Oh, Ranger!
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A Word of Introduction
(From the first edition of "Oh, Ranger!")

To me no picture of the national parks is complete unless it includes the rangers, the "Dudes," the "Sagebrushers," and the "Savages." I like to picture the thousands of people gathered about the park campfires, asking questions of the rangers. In fact, I like to be at the campfire myself, and listen to the thousands of questions asked about the parks and their wild life. Especially am I interested in the replies of the rangers. These men have be come keen students of human nature. In their brief, informal talks, they have learned to anticipate many of the questions of the visitors.

I like the idea of this book, "Oh, Ranger!" It tells the story of the parks in the simple, informal style of the rangers. It gives the rangers the credit due them for their fine work in guarding the national parks and preserving them in their primeval beauty. It breathes the spirit of the people who belong to the parks, who make possible the parks as they are today.

They are a fine, earnest, intelligent, and public-spirited body of men, the 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 of Nature's ways, if a Sagebrusher is puzzled about a road, his first thought is, "ask a ranger." Everything the ranger knows, he will tell you, except about himself. Now "Oh, Ranger!" tells you about him.

The national parks are more than the storehouses of Nature's rarest treasures. They are the playlands of the people, wonderlands easily accessible to the rich and the humble alike. They are great out-of-doors recreation grounds, where men, women, and children can forget the cares and the sounds of the cities for a few days. The serenity of the mountains and the forests is contagious. With almost four million Americans under the spell of the unspoiled wilderness of the national parks each year, if only for a short time, they are a powerful influence in our national life. It has been the particular joy of my work as Director of the National Park Service to tell the people about their parks, to urge them to see their wonders. The whole purpose of Congress in creating the national park system was that the American people might enjoy them and benefit by them forever.

So I am glad of the opportunity to write this short introduction to "Oh, Ranger!" which tells the story of the parks in a new and interesting way, and to say a word about its authors. Horace M. Albright has served the national parks since the service was organized, as superintendent of Yellowstone National Park and field director of the National Park Service. He is an indefatigable worker, a true lover of the mountains. He knows the rangers and undoubtedly knows the parks better than any other man in the service. Frank J. Taylor has been a friend of the parks for many years, as newspaperman and writer. He, too, has spent much time in the Parks and has helped bring their possibilities to the attention of the people. It is a happy circumstance that two men who themselves have the genuine spirit of the rangers and who are so intimately informed in the affairs of the parks and their people should have collaborated to produce this book.

Director (1917-1929), The National Park Service


Oh, Ranger!
©1928, 1929, 1934, 1972, Horace M. Albright and Frank J. Taylor
albright-taylor/introduction.htm — 06-Sep-2004