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Backpacker Magazine – September 2010

Ranger Confidential: Secrets of the National Park Rangers

True tales from the front lines--and behind the scenes--of America's national parks.

by: Andrea Lankford

Ranger Confidential: Secrets of the Park Rangers (Frank Stockton)
Ranger Confidential: Secrets of the Park Rangers (Frank Stockton)
Ranger Confidential: Secrets of the Park Rangers (Frank Stockton)
Ranger Confidential: Secrets of the Park Rangers (Frank Stockton)

YOU WILL WANT TO QUIT
Many rangers find a way to rekindle their old idealism--others just grow more surly as federal retirement inches closer. Me? At first, I loved being a park ranger, but by the end of my career something had gotten out of whack. Death haunted me. The Grand Canyon scared me. In the end, I tossed my federal retirement to the wind and threw all of my ranger uniforms into a Dumpster. This last act broke the ranger code, but it was incredibly therapeutic. My time with the NPS had immeasurably enriched my life, yet it was time to cut the cord. I had to move on.

But I kept the Stetson.

Andrea Lankford is the author of Ranger Confidential: Living, Working and Dying in the National Parks ($17; falcon.com). For more of Lankford’s behind-the-scenes tales, including her national park ghost stories, go to andrealankford.com.


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Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Anonymous
Jul 07, 2011

lessened my enthusiasm for being a park ranger, but still interested.

Kathy
Oct 28, 2010

What a great read. It's wonderful to remind people just how much these hard working rangers do, and how little they get in return. They have my utmost respect and admiration.

Hornet 22
Oct 20, 2010

Great story! But...it's Smokey Bear - no "the" in there.

the love
Oct 17, 2010

I like the you will (maybe) fall in love section...awesome and real

Thomas B.
Sep 28, 2010

Makes me want it more.

tall tree
Sep 28, 2010

love it and now i dont want to be a park ranger (thank lot)

the hiker
Sep 28, 2010

chad w
Sep 24, 2010

love the read. keep em coming

pat
Sep 24, 2010

great read!!! I could not put it down, I could not wait to read the next chapter, and the next, and the next!

Discussion for this story has been closed.

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