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The Signpost Newsletter

Second Quarter 2018

President's Message

April 2018


by Matt Cerkel


Returning top the Yosemite region for PRAC's 2018

California Parks Training Conference is like coming

home for the Park Ranger profession in California.

The idea of setting large tracts of wildlands aside

for public enjoyment and preservation began in Yosemite in 1864 with the creation of the Yosemite Grant, California's first state park and the birth of the Park idea. In 1866 Yosemite became the birthplace of the Park Ranger profession with the appointment of Galen Clark as the "Guardian of Yosemite."

Clark "was the first person formally appointed and paid to protect and administer a great natural park." Clark was "California's and the nation's first Park Ranger." Clark along with a Sub-Guardian had to protect the area...They were to strictly enforce the new state laws enacted to protect the park containing, the first park-

Clark photo courtesy M. G. Lynch Collection

protection laws in the nation. "Specifically, no trees or timber were to be cut or injured, no fires were to be allowed in dry grass or undergrowth, no structures were to be erected without approval, and trails, bridges, and ladders were to be kept in order. They were also" given authority to 'prevent…visitors…from doing anything which would tend to impair…the Valley or its surroundings.'" (continued on Page 7)

"Getting to Know You" (continued from Page 1)

The land was acquired by the Hammond Lumber Company near the turn of the century. It is comprised of virgin old growth redwood and one of the groves was a stop for the stagecoach from Red Bluff to Eureka. In 1956 Georgia Pacific (G.P.) bought out Hammond Lumber Company and then sold off its assets here in Humboldt County in 1969 to Pacific Lumber Company. Prior to the sale G.P. set aside 390 acres of land and donated it to the Nature Conservancy.

The Nature conservancy spent $18,000 in legal and survey fees to acquire this property, and offered it to the State Parks. The State Parks declined because they were unable to reimburse the money the Conservancy had spent. The Nature Conservancy then reached an agreement with the County for $10,000 along with a lease agreement for 280 acres for the next 50 years.                                                 (continued on Page 3)

What's in it For Me?

(continued from Page 1)


PRAC also started like that when an idea by founders Raleigh Young and Bill Lawrence had an idea about forming a Bay Area Ranger's association. They gathered a small group and in the discussions that took place, it became a state-wide organization after an in-service training program at West Valley attended by sixty Rangers all over California revealed it had to be larger than that.  The real need to get support for what we did state-wide was great. Park visitors and Rangers needed to be safe and our parks saved for the future. Here read this and here are the keys philosophy had to stop.  Our Rangers needed training and support.


PRAC is a professional organization guided by officers, a governing board and by a document of by-laws. Doctors have a professional organization, lawyers have them and rightfully so, I might add. Being a professional, by definition, is having academic preparation and the development of standards to live by. There is a need to get everyone on the same song sheet.


I do not think I would go to a doctor if he was not a member of the AMA, Would you?  Would you like to be wheeled into an operating room and find an intern standing there?  Did you know that PRAC does support standards for the preparation for a Ranger? You also should know that government personnel management departments have trouble where to put Rangers as standards vary as do job descriptions? We are not professional in their eyes because there are no college programs where you can get a four-year degree in being a park Ranger. It is that "academic" standard that they place people into. You can be a Ranger with a variety of college degrees. Only professional organizations like PRAC and other Ranger organizations can help change that.


Professional organizations usually create a "code of ethics."  Codes usually include individual competence in order to present the profession in a manner that brings credit to themselves and what they do. It is the "Ranger image" we strive for.  It is wearing that flat hat and the pride that brings.


We have people out there in our profession that do not want to wear that symbol of being an approachable public servant. I cannot imagine that ever happening.           (continued on Page 4)