"They are a fine, earnest, intelligent, and public spirited body of men, these rangers. Though small in number, their influence is large. Many and long are the duties heaped upon their shoulders. If a trail is to be blazed, it is 'send a ranger.' If an animal is floundering in the snow, a ranger is sent to pull him out; if a bear is in the hotel, if a fire threatens a forest, if someone is to be saved, it is 'send a ranger.' If a Dude wants to know the why, if a Sagebrusher is puzzled about a road, it is 'ask the ranger.' Everything the ranger knows, he will tell you, except about himself."
A visit to the Grand Canyon after college and Leslie Reynolds was hooked. Little did she know her love of national parks would take her on an incredible journey of public service and adventures in parks across the country.
Beginning as a seasonal law enforcement ranger in Yosemite National Park, Reynolds went on to work at Grand Canyon and Shenandoah national parks, serving these parks as an officer, medic, instructor, investigator, and even counselor. Whether heat exhaustion in the Grand Canyon, serious motor vehicle accidents on Skyline Drive, or even riding on a litter hanging from a helicopter suspended 200 feet in the air to save with an injured climber, she has stepped up in many life-saving situations her 21-year career.
Understanding prevention and educating potential victims is effective to saving lives, Reynolds was instrumental in developing the Preventative Search & Rescue (PSAR) programs at Yosemite and Shenandoah national parks. She also taught Operational Leadership and EMS to empower NPS staff. She has served as a member of the Critical Incident Stress Management Team, responding to numerous major traumatic events and helping team members cope with what they have been through and seen.
As the current chief ranger at Cape Cod National Seashore, Reynolds continues to inspire the new generation of park rangers and lead through example.
"I consider myself very fortunate to have chosen a career that is rewarding, that I am proud of, and one that continues to challenge me every day," said Reynolds. "My inspiration comes mostly from the rangers of the National Park Service with whom I have had the great honor of working with for the past twenty years. One of the most rewarding aspects of my profession is developing and mentoring others and watching them succeed, grow, and contribute to the ranger profession."
Previous awardees: 2014: Bil Vandergraf 2013: Tom Betts 2012: Brandon Torres 2011: Lisa Hendy 2010: Scott Emmerich 2009: Peter Armington 2008: Gary Moses 2007: Gordon Wissinger 2006:Todd Swain
Harry Yount: Yellowstone's first and only gamekeeper
"After building a winter cabin in the park in 1880, he became one of the first white men known to spend time on a year-round basis in Yellowstone. Independent and resourceful, able to subsist on his own without close supervision, and having a familiarity and knowledge of the natural processes surrounding him, Harry Yount has become an archetypal model for the National Park Ranger."