Thursday, October 01, 2015

open letter to that park ranger who's way too excited about her job

dear that park ranger who's way too excited about her job*,

ok, maybe i will start by saying that even though i characterize you as "way too excited about your job",  i have probably mischaracterized you because your job is an awesome job, your park is an awesome park, and you are good at your job.

have you ever been in a park or other publicly managed tract of land and you meet the ranger and s/he seems not very happy to have people come in and use the park because people might make a mess or something?

and i'm not going to tell you what park it was (and it was a long time ago) but we got yelled at by the ranger for trying to sneak in when in fact, we had stopped at the gate, looked for the ranger, read the sign about putting the day use fee in the little box, put our day use fee in the little box, and went on our merry way.

...until the ranger caught up with us.

that was not a happy ranger.

but you, ranger who is super happy about your job, i have met you in your little stationhouse, out in your park, and on the lands surrounding the park proper. you seem genuinely delighted by every public contact with your park, even if it's just someone coming in to buy ice or firewood.

i think you understand fundamentally that people who use public lands are more likely to support public lands and also that every public contact is an opportunity to invite and to educate.

recently i learned from you information about historical park use, invasive species around the park, and even the date and time of our recent lunar eclipse. that last thing i would have known about except for i was out camping and not at home near my usual sources of information.

plus you're just a pleasant person to talk with, a welcome visitor in my day.

so thanks for your work. thanks for your enthusiasm and for the care you put into your job.

see you out there.


* "that ranger who is way too excited about her job" is not an anonymous ranger, although this letter might could apply to other rangers in other parks. this particular ranger is in fact, jessica hagerman who is the ranger at little river state park in waterbury, vermont. she is an awesome ranger and little river is an awesome park.

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