Park Ranger Suzanne Moody has lived at Chiricahua National Monument for 23 years, and she finds something new in the park to fall in love with each day.
“You would think after working here all these years I would have more than enough photos, but there’s always something slightly different,” Moody said in between snapping pictures, “This is a view I could never get tired of looking at.”
The summer after Moody finished her degree in social work, she found an ad in Backpacker magazine for the Student Conservation Association. The SCA handles internships for the Federal Land Management Agency, and with the National Parks Service being part of that agency, Moody got her foot in the door with the NPS.
“I thought that sounded like fun, so I applied and got picked up at Natural Bridges National Monument in Southeast Utah, where I staffed the visitor center. From there I went to work for Petrified Forest in Arizona, and then I moved back and forth between parks every six months for three years. I spent my winters in Death Valley, and my summers at Crater Lake or the Grand Canyon,” Moody said.
Now, Moody has been living at Chiricahua for 23 years as a park ranger-interpretation. Her day at work entails giving tours to the visitors, and educating them on the unique plant and animal species, such as the Chiricahua fox squirrel, which can only be found at this park. When those duties are over, she is greeting people with a smiling face in the visitor center.
If you plan to visit Chiricahua National Monument, Moody has some advice for each season of the year.
“If you want to avoid the crowds, come in the fall. If you don’t mind the crowds then come in the spring, and if you want a totally unique experience, come in the winter after it snows,” said Moody. “There’s something to be said about summer as well, to hear the thunder bouncing and echoing off the canyons, the creeks flowing, and sometimes waterfalls will form down the rocks after the rains.”