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Pluses and minuses of working as a National Park Ranger


+ Plus +

+ Excellent working environment

+ Free outdoor gym

+ Meet fellow nature enthusiasts

+ Meet foreigners

+ Photographic opportunities

+ Park uniform

+ Nature talks, public education

+ Get paid to hike

+ Instant god-like knowledge in the public’s eye


- Minus -

- Park uniform

- Usually a seasonal position, 3-4 months per year

- No benefits
- No weekends or holidays off work

- Garbage patrol

- Being Mom to tourists

- Explaining the no-dogs policy

- Lack of training

- Backcountry compost toilet maintenance

- Coming across occasional dead or crazy people in the wilderness
- Dealing with wildlife (especially bears) people have fed



Other benefits or draw-backs to working as a ranger?


Jun. 9th, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC)
Nicely done, especially the dog policy part; I would add the following:

- visitors who "only have half an hour" to experience the park (Legend has it that a ranger at Yosemite once told a visitor who only had a day that "if I had only one day in Yosemite, I might sit down and cry.")
- repeating the same directions a dillion times ... to the same person ... in the same conversation ... two years in a row ... only this time, he brought his girlfriend, so now you have to repeat everyting for her, too ...
- hearing complaints that visitor centers don't stay open long enough, the parks don't put on enough programs or have enough rangers on the trails from a public that refuses to pay for the personnel required to offer such services
-/+ seeing tons of RVs, but playing the totally inappropriate RV name game with the other rangers (I'll post the rules under a cut if anybody wants in on the joke)
+ (for year-round types) seeing one of the world's most beautiful places in all seasons and conditions, witnessing all the transformations and migrations
+ (for those at one location for many years) watching young trees grow and old trees fall, watching old landforms crumble and new landforms emerge
+ taking and posing for family vacation photographs
+ hearing visitors say they have to come back, then seeing them return
+ having visitors (unofficially) name a tree on the trail for you
+ eliciting an honest, eight-year-old "wow!" from a woman likely in her forties

Perhaps more as I get back into a decent LJ groove. Awesome idea for a post!
Jun. 10th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, visitors with only half an hour... I once had a group complain that the mountain was too far from the city! They said that it looked so close, but after two hours of driving they were going to use the ranger station restroom and head back to the city - they liked the view of the mountain better from there. I managed to convince them to stretch their legs, first, on the 0.25 mile rainforest loop trail.

Were you rangering during 9/11? We had so many more visitors, people stuck at the airport who would never otherwise have time to visit the National Parks came to enjoy the relative peace. There were no planes, cell phones do not work in most parts of the park, no TV's, very few radio stations, and for once no one was in a hurry.

What's the RV name game?


park_rangers, work

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