Last updated: March 10, 2017
Do You Do This All Day?“Do you do this all day?” Ask any ranger at Carlsbad Caverns National Park if he or she has been on the receiving end of that question about our job, and the ranger will respond with a resounding, “Yes!” The cave is an exceptionally operational-heavy place to work. In most parks you see rangers taking entry fees, working the visitor’s center information desk, conducting programs, and roving trails. Rangers here do all that and more. We check tickets at cave entry points, provide orientations, operate elevators to keep them from being overloaded, document cave damage, assist with cave lighting when needed, clean the cave, and even provide emergency medical services.
By Lacey Thomas
By Lacey Thomas
We tend to stay at each duty station between one and two hours. By switching duties throughout the day, rangers always have fresh eyes for changing circumstances. Most visitors, however, don’t see us moving. They assume the orientation ranger at the cave entrance stands there all day long. It appears to them the ranger counting people onto the elevator so it doesn’t become overloaded does nothing but stand and count for eight hours. The great news is that idea couldn’t be further from the truth. Some visitors learn about shuffling rangers in an odd way—they think the rangers are following them. On occasion, a schedule assigned to a ranger mimics the time of a visitor’s movements. The same ranger may orient them at the cave entrance, count them onto the elevator, and answer their questions at the information desk. By the end of the day someone is usually cracking a “Fancy seeing you here” joke.
If you’re visiting the park, please feel free to ask any ranger your questions. We are all trained to do each operational task including leading each tour. The ranger making sure the elevators aren’t overloaded is just as knowledgeable and competent as the ranger leading your King’s Palace tour. Each job is important, and they must each be done on a daily basis. Jobs like picking up trash in the cave might not be glamorous, but it is vital to keep the fragile cave ecosystem in balance.
And now to answer the original question…No, the same ranger isn’t in that one spot all day; however, a ranger is. People saved this cave for us nearly 100 years ago. Now we are preserving the cave for those 100 years from now.