John Reid Celebrates 35 Years with NPS

Ranger John Reid in uniform celebrating President Roosevelt's birthday in 2006, with a balloon and life-size cut out of Theodore Roosevelt.
Ranger John Reid celebrates the 2006 birthday of President Theodore Roosevelt at Tuzigoot.

NPS Photo/Anne Worthington

The site of Tuzigoot near Clarkdale was proclaimed a National Monument 75 years ago and park ranger John P. Reid has been there for almost half of that time! His era of park interpretation and stewardship at Tuzigoot comes to an end this month when he officially retires to travel and visit, "some of the other parks and places I need to see while I now have the time!"

John Reid has been in one park, caring for Tuzigoot since 1982, but the Clarkdale resident also comes from a family with a legacy of travel, and John grew up in beautiful locales all over the country. John's father, also named John, worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps in California and then was employed by for U.S. Forest Service in the state of Washington where he also met John's mother, Frances, who was from a many-generation Pacific Northwest family.

After WWII John's father was employed as a guide at Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico. Mr. Reid then joined the U.S. Border Patrol, and over the years the family moved approximately every two years, living in Salinas, Ca., south Texas, Chicago, back to El Paso, Alaska and finally to Nogales, AZ.

A ranger in an NPS sweater holding a box.
John Reid moves into his new job as park ranger, Tuzigoot National Monument, in 1982. John is retiring after 35 years with the National Park Service.

NPS Photo

John enrolled in Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and began a course of study in parks and land management, considering a career in the National Park Service. But it was 1970 and like many young men of that era, John received his draft notice to serve in the Vietnam War, and soon he was off to southeast Asia with the 101st Airborne.

After one tour of duty, John returned to Arizona and worked for the Fred Harvey Company at the Grand Canyon, and as a member of the Coconino National Forest Hot Shots crew. But he felt the ethic and mission of the National Park Service, he said, best fit his values and concepts.

"My interest was in preservation and conservation of our vast and beautiful lands and resources in this country, and the National Park Service as an agency had, and still has, that mission as its primary focus," he explained."In the climate of the times, when we were all trying to make the world a better place for future generations, I thought this was an agency that was actually doing something very worthwhile". John began his NPS career as a summer seasonal at Walnut Canyon National Monument and then spent a winter season at Muir Woods in California. He finished his degree in philosophy from Northern Arizona University and was going back to school to get his certification as an elementary school teacher, but he applied for and was offered a job working at the entrance station at Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook.

By this time, John and his wife Julie were expecting their first baby so staying close to Flagstaff, where Julie was raised, was desirable. Their children, Emily, Cooper and Lillian, were all born in Flagstaff and attended Clarkdale Elementary and Mingus High School. In 1982, John applied for the job at Tuzigoot National Monument, went to an interview with superintendent Glen Henderson, and was hired by chief ranger Steve Sandell, both of whom still live in the Verde Valley.
Two men in NPS uniform and one in a shirt and slacks stand at a rock masonry wall of Tuzigoot, with a valley behind them.
Tuzigoot Ranger John Reid, right, in 1983 with Superintendent Glen Henderson of Cottonwood, left, and former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall.

Peter J. Pilles Jr.

"Working at Tuzigoot was just so wonderful because it gave me a chance to do a variety of things. At that time, I did a lot of curatorial and archival work. I conducted tours, gave talks, helped collect fees, did maintenance and anything else that needed to be done," explained John.

"I decided that it was important to stay in one place…for many people in the Park Service a career is the time to move around and see other areas, and as attractive as that is, I wanted to really go into great depth about my site; to really know and be able to interpret the history of Tuzigoot and its place in the community, through time.We made a decision that we were going to live in Clarkdale, make a home and stay here so we could really understand the depth of what this wonderful site is all about".

Over the years, John Reid has led countless guided tours of Tuzigoot National Monument and he especially enjoys working with school groups, hearkening back to his thoughts in the past of becoming an elementary school teacher.But he has decided that now is the time to see those many parks he did not visit during his working career, spend time with his children and especially watch his new granddaughter, Eleanor, grow up.

An open house to visit with John and celebrate his career has been scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 22, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Clark Memorial Clubhouse Men's Lounge. Added ranger John, "I still think the National Park Service has the mission that best reflects my values and what I believe is most important: to save these special places and interpret them to the public so we will all be able to enjoy and appreciate our parks for many generations to come."

From all of us at Tuzigoot, past and present: Thank You, John!

Last updated: January 16, 2015

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