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Black George Simmons

photo: Black George Simmons, expert adventurer, storyteller and NPS volunteer
Black George Simmons, expert adventurer, storyteller and NPS volunteer
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert

In west Texas, “Yee-ha!” is an enthusiastic greeting reserved for long-lost friends. In Canyonlands, it means you’ve just met Black George Simmons, expert adventurer, storyteller and NPS volunteer.

Black George has worked for the NPS Volunteer-In-Park (VIP) program since 1984. In six seasons at Big Bend National Park, “Yee-ha!” became his trademark salutation (he even uses it to answer the phone). For the last ten years, Black George has divided his time between Bryce, Canyonlands and Grand Teton National Parks, often working year-round. In 1999, he received the Honorary Park Ranger award, the highest honor given to citizens for supporting the NPS mission.

Prior to joining the VIP program, Black George worked for the U.S. Geological Survey. In fact, Black George’s career with the US government spans over 50 years. In the summer of 1956, Black George Simmons was lead boatman on a USGS mapping trip down the Green River (Stillwater Canyon) and through Cataract Canyon. Below are links to the journal he kept on the trip.

Trip Introduction
River Journal

Did You Know?

Rapids in Cataract Canyon

The highest recently recorded flow in Cataract Canyon is 114,900 cfs in 1984. However, scientists dating driftwood piles estimate that in 1884, the river may have reached 225,000 cfs. More...