I wanna be a Park Ranger.

Next week, I'm starting a new job that took me a loooong stretch of Reinventing Self to attain. I'm going to be a Ranger in the National Park Service.

Along the way, I've discovered that many folks (besides our family) "collect" National Park passport stamps

and their kids earn Junior Ranger patches:

or badges:

whenever they visit a national park.

Whoa, even in my career choice there's a collecting component. eek. As for the Park Passports, there are more than 390 American National Park units (including Parks, Historical Parks, Monuments, Historic Sites, Battlefields, Seashores, and so on) with at least 600 stamps available nationwide. You can get the NP Passport Stamps at no cost at visitor centers and ranger stations. The stamps are usually found at the desk in the visitor centers; you may have to ask in the case of ranger stations, when they might be tucked away. The stamps always include today's date, and serve as a record of each park visit. This is when we started:
The program began in the mid 1980's and is a somewhat addictive way to collect a souvenir during your travels. Our kids have certainly compiled a ton of them--and the same is true for their park badges and patches. For those, serious effort and a more long-term commitment is involved: the kids have to study the park and answer a series of questions in a Junior Ranger booklet. When the questions are answered correctly, the kids raise their hands and take a conservation pledge with a Ranger, who presents them with a badge or patch (in some parks, the kids can choose; in many, the switch has been made to patches).
Some people take such collecting pursuits seriously indeed. We've discovered, via other ephemera that many of you have confessed to (such as squished pennies), that when you scratch the surface of a baseball card collector, there are other collectivities lurking behind the cardboard.

Anyway, I'm not one of those modern citizens who seems not to like or trust our government; in fact, quite the opposite. So I hope to do the NPS proud. This summer, I'll be taking classes and more training (including cool skills such as Swift Water Rescue) as well as starting the new job so the summer months may be on the busy side. However, since Dinged Corners is a sanity outlet, I intend to continue flying my Card Freak Flag proudly.
In any event, thank you all for being good, patient Baseball Card Blogtown friends, even as I've had to spend so much less time compiling and trading this past year.


Mark's Ephemera said...


I am very proud of you.

The NPS will be be a better place.

Grace us with your presence when you are able.

Core Contrarian said...



night owl said...

Well, congratulations.

I hope you bring some of your new-found park ranger knowledge to this blog from time to time. I know so little about that vocation, even though I live very close to the largest park in the U.S.

paulsrandomstuff said...


It's cool to see some of the National Park collectibles; I never realized they existed.

Jim said...

Very cool. Best of luck and congratulations!

AlbuqwirkE said...

There are National Park trading cards!

Matt F. said...

Well that is just about the coolest thing I've heard all year. Watch out for bears and pic-a-nic baskets.

Anthony K. said...

That's freaking awesome.

Congrats on the new job.

Be sure to take a lot of pictures when making the rounds, would be cool to see some of the nicer parts of the park(s) you will be working.

PunkRockPaint said...

WOW!!! Awesome! I have my old Junior Rangers badges sewn on an old blue windbreaker up in the attic. I am gonna have to find it now!

I am so happy for you!

capewood said...

Wow. That's great. Some of the best vacations I've ever had were to National Parks. Wishing you the best!

Roy said...

This is great news! I have decided that once I am done with graduate school, I would like to spend time with the NPS. My dream is to be a park geologist one day, preferably at Zion, the most beautiful place in the world. Will Sand Dunes be where you'll be? I was there in May/June. It was amazing.

dayf said...

Now I have an image burned in my mind of you dressed in a Ranger Smith outfit asking Yogi Berra for an autograph in exchange for a picnic basket.

Congrats, I wish I could catch your reinventing bug (or at least a little of your perseverance).

dc said...

Wow, thank you everyone for your kind words.

Peterson said...

Patty, I am so serious, I have wanted to be a ranger since I worked a state park in HS>college.
I have been teaching HS for 5yrs and am still dreaming of the parks and how much I still want for the position.
Please email me, I would really love to ask you some questions...
my best,
'and congratulations


SingleDaddyof2 said...

Big congratulations to you! I once visited the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge back in like 1980. That's probably not too far from you but I think its run by the US Dept. of Fish and Game, which may be totally unrelated to the NPS. Where will you be working?