Center for my "Introduction to Park Operations." Then it was on to Yosemite. From Yosemite to Greenbelt Park alongside the B-W Parkway in Maryland. We had to have some "Urban Experience" in those days. El Morro in New Mexico was next where I served under Robert L. Morris as Supervisory Ranger. We were part of the old Navajo Lands Group where Art White was general superintendent and Charlie Voll was archaeologist. My final permanent assignment was as Chief of I&RM at Wupatki / Sunset Crater National Monuments just north of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Because we were transferred about every three years in those days and because I'd grown up bouncing from school to school as an Army brat, I pulled the NPS plug and returned to teaching hoping my kids could grow up in a single school. I did spend a couple more seasons as a Ranger / Naturalist in Zion where Victor Jackson was chief of interpretation. That was pure fun! Outdoors enjoying the park and its visitors -- leading guided walks up Angel's Landing and the Narrows . . . and very little paperwork and none of the political shenanigans of permanency.
Retired now and spending as much time (and money) as I can spare to visit my favorite places and explore new ones throughout the park system. Things have certainly changed in NPS, and it's mostly been for the better I think. One thing that hasn't changed, though, is the quality of the people who wear the uniforms of the National Park Service -- whether they be maintenance workers, rangers, or volunteers. There is no finer bunch of folks anywhere on this dizzy old planet!
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