In 1918, Claire Marie Hodges applied to be a ranger at Yosemite National Park. It was near the end of World War I and Claire saw that the park was struggling to find men to work as rangers. The story goes that she said to the park superintendent, “I know you will he laugh at me, but I want to be a ranger.” The superintendent replied that he beat her to it and that he was meaning to hire a woman to patrol. It was then that Claire became the first ever female National Park ranger at the age of 18.
Claire was born in Santa Cruz in 1890 and fell in love with the Yosemite valley when she was a young girl. She spent four days there with her family when she was 14 and later returned to be a school teacher in the valley. Visitors where surprised to see a woman ranger on the trail, dressed in a park service uniform complete with a Stetson hat and a split skirt. But she was just as capable as the men and completed the same tasks as them. Her time as a ranger did not last long but she held the distinction as the only female National Park ranger for a whopping 30 years. She was certainly ahead of her time and we still aren’t there yet. Only about a third of the current rangers are women and most are confined to the desk jobs. Claire is an inspiration to anyone of any gender to follow their passions and to go out and get that job you want even if no one like you has done it before.
More info about Claire Marie Hodges:
“Yosemite Clare” Hodges: The First Female Park Ranger in Campfire Chronicles
Claire Marie Hodges, First Female National Park Ranger in Adventure Journal