Park Rangers Vs. Park Police


New Member
Dec 2, 2020
In the woods
Hey all,

I've seen a few threads talking about the park police and I've noticed that they don't seem to be held in the highest esteem, especially when compared to the old park rangers. The tone of the earlier posts seemed to portray the park police as being more punitive / concerned with enforcement then the rangers, although few specifics were given as to how or why. This interests me because I'm considering applying to become a park police officer when the next civil service exam comes up. Public safety is something that I'm passionate about, and I absolutely loved living near the pinelands when I was stationed at Fort Dix, so there is nowhere else I would rather work.

My questions to anyone reading this is first are the park police still viewed in this light? Second what would you want to see from the park police to change your mind and convince you that the agency is more of an asset then a liability?


Jan 2, 2003
I've had many encounters with the Park Police and they were always pleasant if not friendly.


Apr 1, 2005
Last year while camping at Godfrey Bridge. A Park Police officer paid me a visit on Saturday he was pleasant & we had a 15 minute conversation.


Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
I have had very few encounters but one was not so nice. In the end there was some confusion with him as to what I was doing and all was well after that was straightened out.


Jul 20, 2003
millville nj
My personal experience with Park Police is while they have not been rude they seem to not know much about the woods their patrolling.I think they are made up of people looking for a job and not people with environmental knowledge out to help the forest.One experience I had was quite comical.
This was back in the late 90's Me and Momma were on a bushwack outing along the lower Tulpe.There is a dune/island back there that in my even younger days I would occasionally stealth camp on.I wanted to show it to Momma.along the way i told her the story of how I took my little eight year old brother tent camping with me there about ten years prior and how he snuggled up to my back in the middle of the night and urinated all down my back.It's a funny story now but it wasn't; when it happened.The only reason he made it back home was because Mom knew he left with me and I could come up with no logical explanation of what happened to him so I had to return him.

In any case me and Momma got to this campsite the usual way,an approximately three quarter mile long very old cycle trail/ditch through wet pitch pine lowlands.It was march,the ditch was full of water and frozen just enough it would not support you but would crash through at every step and you would occasionally land on a slanted piece of ice and if not careful wind up in a non vertical position. Well we left the truck parked along an old road that paralleled the good Hawkins bridge/Friendship rd. and my truck was plainly visible from the main road.

Now as you embark on this trail it immediately drops into the lowland and about fifty yards later it crosses a small cedar swamp with a small gurgling creek.There is usually a board there to hel you cross but any bushwacker worth his salt and get across by hopping from clump to clump and holding onto cedars.Well on the way back as we approach this spot I"m talking loudly with Momma behind me and for anyone who knows me it would be no surprise i was dressed from head to toe in Camo. I"ve been wearing camo since before camo was cool.When the surplus came out after Vietnam and I was a teenager I got my first set of woodlands at an army surplus store and have been in love with it ever since.Later on the National Guard actually paid me to wear it for six years,can you believe that!

Now this trail is packed with brush and you cant see your feet as you walk.You FEEL the trail as you walk down it.When I come around the bend to the cedar swamp there are two men standing there in park Police uniforms on the other side eye balling the swamp with expressions like "God! What do we do now?" They heard me coming and were aware of me before I them so if I had a gun it would have still been in my hand and not dropped.Some how these good fellows expected me immediately upon seeing me as a deer poacher! Could it have been my clothes?Yeah I"m out poching deer parked along a major Forest rd with a woman behind me who is definitely not dressed for hunting.

So now the questions begin.Who are you ?What are you doing? Where were you? How long have you been back here? Who are you?Uh,I think you already asked that one?Well they did not seem to believe anything I told them.I guess I just have that natural compulsive liar appearance so I offered to take either Tweedledum or Tweedledummer or both to where I just came from.One accepted,the bigger guy .Fully six ft two and maybe 220 lbs.Much bigger then me at the time.The other one definitely did not like the looks of that swamp so Momma offered to stay with him and protect him while we were away.She knew what I had in mind:)

So tweedledummer crosses the swamp and while he did stay vertical both feet slipped off the islands and he promptly submerged both black shiny dress shoes and green dress pants to the shins in iron slimy red mud:)No big deal Dummer,this is just the beginning of your fun this morning:)I immediatel started out on a brisk pace up the well hidden ice encrusted ditch full of shin deep icy water.I had two good knees back then so yes I mean a brisk pace.Dummer spent the next three quarter mile slipping and falling onto his side and face in the ditch has his shiny shoes broke through the ice or he stepped on ice already broken by me and Momma and it was laying on slanted bottom.By the time I got him to the island I had been at and showed him our tracks in the sand he was soaked to his crotch and wet over much of his upper body.I offered to give him a tour of the big pitcher plant bog and the adjacent meadow.I literally could have lost him in these:)

But Tweedle Dummer seemd to have gotten light years smarter in the last twenty minutes. he was having none of it.He wanted to head back and was not nearly as smiley.I offered to let him go ahead but without saying it he let the cat out of the bag.Dummer did not know where the trail was.I immediately put us back on the trail and took off again but Dummer was not keeping up.Dummer wasn't as dumb now for sure.I had to keep stopping and waiting for him.I don't think he went down more then two or three times on the way back.He never found my imaginary gun or my piles of imginary deer carcases. And guess what.Momma was telling this story to a woman she worked with maybe a year later and she knew Dummer and had heard this story from his perspective.He indeed did realize he was being toyed with and was not nearly as amused with the trip as i was.Some folks just have no humor.As a matter of fact I think he referred to me as Jackass.Maybe it was that Jackass braying sound I was making as him and Tweedlesmarter rode off toward Hawkins Bridge.Jackass I may be but compulsive liar I am now.Maybe he understands now why I had knee high rubber boots on? and always had at least on hand on the brush to stop a fall?