Dorothy Hoard Backcountry Ranger
That simple message has been the focus of Ranger Lee Ferrill's summer at Bandelier National Monument.
Ferrill came on board at Bandelier in early July as the Dorothy Hoard Backcountry Ranger, a position funded by the Friends of Bandelier as a memorial to the group's founder and long-time leader. In his short time at the Park, Ferrill started from scratch to build foundation for a continuing program for getting visitors out of Frijoles Canyon and into some of the more remote areas of Bandelier.
"My goal is to give people who are hesitant about venturing into the wilderness a chance to do so with someone who knows the territory and who can show them places that might not know were out there," Ferrill said.
In about a dozen backcountry trips this past summer, visitors have joined the Ranger to explore the cultural sites on Burnt Mesa, Yapashi Pueblo, and the Ponderosa Campground to the Visitor Center journey down Frijoles Canyon.
For the first month of his appointment, Ferrill walked many of the trails in the Park, searching for interesting destinations that would provide visitors with a sense of the Bandelier backcountry.
"From what I've read and heard, Dorothy Hoard was an amazing woman with incredible energy who loved the beauty of Bandelier," Ferrill said. "I'm trying to lead people to places Dorothy loved."
A 10-year resident of New Mexico, Ferrill came to Bandelier after several seasons at El Morro National Monument. His Park Service experience comes on the heels of a career in corporate America as a graphic artist. He has put those skills to use in creating themed flyers for the backcountry program that are eye-grabbing, instantly recognizable as related to the National Park Service, and that always include the message Get Outdoors!
In addition to leading visitors on a hike, Ferrill teaches hikers about being prepared for an outdoor adventure.
"I emphasize the Ten Essentials, especially carrying adequate water for your journey," Ferrill said. He also teaches Leave No Trace principles to minimize impacts to the backcountry.
Ferrill's hope is that this season laid the groundwork for a continuing backcountry program that will expand in the future.
"A big thank you to the Friends of Bandelier for bringing me here to help visitors learn more about all the opportunities Bandelier has to offer," Ferrill said.