Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

Larimer County Rangers

photo of fulltime rangers

C. Claggett, Ranger, Blue Mountain District

I wanted to become a Park Ranger after I graduated from college. I didn't really know what the job entailed. I was an interpretive guide when I was able to ride along with the Rangers at night when my shift was over and I was hooked. It is such an ever-changing experience where every day is different, our office is the most beautiful cubicle imaginable and the job offers constant challenges to keep you on your toes.

I have a Bachelors of Science Degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University. I worked seasonally for the Division of Wildlife pulling weeds, weighing and measuring fish throughout Denver-metro areas and in the mountains, relocating endangered Boreal Toad tadpoles and pulling more weeds for 6 months. I was a referee for the CSU Intramural Sports Dept. learning rule enforcement and supervisory skills for 4 years. I was a Tour Guide/Bus driver in the 1936 Tour Buses of Glacier National Park providing interpretation and a ride through an unforgettable experience for 3 months. I was a seasonal Interpretive Guide and Park Ranger for Colorado State Parks at North Sterling State Park learning about our grasslands, providing campfire programs, and performing the many duties that come with being a Park Ranger for 7 months. I worked as a seasonal Park Ranger with Larimer County Dept of Natural Resources for 9 months. I worked as a full-time Park Ranger for Colorado State Parks at Boyd Lake State Park managing the boat and sign programs for 2 years. I was then hired on as a full-time Park Ranger for Larimer County Dept of Natural Resources where I sit today. It has been a long road but the experience has helped give me the tools to be a success in this competitive field.

I have certifications and training that include POST, Wilderness First Responder, Marine Patrol Officer Course from U.S. Coast Guard, Ice Rescue, Pressure Point Control Tactics, Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun firearms trainings, ASP Baton, OC Aerosol Spray, Emergency Air Transport, Ground Avoidance Ground Escape (GAGE), Winter Skills including snow-mobile patrol and avalanche detection, Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG), Interview and Interrogation, Coordinator in Colorado Crime Information Center database, and many more.

Z. Cook, Ranger Open Spaces District

My journey began in Colorado as a youngster when I came to the realization being a ranger was my path. This field has diversity and benefits which greatly exceed anything I've seen elsewhere. Larimer County has some highly respected and cared for natural resources which I'm proud to be involved with their protection and conservative use.

After receiving a degree in Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism from Colorado State University in 2006, I started with an internship and then seasonal ranger position with Larimer County, in total four years as a seasonal ranger before I gained fulltime status. I'm also currently serving as a sergeant/medic in the United States Army Reserves with one deployment to Afghanistan, and missions in Africa. With certifications including; EMT-B, First Aid-CPR, AED, PPCT, OC aerosol, CIG, basic interview and interrogation techniques, in addition I'm an certified Army Combat Lifesaver instructor.

S. Gibson, Ranger, Open Lands District

Like most of us rangers, the idea of working outside in beautiful places appealed to me. Although we have to work in the office at times, I do get to be outside patrolling in my vehicle, hiking, biking, horseback riding, boat patrol, giving guided tours, fighting fires, responding to backcountry medicals, and much more. This diversity makes coming into work everyday enjoyable. This agency is continually growing and expanding which makes it exciting to think of my future here.

I began this path in the U.S. Navy directly after high school. In the Navy I was a navigator of an aircraft carrier and missile cruiser. I did two tours in the Persian Gulf and was on a boarding party team while there. After the Navy I moved to Ft. Collins to begin my college training at Colorado State University. I graduated with a degree in Natural Resource Management and minored in History. While in school I worked as a wildland firefighter, martial arts instructor, and campus police officer. After graduation I worked as a seasonal park ranger for Lory State Park and Larimer County Open Lands. I then did a short stint in Montana as a game warden prior to getting a full time ranger position with Larimer County Department of Natural Resources. Now I am the Senior Ranger for the Open Lands district.

I have certifications and trainings that include POST, Wilderness First Responder, Red Card (Wildland Fire), Ice Rescue, Taser, ASP Baton, OC Aerosol Spray, Emergency Air Transport, Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG), POSSE certified in horse patrol, Pressure Point Control Tactics and Krav Maga, Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun firearms trainings and many more. I am a defensive tactics/arrest control instructor for our department and the Sheriff's Office. I also volunteer with the Larimer County Search and Rescue team.

J. Hawkins, Senior Ranger, Horsetooth District

I decided to become a ranger because of the impact that I make in people lives and protecting the resources that we have to offer to the public. We as Rangers deal with such an array of different tasks. For instance, I can be patrolling campgrounds letting children inside my patrol vehicle to turn on the lights and siren, selling campsites, patrolling our county reservoirs on a patrol boat or hiking trails. The next minute I can be responding to motor vehicle accident with serious injuries, saving someone's life, looking for lost hikers or arresting someone for driving under the influence of alcohol. I see people on their lowest days of their lives and I see people on their highest days. I have an opportunity to make a positive change in people's lives that is what keeps me going day to day. I was born to be a Ranger!

I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology. Prior to being hired as a full-time ranger in 2007, I worked as a Seasonal Ranger at Carter Lake and Horsetooth Reservoir. I started as a gate attendant and then worked myself to boat patrol as an armed boat patrol officer. I also did a couple volunteer activities with the division of wildlife, McKee Medical Center, and Fire Departments in the area.

My certifications include: POST Certification as a Peace officer in the State of Colorado, Wilderness First Responder, Pressure Point Control Tactics, Basic Wildland Firefighter, Ice Rescue, and OC Aerosol Projectors with Live Exposure, Taser, Rifle, Boat accident investigator, and Field Training Officer. I have also been trained in First Aid and CPR, AED, ASP, Emergency Driving, Emergency Air Transport, Ground Avoidance Ground Escape, interview and interrogation, and identifying false identification cards. These are just to name a few.

B. Schultze, Ranger, Blue Mountain District

I have always wanted to live "out west" and be in some type of Law Enforcement as a full time career. When I retired after thirty years as a Paramedic in Georgia, I moved to Colorado to be closer to family. I had worked full time in emergency services, part time as a Deputy Sheriff and Medic on the SWAT Team, and part time as a security officer for the Federal Government. I couldn't go from all of that to a life of ease and retirement. I would have been bored to death. So, to fill that void I started as a volunteer with Larimer County, hiking the Eagle's Nest trail. I was then hired as a Seasonal Ranger at Carter Lake for the 2007 season. In March of 2008 I was hired full time at Horsetooth Park as the day shift supervisor. I was finally working my dream and loving every minute of it. I recently attended an 80 hour course at CSU for certification as a Wilderness First Responder.

Certifications: Georgia Paramedic, ACLS provider, PLS provider, BLS provider, CPR Instructor, Tactical EMT certified thru CONTOMS and certified in Wilderness First Aid. State of Georgia Law Enforcement Officer, State of Colorado Law Enforcement Officer, numerous training hours in SWAT tactics, defensive tactics, ASP baton, PPCT, OC, and Taser use just to name a few classes that I have been to.

W. Talbott, Senior Ranger, Blue Mountain District

I have always had the desire to work in a natural resource field. After many years of working in a service industry, this desire came true. I was hired as a seasonal ranger in the spring of 2002 while I was enrolled at Colorado State University. I graduated CSU with a degree in Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism in 2006 and was hired by Larimer County Department of Natural Resources on a full-time basis at that time. I truly enjoy working with the public in this very diverse field.

V. Wilcox, Ranger, Blue Mountain District

I was born and raised in Tucson Arizona. After graduating from high school I was hired as a firefighter in Tucson and worked there for fifteen years. During that time I attended the University of Arizona and Pima College in Tucson studying Emergency Services, Fire Science and Emergency Medicine. In 1993, I moved my family to Colorado. As I did in Arizona, I spend a lot of time in the outdoors. I enjoy hunting, fishing, and wildlife photography.

After moving to Colorado, I worked as a Fire Fighter for a couple of years. In 1996 I was hired as a Seasonal Ranger for Larimer County D.N.R. I continued to volunteer as a firefighter for Loveland Fire and Rescue Department for ten more years. In 1999 I was promoted to a Ranger Supervisor, and in 2003 I attended the Larimer County Sheriffs Department/ Colorado State University Police Academy to become a POST certified officer. I continue to enjoy the best law enforcement career anyone could have, and I am now assigned to Hermit Park in the Estes Park area.

C. Zander, Ranger, Horsetooth District

A common theme that you may have picked up between the Rangers of Larimer County is passion. As all of my fellow Rangers have stated, being a Ranger is a diverse, ever changing, always adapting career. There is never a day where I end up doing the same thing I did the previous day. Being a Ranger requires a unique person, a person with passion not only for the natural resources, but for the diversity it presents. The wealth of opportunities that I get to experience in a day's work is far greater than I ever imagined. I did not expect to get to be an educator, a law enforcement officer, someone who provides medical treatment, someone who conducts search and rescues, and someone who protects our valuable natural resources. These are just a FEW of the very many things I get to experience in a day's work.

The drive for public service really started when I was a volunteer Explorer with the City Fort Collins Police in August of 2004. I spent six years as an Explorer with Fort Collins Police, volunteering thousands of hours and loving every minute of it. I worked odd-end jobs, such as a custodial job, and working in a coffee shop until 2007. This is when I learned of an opportunity to be a seasonal ranger for Larimer County. I was hired as a ranger where I worked at Horsetooth Reservoir for almost five seasons. In January of 2010, I had the opportunity to become a P.O.S.T. certified law enforcement officer in the State of Colorado. I attended the Adams County Sheriff's Police Academy and graduated in June of 2010 where I was commissioned as a Deputy in Larimer County. I spent this last summer as a Seasonal Commissioned Ranger, and in November was offered a full time position with the Department of Natural Resources.

My certifications include: POST Certification as a Peace officer in the State of Colorado, Pressure Point Control Tactics, OC Aerosol Projectors with Live Exposure, ASP Baton, and Taser. I have also been trained in the Incident Command Structure, First Aid and CPR, AED, Emergency Driving, Ground Avoidance Ground Escape, Spontaneous Knife Defense, and basic interview and interrogation techniques…Just to list a few.

Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.