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Park Ranger History Banner

1970's - 1980's

    Flood Control Act, Section 234  Senator Cooper of Kentucky initiates legislation establishing a Citation Authority program to address littering problems at a Corps project.

    36 Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter III, Part 327 establishes the first nationwide set of rules and regulations governing public use of Corps of Engineers Water Resources Development Projects

    Pilot Citation Program: Lake Cumberland, Kentucky Six Park Rangers are granted authority to enforce rules by issuance of warning only.

    The First Badge is originally bought from the US Marshalls Service in Lexington Kentucky for $75.00 US. The badge is engraved by a local jeweler.

    Citation Program goes nationwide and citations can be issued.

    Park Ranger Wallace Holcomb issues the first citation to a violator at Lake Cumberland. A number of warning citations are written by Dave Stidham and Anon Bozeman prior to Wallaces citation.

    Wallace issues the first citation to a resident of Burnside, KY, for an unpermitted dock on Lake Cumberland. Wallaces first actual citation goes to court.

    Beginnings of diversity in the Park Ranger ranks are evident. Deborah Chenoweth, hired at Caesar Creek Lake, OH in January 1973, becomes the third female Corps of Engineers Park Ranger in the nation. Although the first two hires leave within a year, Chenoweth has a long and successful career progression with the Corps.

    Review of Visitor Protective Services - This Corps program review includes a look at the agencys limited Park Ranger authority, and inability of local authorities to enforce. The study addresses options including increased authority, adding to Park Ranger staffing, assuming complete enforcement responsibility, letting state and local agencies assume those responsibilities, or keeping Corps authorities fundamentally the same and initiating Law Enforcement Contracts. Other recommended changes include improving regulations and guidance, training, and uniforms.

    An incident occurs at Thurmond Lake involving a Summer Park Ranger carrying a handgun on duty, outside the scope of his authority. During a hazing ritual that includes a local group of teenagers, some young men are reported as streaking in a Corps campground. The Summer Ranger attempts to fire a warning shot into the air, but accidently shoots and kills one of the teenage boys. The Corps is found to be partially liable, since the Summer Rangers supervisor was aware he was armed.

    Opal James and David Small, Park Rangers at Blue Mountain Lake, Arkansas, are ambushed and abducted by Paul Ruiz and Earl Van Denton, escapees from an Oklahoma State Prison. A local Marshall and Small are forced into a car trunk. The men hear the escapees say "You know what we've got to do", and shots are fired into the car trunk. The shots fatally injure the Marshall. Small, although critically injured, survives. James is held hostage for two days then eventually executed in Oden, Arkansas. The escapees continue their crime spree resulting in additional murders in Louisiana. They are later captured in Portland, Oregon. David Small testifies a number of times since Ruiz and Van Denton file multiple appeals, but the escapees are eventually executed in 1998.

    ER 1130-2-420-Program policy and guidance is established for Visitor Assistance training. This educates Park Rangers on how to conduct duties concerning the public in a safe manner.

    Sections 111 and 114, title 18: Park Managers and Park Rangers included among federal officers protected against assault.

    Uniform regulations established for Natural Resources Management Program and Staff.

    Nationwide USACE promotion of water safety begins through an annual, unified safety education campaign.

    Officer citation card for Wallace Halcomb

    First Badge was originally purchased from the US Marshalls Service in Lexington, KY.

    Second Badge that was issued to Park Rangers

    Original group of Citation Pilot program at Lake Cumberland, left to right :Bozeman, Halcomb, Thomas, Patterson

    Bill Jackson receiving his badge from Wallace Halcomb, Lake Cumberland

    Ranger Todd Yann Lake Barkley, Nashville District

    Rangers Jeff Orten, Patty Coffey, and Jim Robins Lake Barkley, Nashville District

    Ranger Kevin Ewbank 1982 Hartwell Lake, Savannah District

    Ranger Wallace Halcomb receiving citation authority

    Ranger Avis Kennedy & Ranger Ted Woodson at Old Hickory Lake, Nashville District

    Rock Island District

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