America’s Oldest Park Ranger Retires At 100 Years Old

Betty Reid Soskin oldest park active ranger Credit: National Parks SErvice

The oldest active park ranger, Betty Reid Soskin, is retiring at 100 years old. She joined the National Park Service at age 84. Soskin spent 15 years telling stories of Black people during WWII and virtual sessions on Rosie the Riveter.

“To be a part of helping to mark the place where that dramatic trajectory of my own life, combined with others of my generation, will influence the future by the footprints we’ve left behind, has been incredible,” Soskin said in a National Parks Service statement earlier this week.

According to Forbes, “Soskin, growing up in Oakland, watched Amelia Earhart take off to fly around the world – and never return. She was an eyewitness to a deadly ammunition ship explosion in July 1944, while she worked at the Boilermaker’s A-36. Working at A-36 also made Soskin an eyewitness to racism and its impact on workers. Recruiting posters emphasized the need for everyone to do their part for the war effort, but Black workers – along with Latinx, Asian, and other workers – often got fewer opportunities and found themselves openly barred from joining the unions that were supposed to advocate for them.”

“[Soskin’s] efforts remind us all that we must seek out and give space for all perspectives so that we can tell a more full and inclusive history of our nation,” said National Park Service director Chuck Sams.

“Her work has impacted the way the NPS conveys such history to audiences across the United States,” according to a recent press release about her retirement.

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