Behind the Story

Behind the Story - Dan Baird
Dad with Applejack (the horse), doing what he loves, the Ruby Mountains Ranger District, 1984

I am a forest ranger’s daughter. They say we should write what we know. I wanted to write something a bit different and I realized no one ever writes about forest rangers. So I proposed a series of stories to my editor based on my father’s life. My editor loved the idea. The first book is titled The Forest Ranger’s Promise, which became available in May 2011 and was a Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence finalist winner.

I didn’t go to work every day with Dad, but I sure was exposed to the life of a forest ranger. My mother served right beside my father. It isn’t easy being the wife of a forest ranger. There were no doctors, dentists, movie theaters or restaurants in most of the towns we lived in. My parents grew enormous gardens and Mom bottled everything they produced. She sewed all my school clothes and made every drill team, cheerleading uniform and prom dress I ever wore. She even made my wedding dress! And she passed that knowledge on to me.

I remember us kids riding with my parents to the camp grounds and picking up other people’s trash. I’ve watched my dad assemble his fire pack so it was ready at a moment’s notice, and then seen him return from a wildfire black with soot. I’ve witnessed his gentleness as he dodged flying hoofs while cutting away barbed wire when a deer or elk got strung up trying to jump a fence.

Truly my father is a great American hero. A good, kind man with a ferocity for fighting fire. He’s worked his entire life to help manage our national forest lands. Dad isn’t a preservationist, but rather a conservationist. He believes in using our resources, but managing them properly so they aren’t destroyed.

I’m lucky to have such good parents. They taught me love of God and country. They taught me good, old fashioned values. Every child deserves parents like mine.