Park warden refers to a variety of staff positions -- guides, resource
managers, protection rangers and administrative staff. People also use the
terms forest ranger, park police, conservationist and ranger.
Specifically, park wardens may:
- Assist with guided tours to promote awareness, understanding and an appreciation
- Inform visitors of the park facilities and supervise public visits
- Advise visitors of park rules and regulations
- Direct parking, control traffic and collect fees
- Ensure endangered animals and plants are protected
- Ensure park facilities and equipment are clean and properly maintained
- Participate in search and rescue operations
- Supervise and coordinate fire management, weed eradication and pest control
- Investigate and report to supervisors on matters relating to park management
Another major component of the job is patrolling waterways, roads and tracks
to observe and report on the park environment. The ranger patrols parks and
wildlife areas by horse, boat, bike, car, plane, skis or on foot.
Those in supervisory positions also provide daily supervision and training
of park staff, oversee crews of general maintenance workers and contractors,
attend to administrative and clerical duties, and prepare, review and implement
reports. They're also responsible for management plans, development proposals
and environmental impact assessments.
Rangers also enforce wildlife rules and regulations, along with state,
regional and city laws. Their duties are approximately 80 percent public relations,
10 percent law enforcement and 10 percent paperwork.
Students interested in this field should have a strong interest in land
management, natural conservation and science. They must enjoy working outdoors
in all weather conditions. Be aware that most park wardens work on weekends
and public holidays. They often live and work in remote areas with few modern
All park wardens have contact with the public, so they need to enjoy working
with people. "Those thinking about this field need to be able to work under
stress, be able to make decisions based on judgmental criteria, be able to
climb and balance, and be able to handle animals with confidence and patience,"
says park warden Gerry Borden.
One important requirement for this career is physical fitness. Due to the
extended periods spent outdoors in wilderness areas, a park warden must have
adequate endurance and strength.
They are often responsible for the safety of others, in addition to themselves.
A physical disability would cause serious difficulties for someone wanting
to enter this field of employment. It wouldn't bar someone from doing related
activities, such as administration or education.