Developing the 21st Century Park Ranger

In a technology-dominated world, there is still a desire to visit wild places and reconnect to a simpler life. The Wilderness Act of 1964 preserved wild places and provided a management framework to maintain them, but ironically, increasing technological sophistication in the workforce has led away from careers utilizing traditional ranger skills and left a drying pool of wilderness champions to protect wilderness values and manage for the future.

The challenge for 21st century wilderness advocates is to develop managers who embrace the benefits of technology to implement wilderness management ideals and who also possess the traditional skills necessary for monitoring and measuring the success of those plans in the wilderness setting.

This will be the third year for this program. The position duties are split between field and office, developing future wilderness managers with a balance of technological and traditional skills. Skill in technology and tradition are necessary for creating reasonable wilderness management plans with measurable results. These positions produce immediate tactical benefits to Glacier National Park backcountry users resulting from added staffing in backcountry permit offices and increased ranger presence in the backcountry. The potential long-term benefits are significant as interns move on to future managerial roles and chart the course of wilderness protection for the rest of this century.