The Pottersville Fire - 1965
The Pottersville Fire - 1965
Last Update: 05/17/2020

Welcome to this unofficial site of the New York State Forest Rangers.

This site is dedicated to the past rangers and current New York State Forest Rangers who strive to carry out their duties in these difficult times. On a day back in 2003, retired Forest Ranger Norm Jensen pondered for a time, what exactly is a forest ranger and then he wrote the following:

We are Forest Rangers

We are not the first of them, nor will we be the last. Our heritage is steeped in tradition that began during the dawn of conservation, born of need and dedicated to serve. From birth, in 1885, to the present and onward into the future, we are Forest Rangers.

Each generation trained by the one before it, learning the skills and arts of those who came before. This will remain so until there is no more need to rescue the misfortunate, quench the wildfire, or deliver the lost into the waiting arms of kin. Stand us in a line in our dress uniforms or naked in the grave, we are one, we are Forest Rangers.

They can take everything from us, uniforms, credentials, our sanity and our spirit, but we will always be recognized by others for what we have given, and for what little we have asked. The patch we wear on our shoulder and in retirement hangs upon our wall, is a constant reminder of those who came before us, those who will come after and of those who now dedicate their lives to wear it. Whether walking among mankind or moldering in the grave, we are first, last and always Forest Rangers.

We have always been the first to step forward and willingly take up the challenge, often working long hours under difficult conditions. We awaken in the night to brave the bitter cold, descend the precipice or venture forth into the foreboding forest to help someone in need. We answer the call, often to the neglect of family at home, to help those less fortunate or protect the environment that we all hold dear. We do this willingly, without foolhardy neglect, but with cool calculated care, steeped in tradition and tempered with dedication, duty, training and compassion, for we are Forest Rangers.

With keen awareness we know that life often depends upon our very actions, and that we will do our best. We place our lives in the hands of those we've trained as we know they willingly place theirs in ours. We believe in each other, because we must. Alone in the woods, our competence is unsurpassed. And, with unquestioning faith, we forge on to quell the flames, scale the cliffs and ensure the protection of our environment, because we are Forest Rangers.

Often in silent non-recognition, we carry out these duties and go quietly home when the day is done, to our loved ones, only to be called upon again another day to respond to another emergency, for we will always be Forest Rangers.

Norman R. Jensen, Forest Ranger, Retired, May 16, 2003

Forest Ranger Scott VanLaer explains in a video why being a Forest Ranger is still considered "An Exceptional Job."


Beware of fake forest ranger badges and patches on eBay.

Contact me for authentication.

It's taken almost nine years of research and the gathering photos and other documents to bring it to the point that it's at now and I couldn't have accomplished it without the help of many retired and current New York State Forest Rangers. That nine year run has come to an end in early 2018. To keep the site active and up to date, I'm passing it on to Forest Ranger and Ranger Historian Scott van Laer, whom I'm confident will take it on and keep it moving forward.

Now return to the top of the page and explore the history of the New York State Forest Rangers.

Capt. Paul T Hartmann,
NYS Forest Rangers (ret)

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