If you have ever visited a National Park or Monument and wondered who all those friendly people wearing green are, this is for you! At the time the National Parks were being created there was no unified front behind the movement. The signing of the Act of March 1,1872, which established Yellowstone as our nations first park, set off a frenzy. The Dept. of Interior had first dibs on establishing which areas were of significance and seeking legislation in order to preserve them. Then the all mighty War Dept. would step and say, “We think this area is cool over here”, get enough legislation behind them and boom, its a National Monument. Safe to say it was kind of a mess. The man to clean it all up would be President Woodrow Wilson. On August 25,1916, he signed the act creating the National Park Service.
This new department would receive direct oversight under the Dept. of the Interior. Although this was a great start, it wasn’t until an Executive Order in 1933, that all of the parks and monuments would be transferred under its control. To this day, the National Park system comprises more than 400 areas, covering more than 84 million acres!
Within the Park Service are a handful of different Park Rangers. Education Specialists oversee and coordinate NPS education programs, manage the logistics of visiting school groups, and act as general guides throughout the parks. Park Rangers may do everything from assist visitors, provide emergency medical services, and patrol the park to ensure guests safety. Other roles Within the service include, Archeologist, Science Technician, Biologist, Museum Technicians, and most importantly Law Enforcement. They also get to wear those swanky color coordinated green uniforms.
So next time you’re at a NPS Park or Monument make sure to greet the rangers warmly and don’t hesitate to ask them any questions. They may hold a wealth of information as to the best hikes, views, and where to catch a glimpse of our gorgeous native wildlife!