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Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, And Dying In The National Parks Paperback – April 2, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 221 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"You'll love this book." Ron Waters, National Outdoor Book Awards


"A behind-the-scenes peak of our national parks that you won't see in any Ken Burns documentary." Fresno Bee


"Andrea tells the real story about what she calls the best job in the world, carefully picking away at the mainstream postcard- perfect image of the park ranger." Wend Magazine

A National Geographic "Top Ten Book About U.S. Parks"..."Ranger Confidential dispenses with the wilderness romance and cuts straight to the heart of how difficult it can be to manage America's National Parks....the book delves into the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of today's park rangers."

"Part Sand County Almanac, part Backpacker Magazine, Lankford's stories will have you laughing raucously one minute and planning your vactaion the next." Sacramento Book Review

About the Author

Andrea Lankford is a former national park ranger and the author of three books, including Haunted Hikes: Spine-Tingling Tales and Trails from North America’s National Parks, which was featured in USA Today, chosen by People as a 2006 Travel Pick, and described by Newsday as “spell-binding.” Her articles have appeared in USA Today, Arizona Highways, and Backpacker.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Falcon Guides; First Edition edition (April 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762752637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762752638
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrea Lankford, a former National Park Ranger, has performed firefighting, law enforcement, and life-saving wilderness medicine in Cape Hatteras, Zion, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon. Her masochistic adevntures include thru-hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, kayaking from Miami to Key West, cycling from Fairbanks to the Artic Ocean, and being the first to mountain bike the 800-mile Arizon Trail.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Wow!!

I finished this 241 page book in 2 days. I could probably count on one hand the number of books that gripped me this much.

This book offers an open, honest, gritty look at the lives of rangers. The joys of saving lives, sadness at lives not saved, dangerous Search And Rescue, frustrations of "politics" within the NPS, personality issues, idealism, burn-out...it's all here. Lankford is an excellent story teller. This book involves the reader emotionally. While reading the book I laughed, cried, anxiously held my breath and felt my heart pounding; feeling as if I were right there, a part of the experience.

The majority of this book deals with 2 National Parks, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. I found an especially close emotional attachment to these accounts, having helped author hiking DVDs on each of these parks (Yosemite National Park (Jon's Hiking Guides); Jon's DVD Hiking Guides - Grand Canyon National Park) . I could really put myself there because I've been in all the places mentioned in Yosemite, and most of the ones in the Grand Canyon.

When I was a kid I wanted to be a NPS Ranger. While others talked about becoming astronauts or Firemen, I dreamed of wearing a "Smokey Bear". That didn't happen, and after reading this book, I know that I wouldn't have been cut out for it anyway. Many people today get labeled "hero" without real reason. I now know that many NPS Rangers have earned that title.

Two thumbs up!!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While talking about career aspirations with a fellow Army CID Special Agent who just transferred to our office, she mentioned her desire to one day become a Park Ranger. When "Ranger Confidential" popped up in my Amazon "Recommended For You" list the next day, I passed along the info to my colleague. A couple of days later I decided to buy this book myself, and I'm very glad that I did.

Former National Park Service Ranger Andrea Lankford wrote a very powerful, affecting account of her experiences, co-workers, family and friends during a decade and a half spent serving in our National Parks. She could have told her story in a very superficial, macho, "There I was" fashion, and the anecdotes would have been entertaining, but still nothing special. Instead, Ms. Lankford took the more courageous path, sharing not only what she and her fellow Rangers did, but how they were affected physically and emotionally. Even though I am aware first-hand of the toll being a first responder exacts on our minds and bodies, reading "Ranger Confidential" still hit me like a punch to the gut. My palms sweated while Ms. Lankford recounted rescues and recoveries in the Grand Canyon and Yosemite; one incident she described occurred at the same time my wife and I were riding mules down to Phantom Ranch. I remember thinking at the time, "I sure wouldn't want to be the one having to rappel down those sheer cliffs!" That time-honored definition of courage: "Being scared to death but doing the task anyway" was never more apt when describing what Park Rangers volunteer to do with terrible frequency.

Some Amazon reviewers have negatively commented about Ms. Lankford's frank commentary on "Ranger Burnout" and Critical Incident Stress among law enforcement Park Rangers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I definitely am not a book critic, but as a person who has a personal relationship with one of the individuals whose life with the Park Service is described by Lankford, I have to say that I believe she has written an outstanding book that combines the experiences of rangers with "hard" data and her personal views. The compassion, commitment and community of the ranger community is evident throughout the entire book. It is, indeed, unfortunate that those as talented as Lankford suffer from burn out, but I hope she knows that she has given much to so many....and that, as my son tells me, you can't fix everything.

This is a must read for anyone who at times may not appreciate that every day is a gift and that the young can and do touch the lives of many.
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Living and working in a National Park can be a bipolar experience. There are the highs of natural beauty and...well, natural beauty is a big one. There are the lows of isolation and low pay and "rustic" living conditions and...well, we will stop there. Andrea understands this bipolarity as well as anyone who's ever ...donned a NPS uniform, and she tells her story in a vividly personal and straightforward way. Great read!
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book at the North Rim Lodge after hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim south to north in May, 2012. Park Rangers are often overlooked and taken for granted by the public, but their jobs are incredibly important. Unfortunately rangers seem to spend much of their time saving National Park visitors (and other park employees) from themselves, and this seems to have the unfortunate effect of wearing down many idealistic young rangers over time until they burn out, become bitter, and, in this case, write a book.

Ranger Confidential is interesting when author Andrea Lankford explains what really goes on behind the scenes at such famous U.S. national parks as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Denali, and others. The stories are disjointed, but it is still interesting to read about clueless hikers, ranger love and loss, park deaths (more than you think), arrests and transporting of prisoners, short haul helicopter rescues, and even tragic park employee suicides.

The Grand Canyon averages over 300 rescues a year. When you figure in that most visitors come in the summer, the number actually averages out to several rescues per day during the high season. Despite numerous warnings, signs, and patrolling rangers, people still get in trouble there every day. On our two day rim to rim Grand Canyon hike, for example, we were repeatedly warned not to try to go down to the river and back in one day, and yet we ran into at least five exhausted hikers doing just that. They were in real trouble at the halfway mark heading back, but luckily a ranger station was nearby and they were airlifted out. People routinely underestimate the trip, carry little water, have no map, think their cell phones have service everywhere in the canyon (they do not), etc.
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