Chuck Young, whose eight years at Mount Rainier National Park saw some of the park’s most chaotic moments, will retire next week from his post as chief ranger.
Young started at Rainier in 2006, two days after the park’s worst flood on record. During his tenure at Rainier, he’s helped guide the staff through the shooting death of ranger Margaret Anderson in 2012 and the death of climbing ranger Nick Hall, also in 2012, and the subsequent National Park Service investigations of each incident.
Young turns 57 in May. Federal law enforcement officers are required to retire at 57, Young said.
“I decided it would be a good time to get out this fall and enable the park to hire another chief ranger before the summer season,” Young told The News Tribune.
Oct. 31 is scheduled to be Young’s last day. The park plans to hold a celebration in his honor Nov. 8.
“I’ve been doing this for 37 years,” Young told The News Tribune in September. “The years kind of add up. Sometimes we deal with some things that aren’t fun, not so nice, not good for you.”
Young started his NPS career in 1977 at Sequoia/Kings Canyon national parks in California. He met his wife, fellow Rainier ranger Fawn Bauer, while working as a protection ranger at Point Reyes National Seashore, also in California, in the 1980s.
They worked together at Glacier Bay in Alaska and then Mount Rainier. Young also worked 2010-11 as acting superintendent at Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park in Skagway, Alaska.
“I will most fondly remember the amazing, talented and dedicated individuals that I’ve worked with over the years,” Young said in a prepared statement posted Wednesday on the NPS website. “The profession I chose sometimes exposed me to perhaps some of the most negative sides of human behavior. I’ll leave the agency, however, with great memories of the many, many people in the Service, and partners outside the agency, who have inspired, mentored, and guided me throughout my career.”
Bauer will continue working as education program manager at Rainier. Their children, Forrest and Kiana, have also worked and volunteered at national parks.