Long-Time Park Ranger May Have To Hang Up Hat - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Long-Time Park Ranger May Have To Hang Up Hat

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KINTLA LAKE -

At 93 years old, one Glacier National Park ranger is still going above and beyond the call of duty.

After working in the park since 1962, Lyle Ruterbories has a tough decision to make.

"I wouldn't retire if it wasn't for my knee," said Ruterbories.

Ruterbories, a farmer from Nebraska, first came to the park with his wife, who also took him around the world to 93 countries, until she passed eight years ago.

"She called this her 'paradise on earth' and I came up the first year after she passed away and found out that I could handle it by myself, so I've come every year since," said Ruterbories.

For more than two decades, Ruterbories has traveled the dirt road, a 15-mile stretch connecting Polebridge and Kintla Lake, multiple times a week during his months on duty. He endures bumpy rocks, potholes, and hairpin turns.

"We're happy here," said Ruterbories, "My wife was happy here and I'm still carrying on."

In 22 seasons, he has resurrected the flagpole, constructed a fence around his cabin, originally built in 1903, and managed an increasingly popular campground.

"There are some of the family that don't like him coming up here all the time because of his age, but why shouldn't he do what he wants to do? This is what he loves," said his daughter Virginia Hoffman-Ruterbories.

"We do the best we can," said Ruterbories, "It's their park, we're just taking care of it for them."

Hoffman-Ruterbories says as long as her father is here, she will continue making the trip from Florida to Kintla Lake. As for this year, the ranger's last paid day is September 21, but Ruterbories hopes to stay on an additional two weeks as a volunteer, as he is known to do.

At the end of each season, including this year, Ruterbories returns to his home to Denver.

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