After nearly three decades, Glacier National Park said farewell to law enforcement specialist Steve Dodd. Friday was his last day.
"People come to me here all the time, 'How do you like your office?' and I say, 'It's a pretty nice piece of real estate with just a little over a million acres,'" Dodd said. "I was 39 years old when I came to Glacier."
But it's time to say Happy Trails. After a long, successful career Ranger Dodd is hanging up his Stetson.
"Some of these young rangers who up here, and want to be rangers, and the Stetson that I'm wearing is the hallmark of the ranger profession and today's youngsters and young men and women don't like wearing hats. I'm not sure why, I always tell them put your hat on that's what makes you a ranger," Dodd said.
Ranger Dodd has seen it all from devastating wildfires...
"I was here for the summer of 2003, of course, when we had fires that burned all these hills and several of us stood up there on the pier of Lake McDonald Lodge and watched this ridge burn here. The fire came up over the ridge and burned up the lake. I was hoping to get out of here without having another fire season but I didn't quite make it."
To increased visitation...
"As you know, we saw nearly three million visitors so far this year."
To visits from dignitaries.
"There is a great sense of community. Over the years I've worked with the Sheriff's Office, the Highway Patrol, the City Police agencies around here, the Forest Service, FBI, the ATF, the Secret Service, Border Patrol, of course, lots of these agencies, we work on joint things. We've had visitations here from the Vice President or the First Lady and a variety of other dignitaries. The Governor is here quite often, the Secretary of the Interior, folks like that. So it's great to work with those people. I've really enjoyed the time I've spent with these outside agencies."
As for his replacement, Ranger Dodd had this advice to offer.
"Embrace change, change is not something to be afraid of, but it is something to look at and try to respond to the change in an appropriate manner. Sometimes that's resistance but usually when if you try to resist change, you get swept up along with it anyway."
Dodd said now that he is retired he plans to fish, go camping, and he added his wife has a large honey-do list. He looks forward to his time off-duty and plans to stay in the Flathead Valley.