The Challenge: How to develop an integrated and dedicated ranger service for the Cairngorms National Park based on the pre-existing ranger services that were in place before the National Park was designated.
The Response: Work with Scottish Natural Heritage so that CNPA takes on the role of providing money to estates or local authorities who want to run ranger services in the Park. Then coordinate the work of the rangers, provide them with special training and assistance and encourage them to wear the National Park brand.
Being a ranger is an extremely rewarding and varied job. I start my day by checking some of the 45km of trails we have here in Nethy Bridge to make sure the paths are safe. This is a great way to start the day, looking out for wildlife to write on my sightings board and stopping to chat with locals and visitors to answer all sorts of questions and queries.
Then it’s back to the office to open up the visitor centre, check my e-mails / phone messages and make notes of any maintenance required. From then on each day is very different:
- I could be setting up or holding events
- Taking guided walks
- Working with school children
- Surveying wildlife
- Training or supervising volunteers
- Discussing issues with landowners
- Checking mink rafts
- Or doing maintenance, basically the list is endless.
At some point however I will be helping visitors with enquiries in the interpretation centre, you can build up a real rapport with people as they come back day after day to tell you what they have found. This part of the day also keeps you on your toes as you are never quite sure what they are going to ask! From what kind of poo or skull is this, where is the best park to visit over 200miles away, or where can I guarantee seeing a wild animal or bird!
Explore Abernethy Ranger, Nethybridge
There are 12 ranger services operating within the Cairngorms National Park. You can find out more by visiting www.cairngorms.co.uk