Park rangers are responsible for the not-so-glamorous tasks, too. In many cases they perform routine maintenance on park facilities such as cleaning restrooms, removing litter, and emptying fire rings heaped with ashes.
Rangers also prepare campgrounds at higher elevations for winter closures, making sure that water pipes and faucets are drained to prevent freezing. They lock up visitor centers and cabins, and close road gates to keep vehicles from entering the area.
In the spring, rangers then reverse these activities to get the parks and campgrounds ready for visitors. They inspect for weather damage to roads, campsites and trails, and repair the work of mindless vandals.
Rangers involved in administration are the ones who work "behind the scenes" to keep our parks operating smoothly. These individuals may set park policies, manage park budgets, set work schedules, handle computers and technology, and deal with human resource issues.
So what does a park ranger do?
Not only are they responsible for the safety and welfare of park and wilderness lands and wildlife, they also act as guides, hosts, emergency medical technicians, police officers, maintenance engineers, search and rescue experts, and administrators.
The next time you meet up with a park ranger, admire the beauty of the park or forest they protect and thank them for a job well done.
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