My favorite thing about working for the National Park Service is the wonderful rangers that Tom and I get to meet. Some become good friends in a short period of time. We keep up with each other on Facebook and text or email. The rangers we meet vary in age from 22 to 72 but they are all dedicated to preserving and protecting the national park sites.
This summer at Pipe Spring we are working with the largest number of rangers per acre of any national park site. That isn’t a factual statement – I’m not sure it’s true – but it feels like the largest number. We have 14 interpretive rangers alone for the 40 acres of the monument. Compared to six at Kings Mountain, three at San Juan and three at Fort Frederica. Because Tom and I love getting to know the rangers, we like having a bigger staff. It also gives us more time to do our living history thing because there are so many of us.
About half of the interpretive rangers here are seasonals, and four of them are still in their 20s. Seasonal rangers work during a season, keeping their hours below 1,039 for a six month period. They are usually hoping to become full-time rangers someplace. We enjoy these young seasonal rangers because they have so much energy and enthusiasm for the job.
The full-time rangers are usually a little older and more low-key. They also have a great deal of in-depth knowledge about the park. Benn, who has worked here at long time and is a member of the Paiute band, has been invaluable in learning Paiute traditions. Sara knows a lot about the Latter Day Saints pioneers. Kait, the volunteer coordinator, left in July to work at the monuments in Washington DC. She was a great person to ask when you had a question about something because, if she didn’t know the answer, she knew who did.
Recently we all got together for a staff photo. We had to show up early, before the park opened, so we could all be in it. Tom and I went in on a day off. Some of the other rangers didn’t come, so this isn’t everyone, but you can see how many people there are.
Taking the picture itself was hilarious. Fred, the Superintendent, kept trying to get everyone to stand so you could see their faces in the picture. Some of the staff didn’t seem to get the concept, and others hid behind taller people. Finally, Fred resorted to lining everyone up, one person at a time, telling us “stay there” until the picture was taken. I think he was exhausted by the time we got a decent picture.
Tom and I enjoy working with everyone at Pipe Spring, as we have enjoyed working with the rangers at every park. The people we meet are one of the very best things about working for the National Park Service.