Evolving Design

In 1968, the National Park Service adopted the new Department of the Interior seal for its badges, with gold for superintendents and silver for all other uniformed personnel. Both carried the “National Park Ranger” designation. Secretary Walter J. Hickel restored the bison to the Interior seal in 1969 and the Park Service redesigned its badge to match in 1970. These gold “bison badges” were marked “National Park Ranger.” New uniform standards restricted their use to law enforcement rangers.

Badges were once again worn by other types of rangers when they became part of the men’s Class A uniform in 1977. The next year, women were authorized to wear the same “green and gray” uniforms as men, including the badge.

With all uniformed personnel wearing the same badge, the need to clearly identify law enforcement rangers remained. A new shield, similar to other Federal law enforcement credentials, was created in 1992. It became part of the uniform in 2003.

The ranger shield and bison badge are still worn today. Law enforcement rangers wear shields to represent their legal authority. For safety, maintenance staff do not wear badges, although chiefs of maintenance do wear them with the dress uniform. All other uniformed personnel wear bison badges. Both badges are worn with pride by the men and women known to the American public as park rangers.

Lena Koschmann stands on a beach wearing NPS uniform and ball cap. She has a shield-shaped badge with an eagle perched on top pinned to her shirt.
A gold and a silver badge marked National Park Ranger. The round seal in the middle has a stylized pair of hands cupping a sun, mountains, and water.
Gold shield-shaped badge with eagle on top. Marked U.S. Park Ranger and 1 in blue. Round seal has blue border with bison in the middle.
Gold shield-shaped badge marked National Park Ranger. Round seal in the middle has a bison with US Department of the Interior March 3, 1849 around it.
Gold visitor’s aid badge with round seal in middle with green trees on yellow. Silver Visitor Center badge with eagle with red and blue flag in middle.
Gold shield-shaped bison badge marked National Park Ranger. Green banners at top and bottom read 1916-2000 and Preserving for Future Generations.
Gold arrowhead-shaped badge featuring bison scene engraved with Centennial at top and 1916-2016 below. Green banner reads National Park Service.e
James Riddle in NPS uniform with ball cap wears a shield-shaped badge featuring stylized hands.
Woman in NPS uniform and shield-shaped bison badge stands behind a desk taking to visitors.
Three people stand in NPS uniforms. Only two wear badges. A woman wears a gold shield shaped badge and a man a large gold arrowhead shaped badge.
Martin Tow wears a broad brim hat and NPS uniform with shield-shaped badge bearing a bison pinned to his shirt.
Man in broad brim hat and uniform with shield-shaped badge on his shirt leans out the Junior Ranger Station window to hand a boy a shield shaped badge.
Man in NPS uniform with a shield-shaped badge and broad rim hat kneels on the deck of a boat talking to a man in wheelchair and a standing man.