National Park Service Press Release

2006 Harry Yount National Park Ranger Award Recipient Named - Park Ranger and Special Agent Todd Swain Honored as Top Ranger for 2006
For Immediate Release:
April 26, 2006
Contact(s):   David Barna, 202 208-6843

Gerry Gaumer, 202 208-4989


2006 Harry Yount National Park Ranger Award Recipient Named - Park Ranger and Special Agent Todd Swain Honored as Top Ranger for 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Todd Swain, Park Ranger and Special Agent at Joshua Tree National Park, California, is this year’s recipient of the Harry Yount National Park Ranger Award for excellence in “rangering.” The national award will be presented this evening by National Park Service (NPS) Director Fran Mainella at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., hosted by the National Park Foundation (NPF), the Congressionally-chartered nonprofit partner of America’s national parks.

Named after Harry Yount, who is generally given credit for being the first Park Ranger, the Harry Yount National Park Ranger Award is the hallmark of recognition as a NPS Ranger. The prestigious award is presented annually by the NPS and made possible by the National Park Foundation through a generous gift from Unilever. The peer-nominated award not only seeks to recognize and honor outstanding rangers, but to encourage high standards of performance; foster an especially responsive attitude toward public service; enhance the public’s appreciation of the Park Ranger profession; and further the art and science of “rangering.”

"It gives me great pleasure to have the honor of presenting the Harry Yount National Park Ranger Award to Todd Swain," said Director Mainella. "Being a ranger in the National Park Service requires an individual to have effective leadership skills, adaptability to change, and a strong work ethic. Todd exemplifies every aspect of an outstanding National Park Service ranger. The service is very proud of Todd and all of the others who were nominated for this award."

His peers nominated Todd Swain for this award. According to them, “Without exception, Park Ranger and Special Agent Todd Swain walks among the legendary professionals in resource protection, search and rescue, and ranger skills, not only within the NPS, not only within the Department of Interior, but among resource protection professionals internationally.”

Swain’s park ranger career progressed from Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and on to Joshua Tree National Park in

California. As a climbing ranger, Todd’s rescue skills and personal expertise are legendary. He teaches other rangers and volunteer rescue teams, and established the first rock rescue seminars held annually at Joshua Tree. A true “Renaissance Ranger”, Todd put his teaching skills to further use through his invaluable contribution to rescue journals, climbing guides, and training manuals.

For more than a decade, Todd has been the highest rated instructor of resource protection courses for archeologists, paleontologists, tactical teams, superintendents, US Attorneys, and park rangers in basic and advanced courses. He created an Advanced Resource Protection course which brings together professional disciplines within land management agencies to protect natural and cultural resources. Todd has been one of the principle developers and leaders in the partnership between the Department of Justice and the NPS course “Overview of Resource Protection Crimes.” This course has been invaluable in gaining support for resource protection from the U.S. Attorneys nationwide. Todd has frequently been requested to instruct or provide counsel to the FBI’s Art Crimes Team. It is during his instruction, casework, court testimony, media interviews, or day to day interactions with the public that Todd constantly presents the highest standards of professionalism that reflect so proudly on the park ranger profession.

The National Park Foundation, chartered by Congress in 1967, strengthens the enduring connection between the American people and their national parks by raising private funds, making strategic grants, creating innovative partnerships and increasing public awareness. In the past seven years, NPF has contributed more than $134 million in grants and program support to national parks across the country.

The National Park Service preserves the natural and cultural resources and values of 390 units of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. These national treasures cover more than 84 million acres in every state (except Delaware), the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The NPS also manages a variety of programs in cooperation with multiple partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

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