Park Rangers Describe The Oddest Thing They've Ever Seen On The Job
Antoine Beauvillaine/Unsplash

Working at parks seems like an idyllic sort of job, doesn't it?

You get to be out in nature, enjoying the scenery, relaxing, and absolutely not dealing with aggressive naked people.

Spoken like someone who has absolutely never worked in parks because, evidently, aggressive naked people are pretty standard.


Reddit was asked:

"Park rangers, what’s the oddest thing you’ve seen on the job?"


We absolutely went into this expecting stories about shape-shifters, pagan altars, or creepy loners.

Instead we got nudity. So much nudity.

Why is there so much naked at our national parks, y'all? Can we get it together? Haven't you heard of mosquitos? Leeches?? Botflies????

Parking Lot Detail

"I worked nights as a ranger for a fairly urban city that had a variety of small to medium sized parks I was tasked with patrolling."

"The largest being around 80 acres, but being in an urban area, mostly consisted of removing people sleeping in their cars after sunset, as all the parks were fenced and had to be locked at night."

"I’d say about 90% of the time, I came across a car belonging to someone down on their luck just looking for a safe place to sleep in their car."

"Had a lot of sympathy for those people, but unfortunately, my job was centered around keeping the surrounding parks empty at night and had to be the asshole telling them to leave / sleep somewhere else."

"The other 10% of cars I’d come across had a distinct fog to their windows that meant 1 of 2 things, either they were smoking weed or getting it on."

"I had a very loud intercom inside my patrol car that brought me great joy when rolling up on unsuspecting lovers engaging in a little car fun and watching them scramble to get decent."

"I know, d*ck move, but it was one of the few bits of excitement I had of the otherwise long and monotonous nights."

"The oddest and most memorable thing happened, however, when I had traded the night for a day shift, which weirdly enough had its fair share of foggy windows as well."

"I went to check a parking lot behind a rec center that often had people trying to stay out of sight for good reason and noticed one lone car with the classic window fog."

Giphy

"As I approached their vehicle, I noticed an older man having his own fun watching from the bushes within arms length of the car window."

"Older dude outside the car takes off at the sight of my car and I say on my intercom, 'put your clothes on, can’t do that here'."

"To my surprise, the young couple came up to my car after dressing to apologize, and I tell them to grab their friend that ran away and to leave the park."

"Their eyes widen and didn’t understand what I meant by friend. I had to explain to this couple no older than 25 that there was an older male masturbating while peeping into their window and I was not kidding."

"They were both mortified! I went to look for the older guy but at this point he had fled the park."

"I reported the incident, but nothing much to go off other than a rough description of what he looked like and the two lovers didn’t want to stick around for a police report."

"I never saw the couple or the guy in the park again."

-Redd4Music

To Suck Poop

"I was a park ranger in the 90s in Oregon. One of the oddest things I witnessed was the guy we contracted with to pump the poop out of the latrines."

"He would eat his sandwich for lunch in one hand with no glove, while holding the poop pumping tube in the other hand also with no glove."

"The smell, of course, was horrible. I saw him do this a few times."

-CupBoundAndDown

"We have a poop pumping guy we use at work a lot, and he does the same thing."

"I asked him how he can stand it, and his response was 'I’ve been doing this long enough that it just smells like money to me' "

"I looked up how much we pay him when he comes out; dude makes a killing to suck poop."

-stevio87

Aggressive Nudists

"Recently started working with a park ranger on a roadway project outside a beach front park in FL."

"When we asked him about the wildlife that he had encountered or that we would need to look out for he said 'rabid nudists' "

"No this was not a nudist beach."

"He said they get very aggressive when trying to sneak into the park at night."

"We ended up working at night and the rabid nudists in FL are, in fact, are very aggressive."

- dattsok

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6 Pills

"When I was a ranger in Yosemite a few years ago, a tourist urgently flagged me down in a parking lot."

"I asked, 'How can I help you, sir?' he said: "

" 'MISS RANGER, MISS RANGER! My daughter forgot her birth control pills on our camping trip. Do you have any?' "

"I responded that I absolutely did not, but I could give him directions to the nearest medical clinic."

"After a short pause he said, 'I'll give you $20 for 6 pills.' "

-portugese_womanowar

Foul Fowl

"I worked in a 148 acre sports park. Pretty large area."

"One hot summer morning , around 6:30 AM, a lady was walking and complained about a really bad smell out in the back of the complex behind the 4 baseball fields."

"I went to check it out. As I approach the brush , I noticed flies. A lot."

"Someone took old burlap potato sacks and had stuffed them full of dead rotting chickens.... like 12 bags. 2 chicken corpses per bag."

"I was the lucky one who had to get a shovel and scoop them up into the tractor bucket. The smell was gut wrenching. Maggots dripping from every bag as I lifted them."

"Whoever dumped them must have driven their truck back there because this area was undeveloped. It was mainly brush and trees."

"I guess it was a farmer who had about 24 chickens just up and die ??? Who knows. They must have been diseased."

"It was one of the grossest things I've had to do. Whatever made them think that a sports park was the right place to dispose of dead fowl, I'll never know."

- Dr-DrillAndFill

They Seemed Surprised

"The one experience that sticks in my mind the most was when we were burning prescribed fires for forest management."

"We had a chopper flying around lighting fires by dropping jellied petroleum. I'm patrolling the boundary."

"The chopper abruptly stops lighting up mid run, and then turns away. The bombardier gets on the radio and tells us there's people in the burn area."

"We drive in thinking people must be hurt or trapped, but no - a couple have spread a blanket out and are going for it surrounded by burning heaps."

"Told them to get out of there because they're in the middle of an active burn zone, as indicated by the massive walls of flames surrounding them."

"They seemed surprised..."

- Eucalyptus_1357

Giphy

The Smell

"In the late seventies, I worked as a park ranger for a summer job while going to university in the Fall and Winter semesters."

"As long as there was no forest fire ban, we allowed campers to have camp fires on their camp sites. One wet Sunday morning, after a very rainy night, I was coming off the midnight to 0800 shift."

"I was alone on duty in a park with over 200 campsites, something that wouldn't happen now... but the 70s were different."

"Around 0700, I heard this godawful screeching coming from the tenting side of the park."

"I ran over, to find a guy rolling around in the dirt, with his friend trying to douse the fire on his pants."

"They had not made kindling for their fire before the rain had started the night before. Instead, they had gotten drunk."

"Now, in the wet cold morning, they wanted to start a fire to warm up and probably to cook over. They were probably still drunk."

"Drunk or sober, they were also stupid."

"It was so wet that it would have been a challenge to get the fire going with split kindling, but it was impossible to set fire to their round junks of firewood."

"So, one of these guys was spraying barbecue lighter fluid on the wet firewood when the other guy struck a match. Some of the lighter fluid had spilled down his nylon rain suit."

"When it caught fire, the plastic melted into the guy's legs; which were burned pretty badly."

"The park is 50 km from the city, where the hospital is."

"I got the guy in the cab of the only vehicle we really had - an old 4x4 truck that we used to haul picnic tables and outhouses around. Then I beat it for the city, doing everything that truck could do on the highway."

"The old truck was so badly out of alignment that sometimes it felt like it wanted to go crab-like across the road."

"I had the window down, there was no air conditioning in the truck, and the thing was rattling like a bucket of nails."

"Keep in mind that there were no cell phones then, and we only had spotty vhf radio coverage in the park. There was no way and no time to call for an ambulance."

"It was down to me and the old truck. Even though it was a park truck, there were no overhead lights to flash, and no siren either."

"When I finally got to the city, I was going about 130 km/hr. I hasten to add that this was a summer Sunday morning, and there was zero traffic. Except for the cop."

"I met him, blew past him and did not slow."

"He turned around and chased me, lights flashing and siren screaming. He chased me right to the emergency entrance of the hospital like that."

"He was at my door as I was getting out, and he was yelling at me, losing his mind... Until the smell hit him."

"The camper guy had gone into shock, and was pretty well unresponsive at this point, but the smell of the burnt skin and melted plastic told the story. Its not something I want to smell again."

"I told the cop to hold on, I would be out to talk to him in a few minutes. Then I put the camper on my shoulder and carried him into the hospital emergency unit like he was a side of beef."

"Hey, it was over 40 years ago, and I was in great shape back then."

"The nurses got the doctor, and they started to work on the guy. After I got their particulars for the inevitable report, I went outside to the old park pickup."

"The police car was gone. But someone, I presume the cop, had thrown his guts up by the end of the park truck."

"About a week later, we were notified by the camper's family that he was stable, and on the way to recovery. And life in the park went on, as if it had never happened."

- judgmentalsculpin

Checking Tags

"Was a park facility officer in a backcountry park. This park is super isolated, so much so that it's only accessible by boat and we worked alone for 8 day shifts."

"I would go days without seeing anyone during my 8 days at the start of the season."

"From the ranger cabin I had binoculars that allowed me to scan the beach in case campers arrived. I’d go down to check their camping tags and make sure they're good to go."

"One evening I was scanning the beach and I had to do a double take."

"It wasn’t the normal wolves/sea lions/elk/deer. Nope. It was a large group of nudists. 😂 "

"I felt like a weird voyeur looking at them from the cabin, so I put down the binoculars and hoped if I gave them an hour or two they’d want to put on clothes due to the ridiculous swarms of mosquitos."

"NOPE."

"That was fun checking their tags 😂 "

- Particular_Policy_41

Giphy

The Light

"I'm not a park ranger, but I scared one once."

"While camping, I had my laptop and a live version of Google Earth. I decided to see if it would pull our position up."

"In complete blackness, at 2 am, when we hit 'find' this big huge light came down out of the sky, hit the ground where we were and it went back up."

"The Park Ranger saw it, came over with the most puzzled look on his face, and was like 'What the actual extraterrestrial hell was that???' in the most professional tone of voice possible."

"It freaked us all out actually."

- SaiyanX86

Mask Up

"Someone came into the visitor center wearing one of those realistic wolf head masks instead of a covid mask."

"Like the kind where the jaw moves when they talk. It offered absolutely no protection, but the sign said masks required and this WAS a mask."

"I looked up and saw this wolf dude coming in and legit wondered if I was about to get robbed."

"But he just got a map, asked about birds and then left and took the mask off."

- BoldlyGone1

Honestly ... please keep your genitals in your pants the next time you decide to be one with nature.

It's just safer that way.

How do you not notice a helicopter raining liquid fire down all around you?

Unsafe.

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