New book tells story of ‘Ghost Riders’ songwriter, former Rainier ranger Stan Jones

The new book “Ghost Riders in the Sky” tells the story of former Mount Rainier National Park ranger and songwriter Stan Jones.

Mike Ward, a biological technician in Arizona’s Saguaro National Park, authored the book, which is available through Rio Nuevo Publishers.

Stan Jones wrote more than 200 songs and composed music for John Ford westerns. His songs were recorded by the likes of Johnny Cash, Gene Autry and Bing Crosby. His most famous song was “Ghost Riders in the Sky.”

Jones wrote his famous song while sitting on the porch of a ranger station in Death Valley National Park in 1947. He had previously worked at Rainier. Jones died in 1963 and was posthumously inducted into the Western Music Hall of Fame.

Ward learned of Jones while working at Death Valley and he has written and lectured about Jones since 2008. Ward has worked at Saguaro National Park since 1992.