Park Ranger James Randall Morgenson

Park Ranger James Randall Morgenson

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

End of Watch Tuesday, July 23, 1996

Add to My Heroes

James Randall Morgenson

Park Ranger James (Randy) Morgenson drowned after being swept over a waterfall while on a backcountry 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 National Park Service for 27 years. He was survived by his wife.


  • Age 51
  • Tour 27 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Drowned
  • Location California

patrol, wildlife management

Most Recent Reflection

View all 51 Reflections

I just watched the story of Randy Morgenson on the show "Disappeared' and was so moved by his life choices and his dedication to the wilderness of Sequoia-Kings Canyon. I grew up going to the Sierra Nevada back country year after year and have had so many transformative experiences there. The dedication of his fellow park rangers was/is profound, and I feel for all of those affected by the loss of this man. I was sad to learn about how he passed, and yet, since we all have to die somewhere, I take comfort knowing that he died doing what he loved.

Lizzie DeMent
High Sierra

February 19, 2024

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.