After 45 seasons at Glacier National Park, plus a few years working at other sites of the National Park Service, Fred Reese retired this fall.
From 1990 – 2010 Reese worked as an elementary special education teacher for the Columbia Falls School District during the school year. The combination of working for the school district and the park was ideal for Reese, allowing for two careers.
Reese was born in Sulphur, Oklahoma. Chickasaw National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service, is located nearby and Reese believes that perhaps his connection to national parks was created when he was very young. Reese traveled to Montana for the first time when he was about seven years old. He would join his grandfather and uncles on annual fishing trips, including visits to Glacier National Park. Reese said that he thought that someday he would travel back to Montana and perhaps work at the park.
He served his country with the U.S. Army, and in 1966 he began his career with Glacier National Park and the National Park Service. Over the years Reese worked as a campground ranger, backcountry ranger, visitor-use assistant, fee collector and entrance station supervisor. Since 1990 he has been a familiar and friendly face at the West Glacier Entrance Station.
Reese says the favorite part of job was the people he worked with and the visitors he met, and being on the many trails in the park. He really enjoyed being a backcountry ranger. His knowledge of the backcountry and the trail system is extensive, and greatly served the visitor and other employees over his tenure at the park. When asked what he won’t miss about his job, he smiled and said, “long lines at the entrance station.”
Reese was recently recognized for his many years of contributions to Glacier National Park. He lives in Columbia Falls with his wife and son. He hopes that his health sustains him and he is able to enjoy some of the backcountry trails in his retirement.
Hiking in Glacier National Park