A park ranger can typically be found on patrol at national parks, national historic sites, and similar attractions. They serve as a specialized sort of law enforcement and first responder, but their role may require a great deal of versatility. Park rangers can also be used to help maintain a park area, provide information and guides to guests, and generally serve as supervising personnel to ensure a safe and rewarding experience for all visitors.
In the role of law enforcement or first responder, a park ranger is simply expected to be vigilant. He or she should know the various areas of the park assigned to him or her. The ranger looks out for out-of-the-ordinary activity from visitors and then investigates it. He or she also stays attuned to changes in the nature of parks, such as abnormal wildlife behavior. These can cue the ranger into situations like potential fires and other hazardous situations.
There are typically a limited number of park ranger positions available, and this can be a competitive field. Most persons who choose this career path will need a university degree in forestry, wildlife management, or some other environmental science. Rangers are also typically required to attend a training school similar to a police academy. Most park rangers work in shifts, as many parks require at least a few rangers to be on-call 24 hours a day. They typically spend much of their time outdoors, with some office and documentation work required as well.
Park Ranger Tasks
Perform some law enforcement activities to enforce rules, regulations, and policies for visitor and resource protection.
Instruct, supervise, and conduct routine maintenance on grounds and equipment and daily visitor services.
Assist with park administration by collecting and accounting for revenue and creating reports.
Respond to and write incident reports for visitor complaints and emergencies.