Glendale’s Revamped Park Ranger Program
This past year Glendale’s Park Ranger Division has grown from one full-time employee and three part-time employees, to two full-time, including a Park Ranger Supervisor, and 12 part-time, which means that residents will see a greater presence of rangers in parks throughout the city. Park Ranger Supervisor Chris Kurtzhals, now with the city nearly one year, elaborates on expanding the ranger program and future plans for his team.
Q: What is the Park Rangers’ primary role and mission in the Parks & Recreation Division?
A: Our mission is to protect and preserve Park resources, recreation opportunities and facilities that enhance the quality of life for city residents and visitors. We do this by building relationships, solving problems and showing compassion. The methods we use to accomplish this mission are two-fold: through public education and community outreach; and through enforcement of park rules, which are found in chapter 27 of the municipal code.
Q: What is the most important thing you’d like residents to know about the Park Rangers?
A: That we’re out there, serving residents. If you see something happening in progress in a city park, call 9-1-1, then call the On-Call Ranger at 623-695-3004. Rangers are on duty 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. usually. We are also now working at the festivals and special events, as well as maintaining a presence at various locations in Thunderbird Conservation Park. We would like residents and visitors to all of our parks to know that Glendale parks and facilities are safe and enjoyable places to be, and that Rangers will be out there to meet and interact with the public.
Q: What is the biggest accomplishment for the division over the (almost) one-year mark?
A: One thing that we have tried to do is make a difference in the community and connect with people. One thing that we have been able to accomplish with full staff and spending more time in the parks, is to connect with some of the homeless population in Glendale. By continuing to dialogue with those individuals and build their trust, we have assisted other departments and service providers to help a number of disadvantaged people receive assistance during a four-month period. In addition, building a strong relationship with the Police Department has been beneficial on all sides. In incidents that occur on park property, we are assisting in several areas such as writing reports and impounding vehicles, which helps police officers to get back on patrol more quickly for the residents of Glendale.
Q: What are some programs or practices that residents can expect to see in the near future?
A: We are working on developing more training opportunities for the new Park Rangers; more opportunities to educate and engage the public, which includes the possible development of interpretive programming and volunteer opportunities such as a docent program at Thunderbird Park, assisting with historical programming at Sahuaro Ranch and Manistee Ranch, developing a community outreach canine program and possibly a junior ranger program for youth in the community. One new practice we plan to implement in the coming months is ranger bike patrol in larger regional parks, such as Sahuaro Ranch Park, Thunderbird and the linear parks.
Meet “Ranger,” the Newest Member of the Park Ranger Team
Learn more about Glendale’s newest community outreach program, and how you can be part of it!