Loveland Bike Trail

Larimer County Rangers

photo of fulltime rangers

Z. Cook, Ranger, Red Mountain 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, Senior Ranger, Red Mountain 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.

C. Kirby, Ranger, Big Thompson 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.

W. Talbott, Senior Ranger, Carter Lake 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, Big Thompson 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.

Background Image: Loveland Bike Trail by Sharon Veit. All rights reserved.