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The Signpost Newsletter

Second Quarter 2018

The Park Rangers Association of California's Member Newsletter The Signpost Professionalism Through Unity Since 1976

What's in it For Me?

Time to let it all hang out!


by Professor Tom "Smitty" Smith


I recently had a long phone conversation with Jeff Price, our PRAC Webmaster, about a variety of things.  I first met Jeff at a PRAC/CSPRA conference, and like what happens at places like that, when two comrades get together, the conversation goes from there.  Jeff's phone bill must look like the national debt.  Good things happen when Rangers pass on to each other what has happened in the past year or so and what we can do to make things better in the future in what we do. That is what usually happens when you attend conferences.  That conversation often just happens over a glass of brew somewhere or in a hallway at coffee break time.


That is exactly how the National Park Ranger's Association started. There was a group of Rangers that met at the Tetons for a social get together and the discussions led to just what I mentioned above.  Out of those discussions evolved the association.  That organization now has a large membership.  PRAC actually had a part in that NPS evolution when I sent our by-laws (with input from CSPRA) to a friend in Yellowstone who was their first secretary.                                              (continued on Page 2)

"Getting to Know You"

Van Duzen Park, A Humboldt County Park Unit


by Patrick Boyle

 Van Duzen County Park is one of 14 units operated by Humboldt County Parks Department. The Park consists of 4 old growth redwood groves along the Van Duzen River. Pamplin Grove operates as a group camp for company picnics, weddings, and family reunions; while Swimmers Delight is a 36 site campground/ day use area operating on a first come first serve basis.


The other two groves are left to nature with just a trail connecting all 4 groves that follows the river. Not a bad gig for one full time staff and one summer seasonal employee. Needless to say there is never a dull moment. (continued on Page 2)

Redwoods at park entrance

2018 Parks Conference

Event Summary and Highlights


by Matt Cerkel


This year’s California Parks Training Conference at Tenaya Lodge just concluded. We had park rangers from Humboldt to San Diego and rangers from Nevada, Colorado and Hawaii in attendance.


It started off with Chris Cruz on The Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in Park Management. We had a great keynote speaker, Captain Ken Brink, Visitor Services Manager for Larimer County, Colorado, discuss the need for national standards for the park ranger profession. Scott Gediman, Yosemite’s PIO, discussed managing public affairs at a high-profile park like Yosemite.


Our opening speaker Wednesday was George Durkee, who has served as a park ranger for 47 years. He discussed his 40 years as a backcountry law enforcement ranger and the use of GIS in Search and Rescue.


George was also honored at the conference’s annual banquet


The conference concluded with the annual banquet, where George Durkee was presented as the 2018 PRAC Honorary Lifetime Member For his decades of service as a backcountry law enforcement ranger and his dedication to the betterment of the park ranger profession.


As the conference chair I liked seeing a lot of new faces at the conference. It was also good to see so many young rangers in attendance and rangers that reflect the diversity of California.


I would like to thank the speakers, track chairs and the attendees that ALL contributed in making the 2018 California Parks Training Conference a success. See you all next year in Ventura County!