The following review of "A Park Ranger's Life" was written by former National Park Ranger and author Andrea Lankford. Ms. Lankford has published four books related to National Parks;
Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks
Haunted Hikes: Spine-Tingling Tales and Trails from North America's National Parks
Biking the Arizona Trail: The Complete Guide to Day-Riding and Thru-Biking
Biking the Grand Canyon Area
Bytnar's chilling story about the haunted colonial mansion was alone worth the price of admission. But, as readers of A Park Ranger's Life will discover, historic haints and wayward bears addicted to Kentucky Fried Chicken are the least of a park ranger's worries.
In Bytnar's book, A Park Ranger's Life: Thirty-Two Years of Protecting Our National Parks, the veteran ranger tells the real story behind what it is like to patrol the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile long park through some of the best scenery the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina have to offer.
At times Mr. Bytnar's misadventures with wily fugitives, inept sheriffs, and park managers who make rattlesnakes seem cuddly are hilarious for us to read. Although these events must have seemed less funny at the time Bytnar was experiencing them. "Living in a national park is not the ideal situation that most people envision," the veteran park ranger tells us. "You end up living with your job 24 hours a day."
With his modest and articulate voice, Bytnar epitomizes what we would like our park rangers to be. Sturdy, good-humored, and fearless, he is a real-life Dudley Do-right who adores his family and pays for the apple coveted by a hungry but penniless boy inside a country store. But even for the likes of Bytnar something has to give.
For more about Bytnar and his book, A Park Ranger's Life, here's a story that appeared in National Parks Traveler (an excellent webzine on National Parks).