Nathan Peters

Backcountry and Wilderness Ranger, US Forest Service

AAS (Natural Resource Conservation), AS (Science), BS (Forest Resource Management Recreation), MPS (Recreation Resource Management)


What attracted you to your chosen field?

I've always been drawn to the wonders of the natural world. I spend more time in the outdoors than anywhere, typically deep in some backcountry or remote wilderness setting.Throughout my travels I ve seen the impacts of recreational use on the very resources that draw people to visit these often fragile areas. I have realized the importance of managing these special places, which is why I have chosen a career in something for which I have a deep understanding, a strong backcountry and wilderness ethic, and most importantly, something that I have such a deep and underlying passion for. While I m still young and able, I wanted a position that would take me to such places so I could deal with the issues, firsthand. A Backcountry and Wilderness Ranger does just that.

What do you like best about the field?

The thing that I like the most about the field I ve chosen is the simple fact that I m outside each and everyday, breathing the crisp and fresh air and taking in all that the mountains have to offer. It doesn't get a whole lot better than that.

What are some personal challenges you have faced in your field?

The biggest personal challenge that I am faced with in my field(s) is money, or lack of it. Working as a seasonal employee you learn to live life frugally. It can be done.

What does the future hold for your chosen field?

With our countries ever-growing population and increased demand for outdoor recreation opportunities, I see a positive future for recreation managers, and I believe for most other natural science jobs as well. The people who recreate and utilize these wild places, and even those who don't, are realizing the importance of our natural areas and understand that it is necessary for human intervention and management to ensure that our wild places can sustain further use for the years to come.

What things can students do to prepare for a career in this field?

One of the best things that students can do to prepare for a career in this field would be to take public speaking courses. You may or may not have to give presentations in your chosen field, but regardless of that, if you can get to a point where public speaking is one of your strong points, the confidence that you gained throughout the process will take you to where you want to be. Being confident in yourself and your abilities, and being able to communicate that to others can take you far in life. Additionally, go to a school where you can get as much hands on experience as possible. Choose a college that specializes in the field in which you might want to pursue. Most importantly, I feel that students can prepare for a career in Resource Management, by spending as much time in nature as they can. Be inquisitive, identify the plants, animals, birds, and other wildlife you find, and absorb as much as you can. You can learn so much more from your time spent in the wilds than you can in any classroom, however, you do need the experiences from both to become successful in your chosen career.