In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Park Rangers work as protectors of the public and the resources that are in the National Park. They are the official managers of the park and act not only as patrolmen, making sure the public is safe and that the visitors to the park are acting in accordance with all rules and regulations, but they are also the curators of the park itself – making sure the historic structures, flora, fauna and recreational sites are being well cared for.
One of the duties of the Park Ranger in the National Park is to supervise the people that visit the park itself. They act as traffic cop, enforcing the rules of the road, speed limits and the restriction of commercial traffic from the park roads. They are also there to protect the public from itself. Making sure that people who visit the areas of the park abide by the regulations, as far as wildlife and the environment go. When visitors get over zealous and approach too close to the wildlife the Park Ranger is the person that steps in to make sure that both the guest in the park and the wildlife remain safe.
It is also the Park Ranger that acts as curator for the natural resources in the GSMNP. They maintain the historic buildings in places like Cades Cove and Cataloochee. They help maintain the trails that people hike in the park. The Park Ranger is also the custodian of the wildlife and vegetation in the park. The Rangers help with the prescribed burns that happen in the park from time to time. The Park Rangers teach the visitor about fire safety, hiking safety and how to “leave no trace” while they hike in the park. These duties are the most important that the Park Rangers perform. They are able to teach the guests in the park how they can help care for the environment and the GSMNP.
The Park Rangers carry the authority of the Park Service with them at all times. They are both guest relations and law enforcement and they are to be respected and admired. If you see a Park Ranger, walk up and offer them your hand, tell them thank you for their service, tell them you appreciate the job that the perform. Basically just tell them thank you. Follow their rules, help them by being respectful of the natural and national resources that they have chosen to protect and remember that the activities that you take advantage of in the Smokies are due to the fact that they have chosen to serve the public.