Shelton Johnson – Why NPS?


Was there something about the Park Service that drew you to become an employee?
Well, what drew me to the Park Service and made me an employee was that I, as a
kid, growing up in the inner city of Detroit, I dreamed of faraway places that were not like Detroit, like anyone growing up in the city.
Other planets, other ways of being and of seeing and of living.
And seeing things that were wondrous.
And what I was not told was that the National Parks fit that particular description.
That if you're visiting the Grand Canyon, if you're in Zion, if you're in Yellowstone,
Yosemite, North Cascades, Olympic, those are America's wonderlands.
Those are places of enchantment.
Those are places where the kid in each of us wakes up and remembers what it was
to be a little boy and little girl where everything that you saw around you was
And that's what I love about the National Parks so, after my first experience in
that was it.
It was a done deal.
I had to figure out some way of staying in that landscape and I'm still there.
They're different expressions of the same place, North America.

NPS Park Ranger Shelton Johnson at Yosemite National Park describes why he joined the NPS.