Hatband & Straps
Law Enforcement Insignia
Tie Ornaments & Pins
of the NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
There is a forest reserve ranger badge in a private
collection that is stamped "Department of the Interior." This
indicates its use before the 1905 separation, for Gifford Pinchot, chief
of Agriculture's new Bureau of Forestry, immediately ordered new badges
for his rangers when he obtained the forest reserves. A photograph in
the Forest Service photo collection depicts William Watts Hooper wearing
what appears to be this badge.
Forest Reserve Ranger Badge,
1898-1906. This badge was probably issued to the rangers
working in the national parks as well as those in the national forests,
since both were known as Forest Rangers. Courtesy of Rick
The badge in the private collection was made by the
John Robbins Manufacturing Company of Attleboro, Massachusetts. It is
2-inches in diameter, convex in shape and made of German or
nickel-silver. It has US in inch-high letters in the center with FOREST
RESERVE RANGER around it in 3/16-inch letters. DEPARTMENT OF THE
INTERIOR is superimposed over the US in 1/8-inch letters. As was common
practice with badges at the time, all the letters are stamped into the
metal instead of being raised. The park rangers may have worn this badge
or one stamped "park ranger" rather than "forest reserve ranger." If
this was the case, though, it seems logical that they would have been
known as park rangers instead of forest rangers.
William Watts Hooper,
c.1900. Hooper was appointed forester in the Kenosha Range
country sometime after 1887 and remained with the Forest Service in the
1905 separation. He is shown wearing the 1898 Forest Reserve Ranger
badge. Forest Service/477445
Frank Liebig, Flathead Forest
Reserve, c.1902. Liebig remained with the Forest Service when
it was removed from the Department of the Interior in 1905. He is
wearing his "shiny silver badge" that stated DEPARTMENT OF THE
INTERIOR/RANGER. There also appears to be a small badge under the large
This is probably the badge alluded to by Frank F.
Liebig in an article he wrote in 1944 for the Forest Service. concerning
his recollections as a ranger on the Flathead Forest Reserve in 1902.
"The Supervisor gave me a notebook or two and a nice shiny silver
badge," he recalled. "It said on it, 'Department of the Interior,
Ranger.'"  No example of a "Department of
the Interior/Ranger" badge from this era is known, so Liebig's
recollection may have been faulty. The US and FOREST RESERVE are much
larger than the DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR and it seems likely that he
would have remembered them if indeed, this was the style of badge issued
to him. Yet such a badge may have been used before 1905 by the national
parks while they and the forest reserves were both under Interior.
"National park service" then denoted Interior's park function, not the
future bureau. It's interesting to note that in an image of him taken
around this time he also has what appears to be a second small badge
under his ranger badge.
The origin of the bottom shield badge in the Sequoia
photographs is unknown. These are most likely Deputy Marshal badges
issued by some local jurisdiction to give the ranger added authority
when arresting malefactors. To complicate matters further, the shield
badge on Charlie Blossom is different from that of the other three
rangers, but it has the most contrast of the group.
There is another interesting badge with a "C" scroll
strap border, in a private collection. It contains the words SEQUOIA
NAT'L PARK in two lines in the center, FOREST RANGER in a curved bar at
the top and CALIFORNIA at the bottom. Since men working in the parks
were considered "Park Rangers" after 1905. this badge most likely
pre-dates that period. But without documentary or pictorial evidence to
substantiate its use in the park, it has been relegated to the park
associated badges section.