GSMNP chief ranger retires after 35 years
After 35 years serving in the National Park Service, the Chief Ranger of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is retiring.
Steve Kloster has been involved in hundreds of rescues and guided the park through the Blizzard of 1993 and the Sevier County wildfires.
"I arrived in August of 1988 and have worked at most of the duty stations on the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park," said Kloster. "I never dreamed when I came here that I would stay here this long and retire as the chief ranger."
Thursday, everyone from state troopers to firefighters and other rangers gathered to celebrate Kloster during a retirement party in Gatlinburg.
"He’s leaving behind a legacy when it comes to being a ranger’s ranger," said GSMNP Superintendent Cassius Cash.
Over the past 35 years, Kloster has helped rescue hundreds of people from the park. In 1992, he received the Georgia Medal for Valor after he repelled from a helicopter to rescue the pilot of an F-15 Fighter Jet that crashed in the park.
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