I stopped by a Blue Ridge Parkway visitor center the other day and met a new seasonal/temporary park ranger. Seasonals are the people that work summer visitor seasons in parks with no promise of permanent employment, no benefits, and are the front line park rangers that most visitors will meet. I found this latest recruit’s positive enthusiasm reassuring for the future and reminiscent of my first National Park Service job at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland.
I will never forget the excitement that I could barely contain the first day I showed up for the job that would eventually become a thirty two year career. It was June of 1975 and I was still young, impressionable, naive, and full of exuberance for the opportunity to work in a job I had dreamed about for years.
Although my first few years of seasonal work with the National Park Service provided some bumps along the road, I was hooked and looking back do not believe I would have done it to many different ways (well… there can always be some fine tuning identified when you look back).
So to all you first year seasonal park rangers out there, good luck, stay focused, and never lose faith with the mission of the agency you have chosen to work for.
... to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.
|The author in July 1975 inside Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine|