After 35 years with the National Park Service, the last 12 served as chief ranger at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Jim Bowman will retire on October 31st.
A native of Castle Rock, Colorado, Jim has had a life-long love for national parks. His family visited parks and Jim’s earliest memories include trips to Grand Teton and Yellowstone, where he and his family rented cabins. When Jim was a senior in high school, pondering his next move, his mom suggested that he consider becoming a park ranger…and the rest is history.
Jim began his National Park Service career as a seasonal at Theodore Roosevelt NP, where he worked for three seasons during college. After graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in outdoor recreation (park management), Jim attended the BIA Police Academy. He worked as a seasonal LE ranger the summer of 1979 at Wind Cave NP and that winter at Bighorn Canyon NRA.
To gain permanent status, Jim took a distribution clerk position with the US Postal Service and after five months returned as a permanent protection ranger to Bighorn Canyon, where he served from 1981 until 1987. From there, Jim moved to Glen Canyon NRA, where he worked as the Escalante Subdistrict Ranger from 1987 to 2000.
In November, 2000, Jim accepted the chief ranger position at Great Sand Dunes National Monument—just two weeks before President Bill Clinton signed the legislation which created the National Park & Preserve.
When asked about his favorite memory, with a smile Jim replied that he’s enjoyed every place he was stationed—but that he saved the best for last when he came to Great Sand Dunes. But he’ll never forget those boat patrols on Bighorn Lake or backpacking patrols in the spectacular Escalante Canyons.
Jim will be greatly missed… and leaves big boots to fill. He is respected by colleagues as a consummate professional. He is the calm in the storm, quiet and soft spoken, equally competent and capable behind a desk or in the field.
Jim will continue to reside in Monte Vista, Colorado, with his wife, son, and two daughters, where he will undertake some home fix-up projects, continue his involvement in his church, delve into his family history, spend more time riding his bicycle, take some on-line courses, and maybe take on a part time job.
After October 31st, Jim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.