Park Ranger Duties and Responsibilities

Park Ambassador/Interpretation

Rangers greet park users at their various functions and provide information about the department including, but not limited to the following:

    • Provide maps and directions
    • Explain park features
    • Explain park rules and regulations
    • Assist with private/community events (parking, information, trail closures, water access, etc.)
    • Assist staff with park programs such as Arbor Day, TreeKeepers, CARP, Clean-up Columbia, etc.
    • Control and remove dangerous, injured or diseased animals from areas where they could harm themselves or visitors. 
    • Promote public relations by giving educational programs to schools, civic groups and park users concerning the Columbia parks and trail system, natural resources, law enforcement and security
    • Coordinate Park Patrol Volunteers for department special events, busy sports league nights/weekends and other events, such as trail runs/walks

Park Management and Maintenance

Rangers are often the department’s only fulltime employee working during the evenings and weekends when park staff has concluded their normal operations.  During this time, rangers are responsible for handling all maintenance related items or securing facilities so that proper repairs can be made the next day. The most common duties include: 

  • Manage all P&R security systems
    • Portable surveillance camera (locate in areas of activity)
    • Data storage management
    • Inventory of facilities including photos of all systems and placement
    • Monitor system outages/repairs
  • Manage and supervise part-time park events assistants and contract security company
  • Inspect, monitor, and remove illegal camp sites on park property
  • Fix toilets/plumbing issues or shut-off water to prevent further damage
  • Raise and lower flags
  • Clear snow from sidewalks
  • Fix electrical issues
    • Re-set breakers at shelters and facilities
    • Troubleshoot problems
    • Contact W&L for outages
  • Fix heating/air conditioning at facilities per customer requests
  • Sweep and mop building or shelter floors
  • Collect trash from grounds, playgrounds, etc.
  • Climb in manhole to turn off broken water pipes
  • Repair broken signs
  • Perform minor repairs to playground equipment
  • Paint over graffiti in prominent areas
  • Perform building inspections
    • Secure building doors/windows
    • Respond to facilities where rentals have problems with security codes or keys
    • Inspect buildings after rentals to confirm/document damage security deposit withholdings or releases
  • Perform lighting inspections
  • Make minor repairs to bridges (remove limbs/debris after floods, cover damaged boards/rails, etc.)
  • Inspect park gates, bollards and other park access points
  • Collect/document fees from trout donation box
  • Remove  mud from trails for events
  • Stock restroom supplies
  • Manage rental of athletic field liners and golf carts for special tournaments and events
  • Inspect soccer, lacrosse, and basketball goals (nets, proper anchoring, appropriate pads,etc.)
  • Perform athletic field maintenance
    • Replace broken bases as needed
    • Provide field supplies, such as rakes, drags, field drying agents, etc.
  • Turn off irrigation as needed
  • Fill holes in fields with soil/sand mixture
  • Turn off athletic field lights
  • Monitor neighbor encroachment onto park property lines
    • Research and locate park property lines
    • Erect property line markers/posts where problems occur

Rules & Regulations Enforcement

Ensure compliance with regulations established under Chapter 17 of the Columbia Code of Ordinance governing Parks & Recreation. Specific emphasis is placed on the following: 

  • Animal compliance (primarily dogs)
    • Animal excrement compliance
    • Dog off-leash compliance
    • Dogs illegally in beaches, spraygrounds or playgrounds
  • Excessive noise compliance or in park after hours (park shelters, rental buildings, skate park, etc.)
  • Parking compliance (may assist with large events to ensure legal parking)
  • Concession permit compliance
    • Inspect concession operators to make sure they have City/P&R approval
    • Collect payment for events that failed to notify department of concession operations or close down concessions
    • Make sure alcohol is not sold except where permitted
  • Inspect and review permits for private use of amusements that are allowed/not allowed (bounce houses, hot air balloons, pony rides, horse and carriages, other inflatables, etc.)
  • Vandalism deterrence
  • Unlicensed motor vehicles (mini-bikes, ATV, etc.)
  • Monitor watercraft at Twin Lakes, Philips and Stephens Lakes
  • Equestrians on trails
  • Transients, illegal camping in parks
  • Bikes in skate parks
  • No alcohol in certain facilities (sports, pools, beaches, golf courses, etc.)
  • Enforce beach rules at Stephens Lake (no glass, grills, alcohol, late night swimming, etc.)
  • Facility and athletic field cancellation/reservation enforcement
    • Check field permits/reservations
    • Close fields due to cancellations and prohibit use (run teams off of fields)

Safety & Accident Prevention

Patrol parks and natural areas to ensure that both natural and man-made hazards are identified and corrected, including:

  • Respond to and help coordinate response to emergency situations, including:
    • First aid
    • Medical emergencies
    • Lost children
    • Motor vehicle accidents/breakdowns
    • Lost/locked keys
  • Traffic and crowd control
    • Compliance with shelter use (no more than 200 at shelter w/o permit)
    • Traffic in major parks (primarily Cosmo Park) for normal events, such as spring/fall Saturdays and weekdays in the fall when football, soccer, softball and baseball leagues are all playing.
  • Helmet/safety equipment enforcement primarily on trails and skate park
  • Ensure proper signage is in place
    • Inspect all park signs (traffic, rules/regulations, informational, directional, etc.)
    • Remove illegal signs posted on or over park signs
    • Order, purchase and install temporary signs, such as “no fireworks” or parking restrictions for various festivals and Show-Me State Games.
  • Ensure entrance and egress roadways are unobstructed
  • Inspect safety fences and handrails per regulations
  • Conflict resolution at first come/first served facilities (shelters, fields, etc.)
  • Inspect playgrounds
  • Inspect winter sports areas
  • Inspect trails and bridges
    • Remove limbs from trails/bridges
  • Spray hornet/wasp nests in parks, shelters, playgrounds, athletic fields, etc.

Conservation, Environmental Protection & Fire Management

Protect natural resources through resource management practices, including:

  • Inspect archery hunter permits
  • Work with research park permits on appropriate locations for bird, bat, butterfly, fish, and other fauna traps.
  • Trap and transport wild animal/pests as required
  • Dispose of dead animal carcasses
  • Inspect ponds, lakes and creeks for illegal traps
  • Monitor fishing creel limits/licenses
  • Enforcement of illegal dumping
    • Prevention
    • Investigation (search debris for contact information or other clues to suspects)
  • Deter theft of natural resources and artifacts
  • Graffiti prevention
  • Deter the use and creation of social hiking trails
    • Use natural timbers to block unauthorized trails
    • Work with Forestry/Trail Division
  • Photograph wild animals and natural resources in parks
  • Coordinate/schedule border collie for geese control
  • Coordinate controlled burns to stimulate native species growth
    • Assist with Fire Permits
    • Notify public/residents
    • Erect signs