Gerald Ford Remembered

Grford_copy Gerald Ford, who passed away yesterday, holds the distinction of being the only national park ranger to ascend to the presidency.
True, Ford's stint with the National Park Service was only for the summer of 1936, when he was a seasonal in Yellowstone. But the experience surely must have contributed to the man who assumed the highest office in the land when Richard Nixon resigned in 1974.
In Yellowstone the future president worked in the Canyon Ranger District. One of his jobs was as an armed guard on the bear-feeding truck. Of course, bear feeding long ago was done away with in Yellowstone. But in 1936 it was an ongoing practice, one popular with many visitors.

According to the Park Service, "Ford also worked in the Canyon Hotel and Lodge meeting and greeting VIPS, a job Ford complained was 'undemocratic and un-American' because it gave 'special attention to VIPs.'"
Another task the future president had to perform was a listing of the license plate of each automobile in camp, a task that needed to be performed between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. every morning.
According to Wayne Repogle, Ford’s roommate that summer, "the rangers had to run most of the time to get 150 to 200 licenses listed in two hours. As a football player, Ford was very fit and saw this duty as an opportunity to stay in shape."
During his tenure as president, Ford added 18 units to the park system. Here's a listing of those additions:

Boston National Historical Park, MA
Big Cypress National Preserve, FL
Big Thicket National Preserve, TX
Clara Barton National Historic Site, MD
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, OR
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, ND
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, NY
Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, AL
Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, OH
Canaveral National Seashore, FL
Chickasaw National Recreation Area, OK
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, AK/WA
Valley Forge National Historical Park, PA
Ninety Six National Historic Site, SC
Obed Wild and Scenic River, TN
Congaree Swamp National Monument, SC
Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, CA
Monocacy National Battlefield, MD

Comments

A truly good man who America came to regret not electing in 1976...instead we got the disaster that was Jimmy Carter. Israel has suffered greatly since as a result of Carter's appeasement of the murderer Arafat. RIP Mr. President!
Well,well Shirley! Maybe if Bush II had a job with the National Parks (instead of screwing around as a Texas playboy) perhaps he just might of had a little more compassion for the environment...instead he chose the philosophy of rape and pillage. I'll choose Carter any day!
Excuse me, Snowbird...but why do you bring up President Bush? Shirley never mentioned him..it's funny how you liberals are SO fixated on him..you all just can't get over him whipping Algore and Flip-flop Kerry can ya?? LOL!!! Mission Accomplished - 4 more years!! It's true that Carter was the worst President this country ever had. He destroyed the economy and made us weaker militarily and morally. Thank God Ronald Reagan brought us back as a proud, strong nation!
I find it amusing that everyone has an unabashed opinion on how each of the 43 presidents ranks when it comes to greatness. What should matter is what each, particulary those of the 20th century and early 21st, have done for conservation. Conservation isn't about popularity. It's about doing the right thing for fish and wildlife and wild places.
Dear Heather, what misson accomplished? That's not how the American voters felt in the last election. Right? Why brag about a republican President that has done very, very little for the middle class...or for the National Parks...or for the environment...except rape and pillage! At least Carter doesn't lie!!
Yeah...you're right...Carter didn't lie like Clinton did!
During my years working in Yellowstone, both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton visited (and Clinton several times). One of my co-workers actually met Clinton. Jimmy Carter was escorted up Mt. Washburn (which he didn't hike much of; they drove him up most of the way). I remember the hoopla over presidential or ex-presidential visits and remember feeling underwhelmed by it all. It's interesting that Ford was actually a seasonal ranger in Yellowstone. I don't really have a comment on it besides that. Since Chester A. Arthur's visit in 1883, Yellowstone has sporadically attracted presidential types. It makes the whole thing feel like a palatial playground for the powerful. There's a large part of me that we didn't have the slightest bit of knowledge of when these people went to Yellowstone or other national parks. There seems to be something decadent about it all (whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, or even Ralph Nader). It is interesting that people are using Ford's service in the national parks to boost up partisan pride or to mock gently the way things used to be done in the parks (as though Ford was part of an era that is thankfully gone), but I think that there is a pox on everyone's house and not sure that the dynamic has changed that much from the "bear feeding" days. Jim
I find this tid bit very interesting. It may have very well contributed to his "green" policies. I posted a short review of his landmark strides in environmental conservation on my blog. I link it to this site so visitors can see this rare picture. Enjoy! http://blactivegan.wordpress.com/2006/12/27/the-passing-of-a-funky-president/