In National Parks

Several African American soldiers stand at the ready in front of their horses
Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry in formation with their mounts at the Presidio in San Francisco, c.1900

Library of Congress

With the creation of America's national parks in the late 19th century, the need for protection became evident after people began exploiting park resources for commercial gain. As there was no agency in charge of the nation's park lands, the Army was designated to oversee these federal public lands. Many Buffalo Soldiers went on to patrol and protect the early park lands, serving as the first rangers in many of them. Here you'll find the stories of these early park rangers as they performed double-duty, park rangers and army soldiers.

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    Last updated: September 30, 2019