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A park ranger works to protect you

By Dan Manka

A park ranger is your friend.

He is the embodiment of the law in the park. His presence keeps me safe. He enforces the rules and sees to it that others keep the rules, too.

Our park is a better place, because he and his fellow rangers are there.

A ranger treats everyone with integrity, character, justice, mercy, helpfulness and compassion. He is a friend to all, but he is also an enforcer of the law.

He is a comfort to the law-abiding visitor, and his services are necessary to control the one who breaks the law. He has the right to use force when appropriate, including those times when he must use force to protect the lives of himself, others and animals in the park.

A ranger may be one who is snowbound from October to May, but he may still hike or ride horseback for hundreds or thousands of miles during that time.

He may be one who is hurt out in the wilderness and has to crawl, climb, hobble or hike for miles to find help.

A ranger may be one who helps to search for missing visitors. He may be lowered by a rope into a crevasse or a cave. He may have to help or carry a victim out of the wilderness.

A ranger is a friend who smiles for park visitors. He often comes to the rescue. He is there to be of service to the park visitors. He enforces the rules for the good of everyone in the park.

I therefore honor those rangers who serve our parks and risk their lives for my sake and for the sake of preserving our lands.

Thank you for your faithful service over the years. I honor you and your comrades who have served us well.

(Editor’s note: The above was written by Dan Manka of Fairmont, West Virginia, and is a tribute to Pennsylvania park rangers in honor of Ranger Paul Tubbs of Susquehannock State Forest, near Coudersport. It was published on Feb. 14 and reprinted with the writer’s permission.)

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