14 March 2023- The Maryland Park Service recently graduated 20 new State Park Rangers, having held their graduation ceremony on Feb. 24 at Elk Neck State Park and NorthBay Adventure Camp, following four weeks of training. Since the Maryland Park Service’s modern ranger school program was established in 2009, this is the 13th class of new State Park Rangers.
“Maryland Park Rangers represent the vanguard of the Park Service mission – ‘to manage the state’s natural, cultural, historical, and recreational resources, to provide for wise stewardship and enjoyment by people,’” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz. “I thank each of them for their commitment to their duties, sharing and preserving our most treasured lands and waters now and for future generations.”
Ranger school focuses on the primary jobs of the Maryland Park Ranger – operations, maintenance, interpretation, and customer service. Students participate in intensive training consisting of practical exercises and written exams. Using real-world scenarios, the rangers-in-training execute emergency response, park operations, search and rescue missions, resource management and more.
In addition to this training, rangers must also complete one year of operational experience to become fully certified.
Maryland Park Service Ranger School 2023 graduates, by work region, are:
Nicole Staab, Rocks/Susquehanna State Park
Margaret White, Rocks/Susquehanna State Park
Brian Bokulic, Janes Island State Park
Ashley Brown, Pocomoke River State Park
Kirby Brown, Assateague State Park
Michael Fray, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park
Erin Swale, Assateague State Park
Samuel Behrens, Point Lookout State Park
Matthew Gregory, Southern Maryland Recreational Complex
Aubree Moore, Southern Maryland Recreational Complex
Calvin Ogburn, Southern Maryland Recreational Complex
Riley Schwertz, Point Lookout State Park
Travis Anthony, Cunningham Falls State Park
Emily Hendershot, Rocky Gap State Park
Ryan Keller, Herrington Manor State Park
Noah Manges, New Germany State Park
Cecilia Melton, South Mountain Recreation Area
Scott Offutt, Cunningham Falls State Park
Andrew Ogle, Deep Creek Lake State Park
Christine Smith, Deep Creek Lake State Park
Newly sworn in Maryland DNR Secretary Josh Kurtz released a statement, as well, renewing his department’s commitment to state parks and their new and current Rangers.
Although our state parks welcome visitors all year, the arrival of spring means that visitation of Maryland’s vast public lands is about to increase. As I have made my way to Maryland Department of Natural Resources facilities across the state, I have seen the exemplary preparedness and dedication of the Maryland Park Service in action.
Maryland Park Rangers live and embody the Park Service mission – “to manage the state’s natural, cultural, historical, and recreational resources, to provide for wise stewardship and enjoyment” for all of Maryland’s citizens and visitors. I had the opportunity to spend time with the newest group of rangers, visiting members of the 13th class of Maryland Park Service Ranger School at Elk Neck State Park just before they graduated in February. I thank each of them for their commitment to their duties, sharing and preserving our most treasured lands and waters now and for future generations.