National Parks Club Update

Deb Liggett, guest speaker at the September meeting (photo by Sheryl Berman)

Linda Harvey

The club was thrilled to welcome Deb Liggett, a retired National Park Service (NPS) ranger, as guest speaker for the September meeting.

Ranger Deb had an informal meeting presentation in which she gave information about the Grand Canyon National Park (NP), answered questions, and provided some last-minute guidance to members who took the train trip to the park in October.

Some of the topics she discussed were the free bus shuttle around the rim and sites on the South Rim. She talked about the Hopi House, which is a retail shop for Native American arts and crafts and where Native Americans used to demonstrate their dances and artwork. The Hopi House was built by pioneering architect, Mary Colter. El Tovar Hotel and Restaurant was built in the early 1900s and has a grand view near the rim. Kolb Studio was closed several years ago to give builders time to reinforce the structure and firmly attach it to the side of the canyon. The Kolb Studio is now open and some of the travelers had a private tour of the building. Hermit Rest is at the terminus of the road at the south rim and is well worth seeing. It was also built by architect Mary Colter.

Ranger Deb explained that she started her career at Grand Canyon NP as a seasonal ranger. During her years with the park service, she has been back many times, either as an instructor at the Horace Albright Training Center or on personal hiking and camping trips. She and her NPS ranger husband have hiked at least 40 times down to the Colorado River.

Ranger Deb recently compiled a book about first-hand experiences as a career (NPS) ranger. The book is titled Ranger Chronicles. One of the highlights in the book happened when she was assigned to Everglades NP during Hurricane Andrew. She provided a great description of the situation and the NPS relief efforts following that natural disaster. The other highlight tells of her assignment at Devil’s Tower when the park was going through a transition period of dealing with conflicting ideas among the recreationists, conservationists, and the Native Americans who have strong cultural and spiritual ties to the area.

Other stories in the book describe her experiences at Great Sand Dunes, Big Bend, Dry Tortugas, Voyageurs, and four Alaskan parks. While the book is filled with her humorous take on situations, the reader is left with the author’s enduring respect for the parks and the huge responsibility of keeping and maintaining the parks for the millions of visitors who visit each year. To quote the book, she says “Working in the parks was an excuse to stay close to what matters.”

We are lucky to have men and women like Ranger Deb Liggett who are willing to give of themselves as guardians of our public lands.

Members of the SBR National Parks Club thank Ranger Deb Liggett for all she has done and continues to do.

If you want more information or to join the SBR National Parks Club, contact Linda Harvey at [email protected].