Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Blue Ridge Parkway - Bluffs Subdistrict

In February of 1981 my wife once again had to leave a teaching job as I accepted a transfer to the Bluffs Subdistrict of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We moved to the North Carolina mountains near Laurel Springs at Doughton Park. Here I worked for the legendary park ranger Dean Richardson. Dean was born and raised in this area and worked on the Blue Ridge Parkway since the 1940's. After we arrived and I started work, it was another week until I got to meet Dean since he was tied up on a murder investigation. The victims body had been dumped in the park a day or two before our arrival. This was our introduction to our new home.

It was while working here that I began to learn and fine tune the traditional skills of a park ranger. There were much higher levels of serious law enforcement incidents, wildland fire, concessions operations, agricultural leases, search and rescue, backcountry management, campground management, and health and safety work to deal with.

The Bluffs will always retain a special place in our hearts since we experienced some of the happiest times in our lives including the birth of our son, Brian.

In the book A Park Ranger's Life: True Stories from Thirty Two Years Protecting Our National Parks you will find stories from this period involving escaped convicts, car chases of thieves, poachers, very lost people, and other characters. The projected availability date for the book is now late October to early November. Keep posted.


  1. I first met Dean Richardson on the phone-he has the deepest of voices. Although tall in lengend, he is not the tallest of rangers. I was so surprised when I met him later.

  2. It's ironic to hear you talking about important rangers in your career. Because I often use skills you taught to me as examples to other rangers. Skills I learned from rangers on the Parkway like you, Tim Pegram, Art Frederick and Bud Cantrell follow me in my career and are being passed along to the new rangers.

  3. Thank you NP Ranger for your kind words. I find at this point in my life that there is no higher compliment to my career than the fact that I had some positive impact on others.