from: Bill Halainen

Death of IRF Founding Member Rick Gale

It is with great sadness that we must report to you the death of Rick Gale, one of the original signers of the declaration establishing the
International Ranger Federation in 1992. Rick died of a heart attack last Friday at his home in Boise, Idaho, in the U.S.

Rick was president of the U.S. Association of National Park Rangers (ANPR) during the late 1980s and early 1990s and was a strong supporter of international collaboration, communication and cooperation among rangers. When a meeting was called to discuss the creation of an international organization during the SCRA annual general meeting at Loch Lomond in Scotland in 1991, Rick immediately arranged to have an ANPR representative attend and sent along a message of full support for the creation of such an
organization. Rick then flew to England in 1992 to participate in the signing ceremony at Peak District National Park.

Rick didn’t limit his support of IRF to a signature on a document, though. He worked to support IRF in its formative years in any way possible and was a key player in arranging for a critical loan from ANPR to IRF to help fund the first Congress in Zakopane, Poland.

Rick was a legend in the U.S. National Park Service, an outstanding leader known to all. He was a leader in establishing standards for rangers throughout the country, a visionary in the establishment of the emergency management system known as ICS (Incident Command System) that is now used by agencies across the United States and in other nations, one of the country’s most skilled and capable wildland fire managers, and much, much more. His extraordinary contributions were recognized at a ceremony at the
White House in 1994 when President Clinton personally conferred on him the first-ever career Harry Yount ranger award, named for the country’s first park ranger.

Rick Gale was the ultimate ranger – he lived and breathed the profession, and, as Americans say, “walked the walk.” He was indispensable in supporting the ranger profession, in advancing ANPR, and in creating IRF. He is irreplaceable and will be greatly missed.

A remembrance service will be held for him in Boise, Idaho, USA, on Friday.
Condolences can be sent to the family online at .

To read more about Rick’s extraordinary life and all the things he did to advance the ranger profession in the United States and around the world, go to