The Beginnings of Forest Rangers

Forest rangers are entrusted to protect and preserve parklands. Yet, “parks” can be a very general term. Forest rangers can be part of national, state, provincial and local parks.  The daily tasks of a Forest ranger entail, “inspections of the park (or part of the park) you service, reporting any problems like blocked trails and noting potential risks like overflowing rivers. You’ll also greet visitors, explain the rules of the park, enforce park rules, and if applicable, run nature centers or gift shops on the premise.”[i]As well as guide tours and answer any questions nature enthusiasts may have. Also, part taking in any search and rescue missions and keeping an eye on how visitors are treating the parks and making sure that they are following the rules of the park. The main goal of a ranger is to make sure that the park environment is as well up kept as it can be with all the wear and tear human traffic can cause along with bad weather along with keeping the visitors of the park safe.[ii] Because a ranger’s job is to be outdoors almost every day checking the park it is important that rangers are physically fit and have a strong knowledge of the park and survivalist skills. Some of the survivalist skills needed to know are emergency care, like administering CPR or first aid, how to contain forest fires along with knowing how to tend wounded animals in the wild.[iii] Forest rangers must be very educated usually having a degree in biology along with some degree in forestry and wildlife conservation.[iv] With the increases in climate change it is more important than ever for Forest rangers to help protect our parks and preserve the natural beauties of the Earth.  

This is a photo of Forest Rangers performing a search and rescue operation. This was taken by the Department of Conservation

Forest Rangers in the North Country

Since the Adirondack Park in the North Country is the biggest state park in the United States it is very important task for Forest rangers to keep it preserved. “The park itself is larger than most states in New England and even larger than most National Parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, Grand Canyon, and Great Smokies.”[i] Forest rangers have been protecting the Adirondacks for over 100 years.[ii] New York State first established the Forest Preserve of New York state in 1885.[iii] “Forest Rangers are sworn Police Officers authorized to enforce all state laws, with special emphasis on Environmental Conservation Law and the protection of state lands and the public using state lands.”[iv] New York’s Forest Ranger force is combined with 134 forest rangers with different ranks and locations. They are mainly located in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. Every day no matter the conditions the Forest Rangers are sent out to patrol the 5 million acres of public land state land. To patrol this vast amount of land the rangers travel by, boat, ATV, snowmobile, aircraft, bicycle, foot, skis or snowshoes.[v] Many people believe that Forest rangers do not have that hard of a job. They are normally portrayed as lazy uneducated people, however after have done research on rangers that is not the case. Having to go out every day to eases 5 million acres a day, the Forest rangers of the North Country have their work cut out for them.

Every year at Saint Lawrence University in the fall the Outing Club at the university organizes a Peak weekend in the Adirondacks with the rangers of the Adirondacks. Where student who have had guide training, take a group of student on either day hikes or overnight hikes. However, this year there had been a lot of human traffic in the Adirondacks that created a lot of wear and tear on the hiking trails throughout the Adirondacks. Thus, the Peak weekend this year was cut back to minimize the destruction of the Park. So, smaller trips were led not allowing us to experience the full beauty of the Adirondacks. This example shows the work that the Forest rangers do to preserve and protect the parks. The Forest rangers of the North Country have their work cut out for them!




Begins of Forest Rangers 

[i] Warburg, Christina, “Job Duties And Responsibilities Of A Park Ranger,”, 2017,….                                    

[ii] Warburg, Christina, “Job Duties And Responsibilities Of A Park Ranger,”

[iii] Warburg, Christina, “Job Duties And Responsibilities Of A Park Ranger,”

[iv] Warburg, Christina, “Job Duties And Responsibilities Of A Park Ranger,”

Forest Rangers in the North Country

[i] Waldlinger, Sarah, “Top 10 U.S. State Parks,” Interexchnage.Org, 2017,….

[ii] Department of Environmental Conservation, “Forest Rangers,” Dec.Ny.Gov., 2017,

[iii] Department of Environmental Conservation, “Forest Rangers,”

[iv] Department of Environmental Conservation, “Forest Rangers,”

[v] Department of Environmental Conservation, “Forest Rangers,”

Contributor Biography

Connor Anthony. I am from New Canaan, Connecticut, I am currently a Sophomore attending Saint Lawrence University in Canton, NY with a double major in Economics and Business. I am a member of both the Club Ski Team and Ultimate Frisbee Club here at St. Lawrence. I chose my topic of Lake Placid and Forest Rangers because I am a huge fan of the 1980 U.S hockey team and the amazing accomplishments that they faced in the Olympics. As for Forest Rangers, I wanted to learn more about the profession and what it took to be a Park Ranger.

Suggested Readings  

Is the New York State Department of Conservation website. This site is great for find the history or what exactly Forest Rangers do. It is also a great way to learn more about what you can do to keep our parks clean and safe. 


If you are looking for a more in depth look at what it takes to be a Forest or Park Ranger this is the site for you. This is the site for everything Forest Ranger!….

Book: North To The St. Lawrence, By: Marnie Reed Crowell, Published: 1975

Is a great book that talks about keys point in the history of the North Country. Crowell does a great job creating imagery of what it was like back then. Creating a timeline from when Europeans first arrived to present day. While reading you can see the amazing evolution of the North Country into what it has become today. I definitely recommend taking a look if you are trying to learn more about the History of the North Country.



"Forest Rangers - NYS Dept. Of Environmental Conservation". 2017. Dec.Ny.Gov.

Wadlinger, Sarah. 2017. "Top 10 U.S. State Parks | Interexchange". Interexchange.Org.….

Warburg, Christina. 2017. "Job Duties And Responsibilities Of A Park Ranger: Forestrydegree.Net". Forestrydegree.Net.….