Being a successful park ranger involves mastering an array of skills ranging from fighting fires to conducting search and rescue missions. Yosemite National Park Ranger Robert Lewis has an amazing breadth of skills. In addition to being experienced at rescuing people from high angles and on swift water, Lewis is a crisis negotiator, medic, coroner, and firearms instructor. He also fights both structural fires and wildfires.
The National Park Service bestowed the prestigious Pacific West Region Harry Yount Award to Lewis in March 2015. He is now up for consideration for the National Harry Yount award along with six other regional award winners. As the first national park ranger, Yount was considered the father of the ranger service and is the namesake of these prestigious regional and national awards.
Lewis was granted this award because he consistently performed his duties at a high level. He is also known for his leadership skills and has had a large impact wherever he has worked. Lewis is currently the Yosemite Valley Shift Supervisor at this national park. As a leader, he took part in numerous rescue missions that even involved talking people out of committing suicide.
He has a vast array of technical skills and can patrol by canoe, helicopter, horseback, motorcycle, motorboat, raft, skis, and snowmobile. This has made him invaluable to the National Park Service. Yosemite’s Chief Ranger is “thrilled” that Lewis received the Pacific West Regional Harry Yount Award.
Lewis has worked at a number of national parks throughout the country including:
- Glacier National Park
- Golden Gate National Recreation Area
- Sequoia National Park
- Virgin Islands National Park
Working in such diverse environments has given Lewis a wealth of experiences. In addition to helping park visitors, he has also worked extensively with animals. Lewis returned sea turtles that had been captured by poachers to the Caribbean Sea, and he helped scientific research by helping to dart and capture goats.
If Lewis does receive the national award, he will be honored to accept one of highest recognitions that a ranger can receive.