National Park Ranger


National Park Ranger

U.S. National Park Service Rangers are among the uniformed employees charged with protecting and preserving areas set aside by United States Congress for the National Park System. While all employees of the agency contribute to the National Park Service mission of preserving unimpaired the natural and cultural resources set aside by the American people for future generations, the term Park Ranger is traditionally used to describe all NPS employees who wear the uniform. Broadly speaking, all National Park Service rangers promote stewardship of the resources in their care - either voluntary stewardship via resource interpretation, or compliance with statute or regulation through law enforcement. These comprise the two main disciplines of the ranger profession in the National Park Service.

History

The term "Ranger" was first applied to a reorganization of the Fire Warden force in the Adirondack Park, after 1899 when fires burned convert|80000|acre|km2 in the park. The name was taken from Rogers' Rangers, a small force famous for their woodcraft that fought in the area during the French and Indian War in 1755. The term was then adopted by the National Park Service [Angus, Christopher, "The Extraordinary Adirondack Journey of Clarence Petty", Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8156-0741-5.]

Duties, disciplines, and Specializations

The duties of the modern park ranger are as varied and diverse as the parks where they serve, and in recent years have become more highly specialized - though they often intertwine. Regardless of the regular duties of any one discipline, the goal of all rangers remains to protect the park resources for future generations and to protect park visitors. This goal is accomplished by the professionalism and sometimes overlapping of the different functions and specialties. For example, an interpretive ranger may perform a law enforcement role by explaining special park regulations to visitors and encouraging them to be proper stewards of natural and cultural history. Law enforcement rangers and other park employees may contribute to the mission of the interpretive ranger by providing information to park visitors about park resources and facilities. The spirit of teamwork in accomplishing the mission of protecting the parks and people is underscored by the fact that in many cases, the U.S. National Park Service in particular, park rangers share a common uniform regardless of work assignment.

Interpretation Rangers

*Interpretation and education: Park Rangers provide a wide range of informational services to visitors. Some Rangers provide practical information—such as driving directions, train timetables, weather forecasts, trip planning resources, and beyond. Rangers may provide "interpretive programs" to visitors intended to foster stewardship of the resources by the visitor. Interpretation in this sense includes (but is not limited to): guided tours about the park's history, ecology or both; slideshows, talks, demonstrations; informal contacts, and historical re-enactments. Rangers may also engage in leading more formalized curriculum-based educational programs, meant to support and complement instruction received by visiting students in traditional academic settings and often designed to help educators meet specific national and/or local standards of instruction. All uniformed rangers, regardless of their primary duties, are often expected to be experts on the resources in their care, whether they are natural or cultural.

Law Enforcement Rangers

By the 1970s the National Park Service recognized that in order to protect visitors and park resources effectively the service need professional rangers dedicated to Law Enforcement, Emergency Medical Services, Firefighting, and Search and Rescue. Although modern NPS Rangers in this specialty are primarily engaged in law enforcement duties, the many varied environments they work in require these employees to be competent in all manner of public safety skills. These rangers wear the standard NPS uniform with the DOI Law Enforcement badge. The following list describes the typical duties of a modern protection ranger:
*Dispatching: Some rangers work as park dispatchers, answering emergency calls and dispatching law enforcement rangers, wildland fire fighters or Park EMS crews by radio to emergency calls. Dispatcher Rangers typically perform other duties such as taking lost and found reports, monitoring cctv cameras and fire alarms. Dispatch rangers are assigned to the Park Protection Division.
*Law enforcement: Protection rangers are Federal Law Enforcement Officers with broad authority to enforce federal and state laws within National Park Service sites. In units of the U.S. National Park System, law enforcement Rangers are the primary police agency; their services may be augmented by the U.S. Park Police, particularly in the Washington, DC and San Francisco metropolitan areas. The U.S. National Park Service also employs "Special Agents" who conduct more complex criminal investigations. Rangers, Agents and Park Police Officers receive extensive police training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and annual in-service and regular firearms training. According to Department of Justice statistics NPS Law Enforcement Rangers suffer the most number of felonious assaults, and the highest number of homicides of all federal law enforcement officers. ["U.S. Rangers, Park Police Sustain Record Levels of Violence." Environmental News Service. 2004. http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/sep2004/2004-09-01-02.asp] .

Emergency services

*Emergency Medical Response: Rangers are often certified as Wilderness First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians or Paramedics. Rangers operate ambulances and respond to medical incidents ranging from bee stings to heart attacks.
*Firefighting: Rangers are often the first to spot forest fires and are often trained to engage in wild land firefighting and in some cases structural fire fighting. Rangers also enforce laws and regulations regarding campfires and other fires on park lands. In the face of a fire outside their control, rangers will call for help and evacuate persons from the area pending the arrival of additional firefighters.
*Search and Rescue: The wilderness nature of National Park Service offers unique natural hazards for visitors. Search and Rescue trained rangers help visitors with injuries or illnesses suffered in remote wilderness areas or who become stranded in technical environments like swift water and high angle rock. These rangers are often expert climbers, boaters, or managers of the Incident Command System. Searches can range from children who wander away from Visitor Centers to expert climbers who suffer major accident while climbing Mt. Rainier.

Maintenance

Maintenance: Some rangers perform routine maintenance on facilities or equipment—especially in preparing for winter closures and spring re-openings. Rangers are often the first to discover vandalism or weather-related damage to roads or facilities.

See also

* List of United States federal law enforcement agencies
* Ranger
* Park Ranger

References

External links

* [http://www.anpr.org Association of National Park Rangers]
* [http://wwww.rangerfop.com U.S. Park Ranger Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police]
* [http://www.adopt-a-ranger "Adopt A Ranger", the worldwide foundation to finance additional park rangers]


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