Bob Mackreth- at least that’s what I tell the folks at Facebook.
Questions I’ve often been asked:
What’s a “Retread Ranger?”
- National Park Service slang for somebody who spent his career wearing a Smokey Bear hat, protecting the parks and the people from each other, and is doing something different now.
So Ranger Bob is not really a ranger anymore?
- Wrong. Being a ranger is for life.
Where did Ranger Bob work?
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park- Supervisory Ranger, 1988 to 1992. More history than just about any place I’ve been this side of the Atlantic, but there’s been way more folks writing about it than here.
Fire Island National Seashore- Watch Hill Supervisor, 1985 to 1988. A backcountry station, 50 miles from the Twin Towers. Four of us NPSers there in the winter. Ranger Sue and I got our groceries and mail by boat when Great South Bay was open, drove down the beach to Smith Point if the bay was icy and the tide was low enough.
Cape Cod National Seashore- North District Patrol Supervisor, 1983 to 1985. More visitors per year than Yosemite, nearly as many lighthouses as here. Learned a lot about beach driving and dealing tactfully with naked people.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park- Law Enforcement Patrol Ranger, 1978 to 1983. Locked up a lot of drunks, froze my toes on the sledding hills, and discovered some places no NPSer had seen yet. The last two parts were a lot of fun.
Sequoia / Kings Canyon National Parks- Seasonal Patrol Ranger, 1977 to 1978. Thought I’d get back there some day, still working on it.
A few years in the minors, figuring out big-league pitching, 1972 to 1977. The North Fork was awful pretty before they traded potato fields for vineyards. Still is, actually.
Do you ever write anything else? Speak in public?
- Yes on both counts. Check my real home page: www.bobmackreth.com.
Can you come out? My boat is dragging anchor off Rocky Island.
- Sorry, sir. That’s for younger guys and gals.
Where’s the tree that you drive through?
- There never was one here, and the one that you’re thinking of fell down anyway.
What does that sign say?
- “Mennen’s Borated Talcum Toilet Powder.”
Is this the river that caught fire?
- Yeah, but it was way downstream from here.
How can you stand living on this island in the winter?
- It’s lot easier than in the summer.
How come that guy can take his shirt off, and I can’t?
- Law says so, ma’am. 36 CFR 7.67, to be precise.
I’ll bet you’re getting a real kick out of…
- Not really, ma’am.
Why do you rangers carry guns?
- Long story. I’ll tell it some day.
Is Ranger Sue a real ranger, too?
- Definitely. Realer than most.
What’s with all the dogs?
Ranger Sue likes big dumb critters, a trait which worked to Ranger Bob’s advantage way-back-when. A while back we adopted an adult female Newfie, to keep our big guy company. After we got her home, we found out we’d actually rescued twelve dogs, just most of them were hidden.
Then things got weird: The Thanksgiving Puppies.
Clapton, Beck, or Page?