Oral History Project 

An Overview

In commemoration of the NPS Centennial, the Association of National Park Rangers launched an oral history project in 2010. Our goal is to record, transcribe, archive and share interviews of Park Service personnel who have shaped the agency's history during its second half-century. 

To date, ANPR has conducted 68 interviews with longtime employees, all of whom helped create the modern Park Service. They joined the agency in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, and they occupied leadership positions during decades of great change. During their tenure, the NPS expanded significantly, the country adopted laws that challenged the Service's management policies, and the demographics of the agency's workforce and its visitors underwent a significant shift.

ANPR's oral history project joins a long tradition in the NPS of using interviews to safeguard the collective memory and expertise of those who have shaped the Service over the years. It also advances the top priorities of NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis by passing on important lessons to a younger generation of Park Service personnel. The information collected during these interviews can be used immediately as part of workforce development and leadership succession. It is also vital to the long-term stewardship of the agency's history and the education of its early-career employees.

ANPR is committed to properly preserving and protecting the interviews that it conducts. Every interview will be transcribed, edited and archived. The audio recordings and transcriptions of the oral histories will be archived at the Harpers Ferry Center in West Virginia and are being shared via publications and websites.


ANPR's Rick Gale Memorial Fund is underwriting interview transcription, editing and archival preparation of the oral history interviews. In 2015, the National Park Service also contributed funds toward interview transcription. To donate to the Rick Gale Memorial Fund, visit this link.

Listen to Audio Excerpts

(Click on the photos to listen to the excerpts.)

Meg Weesner: Community and Natural Resources

In the 1980s Meg Weesner was among a pioneer generation of women to move into Natural Resources Management in the National Park Service. During her career she discovered that collaboration with partners was the best way to preserve and protect valuable resources.

Flo Six Townsend: Paying it Forward

Do you realize how many people it takes to make the National Park System work? Many are like Flo Six Townsend, who found her Park Service passion in career development and employee training. In 2013 we talked as part of the Association of National Park Rangers Oral History Project. Townsend reflected on her satisfaction is helping others advance their careers and how she herself discovered and developed her own talents in the National Park Service.

Anne and Scott Warner: Seasonal Rangers

Anne and Scott Warner share their stories as seasonal park rangers who began mid-life careers with the National Park Service. They've worked from Maine to Nevada and Louisiana to Texas, exploring our national parks in depth as seasonal rangers and eventually putting down roots at Acadia National Park in Maine.

J.D. Swed: Dealing with Death

J.D. Swed shares some of this experiences as a search and rescue ranger in the parks. He discusses how he learned to deal with death and helped others to do the same.

Bill Wade: Calling A National Park Home 

What's it like growing up in a national park? Retired Superintendent Bill Wade will tell you.

Laurel Boyers: NPS Wilderness Ranger

In the 1970s, Laurel Munson Boyers was among a pioneering generation of women who assumed new roles in the National Park Service. Listen to Boyers describe one frightful night as a wilderness ranger, stationed at Buck Camp in Yosemite National Park.

Ranger JD Swed: A Flathat and a Horse

In this segment, we hear how a disciplined mentor and a balky horse teach a seasonal National Park Service ranger the importance of his image as well as his duties.

Ed Rizzotto: The Importance of Urban Parks

In 1988, Ed Rizzotto began working at Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City. During his seven years at Gateway helped him recognize the unique role that urban parks play in the National Park System and in people's everyday lives. 

Ranger JD Swed: Family and Work 

Retired Park Ranger JD Swed talks about how family life and work are interrelated in the National Park Service.

Ranger Butch Farabee: Family and Work 

Butch Farabee was a revered National Park Service ranger who excelled in search and rescue. During his interview, he described how the demand of his job took a toll on family life.

Diane and Dan Moses: Raising Kids in the Parks

Diane and Dan Moses share what it was like to raise two daughters while living and working in the national parks. Listen along as they tell their stories of giving birth during a Yellowstone winter, finding community in the parks, and allowing their daughters to explore freely.

Ranger JD Swed: First Impressions of Yosemite Valley

JD Swed still remembers the first time he saw Yosemite Valley in the early 1970s when he joined the National Park Service as a seasonal ranger. (NPS photo)

Dick Martin: My Role was to Listen

In 1995, Dick Martin became the second superintendent of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. His five years at Wrangell taught him how to work with local communities in the face of controversy.

Wendy Lauritzen: Developing a Career

How do you build a successful career in the National Park Service? In this installment of Centennial Voices, Wendy Lauritzen describes how she combined careful planning, serendipity, the guidance of mentors, and a professional organization to build a satisfying career.

Bill Wade: Centennial Voices

In this episode, Bill Wade describes how he had to bend the rules to safeguard resources when he was superintendent of Shenandoah National Park in the 1980s. The result? Some admonishments; a few accolades; and a sense of a job well done. Thanks to the Association of National Park Rangers for this oral history collaboration with the Park History Program.

Read Interview Excerpts from Ranger Magazine

Bill Wade

Ben Jacobs

Pat Reed

Dennis Burnett/Ginny Rousseau

Jan Kirwan

Ed Rizzotto

Wendy Lauritzen

Dick Martin

Butch Farabee

Barry Sullivan

J.D. Swed

Rebecca Harriett

Deanne Adams

Ernie Quintana

Rick Mossman

Interviewees as of January 2017

Deanne Adams

Paul Anderson

Rob Arnberger

Warren Bielenberg 

Mary Bradford

Dennis Burnett

Don Catleberry

Thomas Cherry

Cliff Chetwin

Judy Chetwin

Roberta D’Amico

Don Daniel

Lisa Eckert

Charles "Butch" Farabee

Maureen Finnerty

Mark Flora

Paul Fodor

Teresa Ford (non-NPS)

Phil Francis

Larry Frederick

William Halainen

James Hannah

Shirley Hannah

Rebecca Harriet

Frank Hastings

Marin Karraker

Janet Kirwan

Fred Koegler

Debbie Koegler

Bob Krumenaker 

Wayne Landrum

Wendy Lauritzen

Tomie Lee

Ken Mabery

Mark Maciha

Mary Martin

Richard Martin

Jenny Matsumoto

Scot McElveen

Bruce McKeeman

Georjean McKeeman

David Mihalic

Dan Moses

Diane Moses

Rick Mossman

Ernest Quintana

Bruce Reed

Patrick Reed

Eldon Reyer

Karen Reyer 

Ed Rizzotto 

Clair Roberts

Edwin Rothfuss

Virginia Rousseau

Bill Sanders

Rick Smith

Deryl Stone

Barry Sullivan

James "JD" Swed                                     

Dale Thompson

Florence Six Townsend

John Townsend

Bill Wade

Anne Warner

Scott Warner

Margaret "Meg" Weesner

Lee Werst

Phillip Young

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