Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Sen. Kaufman Recognizes Great Federal Employee, Steve Shackleton

May 25, 2010

   This weekend, Americans will be observing Memorial Day, which also marks the unofficial start of summer. It is a tradition for families to gather at picnics and spend time together outdoors. Many will be visiting parks, trails, and historical sites administered by the National Park Service.

   Every year, when Americans travel to our national parks--as many will do this weekend they often take for granted the outstanding work performed by National Park Service rangers.

   The men and women who protect our National Park System and watch over the safety of its visitors come from diverse backgrounds, yet they share a dedication to public service and an abiding love for the land we all so cherish.

   The parks they administer on our behalf showcase the diversity of our country's splendid natural geography. From Yellowstone to the Shenandoah, from the gates of the Arctic to the Great Smoky Mountains, these parks provide a refuge for wildlife and preserve our natural and cultural heritage.

   The experience of visiting these parks is often awe-inspiring. Surely all who have ever stood at the rim of the Grand Canyon or at the foot of a giant California Redwood felt their majesty and the stirrings of tranquility they inspire.

   These parks, trails, and historic sites are an excellent place to take children, where they can learn firsthand about nature and the importance of conservation.

   This is why I have been working with Senator Carper to establish the first State national historical park in Delaware, which would preserve sites important to our State's colonial history. Currently, Delaware is the only State without a national park.

   Indeed, our great national parks, with their pristine natural beauty and vast expanses of solitude, have stirred their souls of millions.

   We have so much to learn from these parks, and so much to experience. True remain the words from Shakespeare, who wrote of the wilderness that in it we may ``find tongues in trees, books Full Document: Congressional Record Full Textin running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in every thing.''

   Today, as my great Federal employee of the week, I have chosen to honor one of the dedicated rangers who keep visitors to our national parks safe, informed, and able to experience the parks' wonders.

   Steve Shackleton has been a national park ranger for over a quarter-century. He began his service in the 1980s at the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, where he worked in the areas of search and rescue, emergency medicine, and law enforcement. During that time, he spent six summers fighting fires in California's Sierra National Forest.

   Steve spent 14 years in Hawaii and Alaska working on resource protection management. He holds bachelor's and master's of science degrees in criminology from California State University in Fresno and a master's of public administration from the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

   In the late 1990s, Steve came to Washington, where he spent 3 years working in the National Park Service's legislative office and undertaking a fellowship right here in the U.S. Senate. Afterward, Steve became the superintendent of the Pinnacles National Monument in California's central coast region.

   From 2004-2005, he participated in the OPM's Federal Senior Executive Candidate Development Program, which included study at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and Stanford's Graduate School of Business.

   For the last 7 years, Steve served as the chief ranger at Yosemite National Park. In that role, he directed the park's programs in law enforcement, wilderness management, fire prevention, search and rescue, and remote medicine.

   This February, Steve was asked to return to Washington, where he now serves as the National Park Service's Associate Director for Visitors and Resource Protection.

   Steve's love of nature and America's natural heritage can be traced to his father, Lee Shackleton, who himself had a long career as a park ranger. Steve and his wife, Jane, have passed along this tradition of caring for nature to their daughter, Dana, who is studying veterinary medicine at the University of California, Davis.

   I hope my colleagues will join me in recognizing the great work of Steve Shackleton and all of America's national park rangers. This summer, they will continue to watch over the safety of visitors and serve as their guides to the splendor of our national parks.

   The men and women of the National Park Service are all truly great Federal employees.

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