Park rangers deal with a lot more than guided tours and picnicking bears nowadays. A spike in crimes in national parks puts them in harm’s way more often than most people realize.
Yellowstone National Park had the biggest number of violent incidents directed at park service officers last year. But nearly half the total took place in urban areas where U.S. Park Police patrol, including national monuments in and around Washington, D.C.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a watchdog group, released a report warning that national park law enforcement officers have the most dangerous federal assignment. The group says the problem is made worse by the fact that the number of park police is dwindling as the number of visitors to parks continues to rise.