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Articles by Aaron Dalton

Aaron Dalton is a freelance writer based in New York City.

Featured Article

Jordan Fisher Smith.

If you had to guess which federal agents in the U.S. face the greater danger, who would you put your money on: the officers who wage the endless War on Drugs, or the rangers who patrol the green acres of the national parks? Well, it’s the rangers. According to a 2001 study by the Bureau of Justice, nature’s security guards are twice as likely to be assaulted on the job as agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Being a ranger entails more risk than you might imagine. Routine maintenance and rescues can require skiing in avalanche-prone terrain, maneuvering specially equipped aircraft, or paddling class-IV whitewater. In some parks, border disputes and drug trafficking up the ante. And in the case of injury — including animal or even human attack — the nearest help may be miles away.

From the late 1970s until 2000, Jordan Fisher Smith faced these dangers for a chance to protect the nation’s inheritance. He patrolled a series of public lands, including Grand Teton and Sequoia national parks, until the lingering effects of Lyme disease forced him to retire. Smith’s expe... Read more