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The National Park Service has a varied and experienced staff of national stature--rangers, natural resource managers, archeologists, historians, interpreters, landscape architects, engineers, and planners, who protect our land and legacy, conduct research, and educate the public. Our personnel, including facility managers, building trade craftsmen and women, and vital administrative and support staff, takes care of the parks and is available to outside clients whose projects dovetail with our own.

"We owe a debt of thanks to the workers and volunteers who watch over our national estate and who share their knowledge and enthusiasm with millions of visitors each year."
(Barbara Bush, former First Lady, on the occasion of the National Park Service's 75th anniversary)

Dedicated, Devoted and Committed

Deb and Jay Liggett, Dual Career Couple, Superintendent Devils Tower, Wyoming, and Chief Ranger at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, Respectively
Deb and Jay Liggett have worked in many parks, though not always together. As newlyweds they both worked as seasonals at the Grand Canyon. However they were assigned different housing; Deb on the rim and Jay in the bottom of the canyon. "We stayed in good shape hiking in and out on our days off," Jay said. After fifteen years, and seven parks later, they now live 255 miles apart. Deb works at Devils Tower in Wyoming and Jay at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota. "Why do we do it? It's a job worth doing. The NPS is our life. Do we like living apart? No. If there was a better or easier way to do it, we would choose that route. But in order for us to work in jobs that are challenging, for a mission that's 'worth doing,' we have to take risks. Each time one of us moves, we take a risk. So far we have been fairly lucky. The risks have paid off. Who knows what the next move entails..."

Diane H. Dayson, Superintendent, Roosevelt -Vanderbilt National Historic Site, New York
"I am second generation in the Park Service. My father was an interpreter and then a maintenance worker for 35 years, all over the New York area. He ate, slept, breathed the parks, and we got sick of hearing about it. He said NPS was home for him. I took a summer seasonal job but then said, 'This is it; I'm outta here.' I wanted something different. But I found that the Park Service was in my blood. They say it's just like family, and it is." (Her brother works in law enforcement at Gateway National Recreational Area, New York.) " I wasn't sure what a government agency with all its traditionalism had to offer a woman and a minority. It has been a lot of sacrifices and balancing. But what better place than the Park Service? A lot of my friends make four or five times what I do. But their pressures are different and they're not happy. I go out and enjoy the resource; I'm not trapped in an office."

Steve Golden, Chief, Conservation Assistance Division, Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Program, Massachusetts
"Steve Golden has the best job in the conservation movement" his local newspaper recently declared - and Steve wholeheartedly agrees. Steve has worked for the NPS 19 years and most recently for the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Program. Steve has this to say about his job: "Every day I am in contact with people working to save their rivers, their trails, their open space lands, and eager for NPS help. From the South Bronx to the wilds of Maine, I have had the chance to hear the dreams of people struggling to make their communities better places in which to live and work. We are lucky that the NPS has the courage to work outside of confined boundaries and tight regulations as every day we win new friends by participating in the broad conservation agenda of the region. Although my family thinks of me as a bit of an outdoor nut, a grown up Boy Scout, I can't imagine a closer fit between one's vocation and one's avocation."

Habitats, Heights and Horizons

Ron Nagata, Chief of Resource Management, Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
Ron Nagata, Chief of Resource Management at Haleakala National Park, started as a park volunteer in 1976. During that time Ron spearheaded a creative, experimental fence building project in which he and his volunteer crew fenced in native life forms, and fenced out the non-native feral creatures that threaten them. The park, Ron explains, is critical habitat for seven endangered bird species and twelve threatened and endangered plants. At Haleakala, Ron relates that although "tens of thousands of animals feral were removed, the void was quickly filled by animals from lands adjoining the park." Innovative park managers planned, designed and constructed approximately 48 miles of both barrier and boundary fences. The feral animals were removed by resource management crews, allowing the native species to prosper. Ron anticipates that the fences will be maintained in perpetuity in order to favor native species.

Mike Shields, Chief of Maintenance, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
"I joined the NPS in 1960 as a seasonal laborer, and in the ensuing years have been a Trails Leader, Ranger, Interpreter, General Foreman, Facility Manager and Chief of Maintenance. My career has taken me from Olympic to Grand Canyon, Big Bend (twice), Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, North Cascades, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Rocky Mountain and now Denali.... Like most of my peers, I'm here to help preserve the premier examples of America's natural and cultural heritage for today's and tomorrow's public, and to help educate that public to the enduring but often intangible values of this heritage. It is a calling, not just a job -- a form of public service that invites willing subservience of personal interests to a longer and more lasting goal. It's no easy task to attempt balancing the long-term protection needs of a finite resource against the virtually infinite shorter-term desires of the public owners of that resource, but I wouldn't trade a bit of the last 35 years for any other task."

Yvonne Iron, Secretary, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Yellowtail, Montana
Yvonne Iron grew up in the Bighorn Canyon country and has worked at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area for ten years. Yvonne has this to say about "her" park: "Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is part of my life. As I walk the canyon edge on the Om-Ne-A trail, I hear nature's voice greeting me. Standing atop the canyon, the breeze on my face quickens my memory of the story of Chief Big Metal, who was rescued by bighorn sheep for whom the park was named. The spectacular Madison limestone and Amsden formations of the canyon walls form the Bighorn Lake, patiently waiting for me to launch my boat and exchange feelings of wonder. I value the peace and serenity that Bighorn Canyon offers me and my family. Bighorn Canyon balances the peace as it breaks silence by the laughter of mountain water bouncing from cliff to cliff. What a joy!"

Welcoming the Contributions of Others

Partnering is a two-way street. We recognize the expertise and services of our partners and welcome their help in doing our work. These partners include volunteers, private businesses, park associations, foundations, state, local and tribal governments, and other federal agencies. New types of parks have been established--areas with multiple land owners managing for a common purpose--creating new partnerships. At Petroglyph National Monument, for example, the National Park Service, the State of New Mexico, and the City of Albuquerque have formed a joint ownership and management arrangement to preserve 12,000- year-old images of human prehistory.

75,000 volunteers in national parks and affiliated areas contributed $35 million worth of services in one year alone, from maintaining the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, to welcoming visitors at information desks, to monitoring biological research plots.

Cooperating associations and private businesses contribute millions of dollars to support projects in national parks, from such individual park support as providing bear-proof trash cans or handling the rental of interpretive tour cassettes, to such nationwide services as producing and selling publications and reinvesting proceeds in park management.

The Telephone Pioneers of America (TPA), 8,000 working and retired telephone workers, help us make parks more accessible to people with disabilities. Between 1992 and 1995 they completed 75 projects in 70-some parks--nature trails in Sequoia/Kings Canyon, interactive video interpretation of Golden Gate's Alcatraz unit (inaccessible to the mobility impaired), and telecommunication devices for the hearing impaired in many national park sites.

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Last Updated: Thursday, 24-Apr-97 08:32:23