Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sense Of Loss Of A National Park Ranger

I can never know the pain and sorrow that is now inflicted on the family of Margaret Anderson.  Her close friends and co-workers are sharing in this grief filled emotional roller coaster.

Although I no longer wear the green and gray of a National Park Ranger, those colors still run strong in my blood and Margaret’s death takes one more piece of my sense of sanity in the world.  I believe I speak for every present and past Park Ranger when I say that the loss of Margaret Anderson has reverberated through us all and left an indelible mark on our hearts.

Eventually there will be opportunities for contributions to be made to aid Margaret’s family in caring for her husband and two young daughters she has left behind.  I will pass this information on when it becomes available.  I hope many of you can find a way to help out.  In the mean time, let us not forget the ultimate sacrifice made by Margaret Anderson doing what she dedicated her life to that was for the benefit of every one of us.

After working in law enforcement as a National Park Ranger for more than thirty two years I have developed a patina of cynicism and do not normally find sympathy for anyone who would kill another human let alone a law enforcement officer.  In this case I do find myself reflecting on the second edge of this blade stabbed into society’s heart in that the suspected shooter, Benjamin Colton Barnes, appears to have been a young, troubled, military veteran of the war in Iraq.  This is another tragic story in itself.

When such appalling events occur in National Parks many feel a deep concern as if it happened in their own back yard for the National Parks do belong to all Americans.

My thoughts here are rambling, but I find that being a condition of my grief.  Today and everyday may we all say a prayer of support for Margaret Anderson’s family.
US Park Ranger Margaret Anderson


  1. Well said Bruce! S. Jennings, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

  2. This was a very special article to me, and I am glad you shared it with us Mike and Bruce. Thank you very much. Rest in eternal peace our friend Margaret....many I know will miss you. We thank you for your dedicated and undying service to others and in your special work. God Bless you, your family and friends forever and always. You will have a special place in our hearts Margaret.

  3. Your words are so right. My husband was a Law Enforcement Ranger with a different park system for 30 years, and every day I was thankful that he made it home safe and well. I cannot begin to fathom the depth of grief for this young family.