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ODMP Remembers...

Park Ranger James Randall United States Department of the Interior - National Park Service, U.S. Government

Park Ranger

James Randall "Randy" Morgenson

United States Department of the Interior - National Park Service, U.S. Government

End of Watch: Tuesday, July 23, 1996

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 51

Tour: 27 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Drowned

Location: California

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Ranger James (Randy) Morgenson drowned after being swept over a waterfall while on a back country patrol in the Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, California. Other rangers began to search for him after he failed to check in with dispatch at the regular time following the first day of the patrol.

Despite an exhaustive search, his remains were not found until July 2001, nearly five years after he went missing. The investigation indicated that he likely fell through a snow drift and broke his leg while crossing a creek, dying of associated injuries and hypothermia. His remains were washed down the creek and into a small cascade where they were hidden in the rocks for years.

Ranger Morgenson had served with the agency for 27 years. He was survived by his wife.

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Park Rangers are perhaps our greatest unsung heroes, protecting the wilderness and badlands (that many would rape and pillage in their greedy quest for oil and precious minerals) but that are truly responsible for making America the Beautiful. You recognized their need for protection and the need to protect and serve those who simply wanted to regale in the splendor and serenity of your beloved Sierras. Not even the Park Service appreciated your sacrifice, making you a "seasonal worker" with no benefits, no medical, no retirement, calling you the backbone of the NPS in one breath and 90 day wonders in the next.

Still you gave almost 30 years of your life and experience and ultimately your life to the mission of the NPS and we civilians appreciate that sacrifice.

Nature Lover
July 31, 2016


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