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Longtime National Park Ranger Dies from Freak Accident While on the Job

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Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

A life filled with service to some of the country’s most treasured public spaces has come to a close.

Tom Lorig, a park ranger who began his years of service to national parks in 1968, died on June 7 after an accident that took place in Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park.

Lorig, 78, had been on duty for Bryce Canyon’s annual Astronomy Festival when he tripped and fell at about 11:30 p.m., striking his head on a large rock, according to a National Park Service news release. At the time, he had been directing a visitor to a shuttle bus.

The visitor alerted a nearby law enforcement ranger after Lorig was unresponsive. Although park rangers, bystanders and first responders tried to revive Lorig, he died.

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“Tom Lorig served Bryce Canyon, the National Park Service, and the public as an interpretive park ranger, forging connections between the world and these special places that he loved,” Bryce Canyon Park Superintendent Jim Ireland said in the release.

“As our community processes and grieves this terrible loss, we extend our deepest condolences to all of Ranger Lorig’s family and friends,” he said.

Do you enjoy visiting national parks?

Lorig was a registered nurse for 40 years in the Seattle, Washington, region.

He also worked in a variety of roles as a ranger and volunteer, beginning with Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico in June of 1968.

Overall, Lorig would serve at 14 national park sites including Badlands in South Dakota, Bryce Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico, Florissant Fossil Beds in Colorado, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Utah and Arizona, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Washington state, Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state;

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in West Virginia, Olympic National Park in Washington state, Saguaro National Park in Arizona, Yosemite National Park in California, Zion National Park in Utah and Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Colorado.

“Tom was a dedicated public servant, and his loss will be felt by the many who knew him across the National Park Service,” the Park Service posted on Facebook.

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In 2013, Lorig made the drive from Seattle to New Mexico to ensure that a piece of Carlsbad’s history would be preserved, according to a National Park Service release.

Lorig had been a park guide from 1968 through 1973. When lighted signs reached the park in 1973, employees were allowed to take home the signs being replaced.

But 40 years later, he brought back his treasure so it could be on display at the park.

Lorig returned a painted wood sign that marked Mirror Lake in the Big Room of Carlsbad Cavern

“The Mirror Lake sign was the most coveted one, because of the mirror-image text that read right-side up when reflected on the surface of the pool,” he said in the release, explaining why he chose it.

“I’m glad the sign is back at Carlsbad Caverns. This is where it belongs,” he said.

The release noted that Lorig had begun his service as a ranger before becoming a nurse — service he resumed at the end of his life.


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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
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Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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