March 3, 2005 If a career as a National Park Service enforcement ranger has appeal, V.I. National Park chief ranger Steve Clark hopes you'll attend the "So You Want To Be a Park Ranger" workshop on March 24.
The workshop runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at the park's maintenance facility on North Shore Road adjacent to Mongoose Junction shopping center.
To apply to be a park enforcement ranger, you must be between ages 21 and 37. Although people younger than age 21 can't apply yet, Clark is encouraging high school juniors and seniors to attend the workshop so they can do things to increase their chances of getting the job once they're old enough.
"It's very competitive," Clark said Thursday.
He should know. He's been a park ranger for 19 years, and has moved up through the ranks at various parks until he became chief ranger at the St. John park three years ago.
Clark said enforcement rangers have four main duties: law enforcement, search and rescue, fire fighting, and emergency medical services.
He said that Lisa Burridge, who deals with the park's human resources matters, will be on hand to answer questions about the application process.
"It's not an overnight process," Clark said.
Clark said that if you have felony arrests, including domestic violence and driving under the influence offenses, in your past, you will not be accepted. Additionally, the park looks at your credit history. If you've had serious problems there, you will not get into the program.
Clark pointed out that while the park needs enforcement rangers who want to remain on St. John, successful applicants can transfer to one of the National Park Service's 387 other facilities scattered across the United States, and as far away as Guam. He also said the career offers room for growth into management positions.
To get a leg up when it comes to the application process, Clark suggested joining organizations like St. John Rescue, becoming an Emergency Medical Technician first responder, learning cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and joining the park's Volunteers in Parks program.
Clark said that as part of the VIP program he plans to establish opportunities for people to ride along with rangers on vehicle or boat patrol. He said he expects to develop a junior ranger program.
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