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Ranger Confidential: Secrets of the National Park Rangers

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

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; For more of Lankford’s behind-the-scenes tales, including her national park ghost stories, go to

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