Backcountry Ranger

  • Tony Prendergast makes his horses work for their oats.

    JT Thomas
  • Prendergast, a seasonal ranger for western Colorado's Gunnison National Forest, has spent much of the past six summers with his saddle-clad sidekicks - Calypso, Molly and Ruby - hauling about 8,000 lbs. of trash out of the remote West Elk Wilderness Area.

    JT Thomas
  • The old camp stoves, shredded tarpaulins, abandoned food caches and even an antiquated toilet are mostly the erlics of historic hunting camps.

    JT Thomas
  • As a lifelong hunter, rancher and Outward Bound environmental educator, Prendergast makes for a rare blend. he spends the hunting seasons visiting hunting camps and teaching about 'leave no trace' practices, such as hitching horses to a 'high-line' strung between two trees, a technique that keeps the animals from trampling roots and strangling tree trunks.

    JT Thomas
  • 'Each year I am out here, I see some changes among hunters and outfitters,' he says. '[The traditional hunter community isn't usually steeped in a wilderness ethic. But they are starting to get it - some of them anyway. And that makes the job worth it.'

    JT Thomas
 

Backcountry Ranger
A Photo Essay (click through photos on slider above).

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