Skip Navigation

Discover your career path

Forest Ranger



Survey, manage, and protect national forests.

What does a Forest Ranger do?

Because they’re home to bears, wolves and Bigfoots, forests can be downright scary. Arguably, though, the most frightening things in them are humans who often harm the environment with littering, illegal hunting and—in the event of forest fires—arson.

A forest ranger protects forests from people, and people from forests. Also known as park rangers, forest rangers are law enforcement officers who work in state and federal parks. Your primary duties include managing campsites, responding to noise and other complaints, enforcing hunting rules and fishing regulations, and investigating crimes that take place inside government-run parks.

Big parts of your job also are forestation, fire prevention, and insect and disease control. As such, you survey and patrol forests in order to collect information about them, looking for evidence of tree diseases, insect problems, and fire danger. In response to these problems, you advise and assist with tree planting, pest control, and fire prevention.

A key contributor to search-and-rescue efforts, you’re also the first responder in the event of lost hikers, injured skiers, and threatened campers. You’re just as important to forest-goers, therefore, as you are to forests.

In fact, park visitors look to you not only for protection but also for education. As such, you frequently give informational tours, answer questions from campers, and conduct classes on environmental protection, onsite at your park, as well as offsite at schools and meetings.

One thing that isn’t your job: guarding picnic baskets. (Unless you’re Ranger Smith, and you know a talking bear named Yogi!)

Was this helpful?YesNo