12 / 2
      6 / -5
      4 / -7

      What do park rangers do in the winter?

      As the Fall tourism season winds down, our facebook fans want to know: what do national and state park rangers do in the wintertime?

      While most parks are busiest in July and August, many stay pretty active during the winter when snowmobilers and cross country skiers come in.

      A good portion of ranger jobs are seasonal, but there are also permanent employees; ones that are especially important should an emergency occur.

      It may be pretty quiet at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in November, but that doesn't mean Acting Chief Ranger Bill Smiths's to-do list is short. He and his team are gearing up for the winter tourist season.

      Protection Rangers at Pictured Rocks spend 60 to 70 percent of their time doing various tasks, like putting up snow protection fences to deter illegal snowmobiling activity.

      They're also in charge of the grooming and upkeep of 22 miles of cross country ski trail, and paroling the area.

      "We're not just sitting around in the winter months, we're staying very busy," says Superintendent Jim Northup.

      They aren't alone. Facebook fans Vi Bouchard writes: "My brother works for Hartwick Pines State Park, he works year-round with only a couple weeks off."

      In the harsh winter conditions, emergencies can occur.

      "We do respond to more serious accidents," said Smith. "Some falatalities or serious injuries. Being proficient on the snowmobile, cross country skis, or snowshoes is important."

      The story is much the same for Michigan state parks, if the location stays open in the winter.

      Sixty percent of state ranger jobs are seasonal, during the winter those people may be transported to another location, seek another job or receive unemployment funds.

      Places like Van Riper State Park and Porcupine Mountains continue to be staffed 365 days of the year. The Parks and Recreation Department says for now, that's all their budget can accommodate.

      "The demands are great on us, but we manage to get things done," says Parks and Recreation of the Western U.P. Supervisor Tom Paquin.

      There are also several park rangers that specialize in education, biology or even serve as historians. Many of those employees will perform their duties as usual during the winter season.