Doug Follett, Glacier National Park Ranger.
Doug Follett is the kind of guy people like to be around. He’s charming. Witty. Funny. Kind. He knows history, loves nature, and writes poetry. His storytelling carries all the excitement of an old Western movie and the warmth of a flickering bonfire. In Glacier National Park—a place notorious for moody weather—Follett is a constant beam of sunshine.
At 84 years old, “Ranger Doug” is one of the oldest and longest-serving employees in the National Park Service: This year marks his 50th anniversary as a seasonal interpretive ranger at Glacier.
The Spring 2010 issue of National Parks Magazine features an interview with Ranger Doug as he shared some of his fondest memories from a lifetime dedicated to a national park.
Doug Follett has spent a lifetime in and around Glacier National Park. His career began in the summer of 1942, when he fought blister rust pine infections in the park by removing gooseberry bushes; in 1961, he spent the first of many summers as a seasonal ranger, returning each fall to Columbia Falls High School where he taught history for 35 years.
But his experiences in Glacier began long before he was of working age. In 1927, when Follett was just an infant, his father took a job with the Great Northern Railroad and relocated his family from Fernie, British Columbia, to Whitefish, Montana. Throughout his childhood, Follett immersed himself in the mountains surrounding his home—but it was the people, not the landscapes, that left the biggest impression. Blackfeet Indian culture was alive and strong, and Follett developed an intense respect and fascination for the tribe’s history and way of life. Often, he yearned to be one of them—a passion that fueled his teachings at Columbia Falls High School and on ranger-led tours in the park.
In recent years, Follett has become somewhat of a celebrity, gracing the front page of local papers and leading Whitefish’s 2010 winter parade as Grand Marshal. He and his wife, parents of four daughters, live at the edge of a lake in Whitefish.
Last September, National Parks’ Associate Editor Amy Leinbach Marquis spent a morning with him in Glacier. Read her interview with Ranger Doug on the website of the National Parks Conservation Association: http://www.npca.org/magazine/2010/spring/the-voice-of-glacier.html
Videographer Ian Shive also has created a short video profile of Ranger Doug.