Pieces of the Past
Artifacts, Documents, and Primary Sources
from Letchworth Park History

"Rangers Patrol Letchworth State Park"

The following newspaper article appeared in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, January 7, 1962. The text of the article is printed in its entirety below the clipping. For more information on this topic, see our Glimpse on the development of the Park Police in Letchworth Park.

  "By land, air and sea (river) three Park Rangers could patrol sprawling Letchworth State Park's 15, 374 acres ­ if necessary.
By coincidence the trio of Letchworth Rangers ­ Donald Gibson, Burdette Thompson and Edward Szymanski- are veterans of Army, Navy and Air Force service, respectively.
And despite near-zero conditions this winter, they continue to patrol the vast acreage by cars equipped with two­way radio equipment tied into the Livingston County policy network.
Why do they have to work through the winter?
'Letchworth stays open all year' explains Gibson, senior member of the patrol. 'We check for game law violations, assist with maintenance work, arrest speeders and other errant drivers when necessary, keep a watch for forest fires and, in general, enforce park regulations. We also take our vacations in the winter; summer time is too busy for time off.'
Gibson, a stocky, placid looking man, lives in the park's north end with his wife and three children. Karen 15, and Wendy, 12, attend school in Mt. Morris, but Lawrence, nicknamed 'Bud' is no where near the kindergarten state yet. He's 3.
Thompson, who comes from Nunda, lives in the park's south end with his wife and two children. Szymanski, father of three, lives in Perry.
The Rangers work a 40 hour week and alternate eight-hour tours is season. Patrolling is intermittent, however, through the winter.
One patrol car was assigned by the state in 1949 and a second was added two years ago. They patrol 45 miles of park roads in the precipitous, winding, historic area where tourist throng by increasing thousands and Mary Jemison sleeps in her Indian grave.
'One things we've pretty well batted down is vandalism.' Ranger Gibson says. 'Up to several years ago, there were a lot vandals around, but now that sort of thing's practically nil. We try to keep a tidy house at Letchworth."

We thank the Gibson family for sharing this clipping with us.

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