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America’s oldest national park ranger retired on their 100th birthday

America’s oldest national park ranger retired on their 100th birthday

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George Soskin became famous for his historical tours of Rosie the Riveter National Historical Park.

The first park ranger to reach 100 years was Betty Reid Soskin last week.

” Betty has made a profound impact on the National Park Service and the way we carry out our mission,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams in a press release. “Her efforts remind us that we must seek out and give space for all perspectives so that we can move forward.”

Soskin retired on March 31, which marked 16 years with the National Park Service. She spent the day before working with the staff at the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park and visiting friends, who will miss her presence in their park.

America's oldest national park ranger

Soskin began working with the San Francisco-area park as a consultant in 2000. At the time, she was the only person of color in planning meetings and voiced her complicated relationship with Rosie the Riveter, who had come to symbolize the experience of danger and masculinity for many women. Soskin’s work uncovered some of the untold stories of African Americans during WWII. She subsequently got a job at the park and continued her research there.

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The central park ranger has been writing e-mail letters to those that are interested in where the historic train ran through and what happened there. These educational poems have been shared on social media and posted on signs around the park.

NPS employee Soskin quickly became famous by crafting personal anecdotes about these memorable tours. As a result, many of her tours have been selling out weeks or even months in advance!

Before working in the parks, Soskin also worked in politics & activism. She has been an educator, blogger, and in many other meaningful roles that impacted people’s lives.

Soskin said that she has had an “exciting” and “meaningful” time as part of a committee that helped to shape the new national park.

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