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Thank A National Park Ranger on July 29


If you find yourself in a national park on July 29, take a minute to thank a ranger for the services they provide throughout the year.

Thank A Ranger Day was initiated back in 2006 by and in memory of Jeff Christensen, a ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park who died in a fall on July 29, 2005, while on a backcountry patrol.

As Aaron Deschane, the force behind the day of appreciation, explains, "we want to spread the word about Thank A Ranger Day so that others can join in and thank rangers in any of the national parks. We do this to show our appreciation for their service that may be overlooked and many times under appreciated."

Rangers in the National Park System do big things, such as saving lives during search-and-rescue missions, and little things, such as offering directions, answering questions, and lending a helping hand when you most need it. They show up for interpretive programs, work late to provide insightful campfire programs, and spend days and at times weeks in the backcountry on patrol or conducting research.

You can join in the celebration either by thanking a ranger you see in the parks, or simply by sending a thank-you card to your favorite national park.


The people who serve as park rangers, by and large, come from very recognizable backgrounds. These folks shop at Costco, eat balogna and cheese sandwiches, and often look for bargains on-line. Yet, when they put on the uniform, they often-times become something more. They become a special brand of public servant, able to serve the visitor with a myriad of skills and services. Park rangers give straight advice, offer a helpful hint, or remind someone of a rule. Park rangers also represent the National Parks, because without them, they would not be the National Parks.

Ben Lord

As a volunteer at two urban parks, I'd also like to give a shout-out to the rangers who so ably manage the special challenges of working at our historical parks and monuments in city or suburban settings. I'm continually impressed by the sheer volume of information they convey about the site's history AND the surrounding city, all while keeping their patience with very basic questions and handling the occasional 'crazy.' They're are the primary links that help us all understand why our parks are so important, and help engender the sense of ownership and stewardship we should all feel toward preserving these vital resources.

Thanks to all who wear the hat!

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