Glen Canyon Mourns the Loss of Two Park Rangers

Laurie Axelsen and Brent McGinn
Laurie Axelsen, Brent McGinn

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News Release Date: October 10, 2010

On October 8, 2010, a privately-owned Cessna 172 with two occupants left the Bryce Canyon Airport for a pleasure flight over Mount Dutton before returning to Page, Arizona. Early on the morning of October 9, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area dispatch center received a report that the plane was overdue. Shortly thereafter, a search was initiated by Garfield and Kane Counties, the National Park Service and Classic Life Guard. At approximately, 8:00 a.m., MST Classic Life Guard located the plane in a rugged area known as Deep Creek on Mount Dutton in Dixie National Forest. Both occupants were killed in the crash.

The two occupants of the plane were identified as Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Chief Ranger Brent McGinn and Dangling Rope District Ranger Laurie Axelsen. The two off-duty rangers were returning from a pleasure trip to Bryce Canyon, Utah where Brent met friends to scout hunting locations.

According to Acting Glen Canyon Superintendent Kym Hall, "When you think about what rangers do every day and the frequency with which they put themselves in harm’s way for the protection of visitors and park resources, it is a bitter irony that a recreational outing on a day away from work took the lives of two of our law enforcement rangers."

Chief Ranger Brent McGinn was 49 years old and had worked at Glen Canyon for almost three years. McGinn was from Duluth, Minnesota and started his National Park Service career in 1980 as a Park Technician at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Through the years, he had worked at several National Park Service units, including Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks and Canaveral National Seashore. McGinn is survived by his parents and three siblings.

Dangling Rope District Ranger Laurie Axelsen was 41 years old and had worked at Glen Canyon for over eight years. She was from Great Falls, Montana and started with the National Park Service in 1989 as a Park Ranger at Mount Rainier National Park. Axelsen had previously worked at several national park units, including Olympic, Big Bend and Shenandoah National Parks. She is survived by her parents and a brother.

Both are survived by their National Park Service family and friends across the nation. "There will be a tremendous hole in our organization with the loss of two such well-known and passionate people," said Superintendent Hall.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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