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Ask a Ranger

A view from Pilot Mountain State Park

Ask a Ranger

Ranger Knowledge

State park rangers always get questions, and with their training in the outdoors and managing natural resources, they usually have the answers or can find them right away. Here, our rangers answer some of the questions they’re frequently asked and take on topics that can expand your knowledge of the natural world.


Ask a Ranger Podcast

Ranger Crystal and Ranger Jess host a monthly podcast that answer a variety of questions about North Carolina State Parks.

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To listen to the episodes, visit our BuzzSprout page or click each headline below.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast with Apple iTunes. | Click here to subscribe to the podcast with RSS feed.

Ask a Ranger: SSSSSSnakes Alive!

In this episode, we chat with the affable Ranger Kevin about his favorite animal – SNAKES! Ranger Kevin delves into the wonderful world of snakes and helps demystify some of the myths and fears that sometimes surround these wonderful creatures.


Ask a Ranger: Howling Coyotes

Listen in as Rangers Crystal, Jess and Kevin sit around a campfire and demystify the often misunderstood coyote.


Ask a Ranger: Wall Climbing Eels!

In this episode Ranger Crystal and Ranger Jess delve into the wonderful and mysterious world of the American eel. Listen in as Ranger Crystal and Ranger Jess explore the research history, ecology, and behaviors of this awesome species of fish!


Ask a Ranger: Archaeology Dig at Lumber River

Ranger Jess learns the difference between archaeology and paleontology with Assistant State Archaeologist Mary Beth Fitts and helps with an archaeology survey area down at Lumber River State Park.


Ask a Ranger: Yates Mill Pond

Many of our North Carolina state parks were affected by gristmills and millponds that were created in and around our North Carolina communities. We do not have any working gristmills in North Carolina state parks, so Ranger Jess and Ranger Crystal traveled to a Wake County park in Raleigh, Yates Mill Pond, to talk all things millpond and gristmill. From how a gristmill works and the community aspects of a gristmill and millpond, to the nature that is in and around a millpond — Ranger Rebeccah Cope educates on it all!


Ask a Ranger: Christmas in JULY!

Ever wondered what to do with your tree after the holidays? The families around Fort Macon have a time-honored tradition of gifting their tree to the dunes around the fort. Join us as we discuss this program with Park Superintendent Randy Newman.


Ask a Ranger: Solar Energy

In this episode, Ranger Nick discusses renewable energy and, in particular, the power of solar energy.

Ask a Ranger: Maggie the Dolphin

Ranger Renee Evans talks about her discovery of a dolphin that washed up on the shores of Bear Island and the steps her and others are taking to use the dolphin's skeleton as an educational tool for Hammocks Beach State Park.

Ask a Ranger: Wave the Loggerhead's 50th Birthday Bash

Take a road trip with Ranger Crystal and Ranger Jess as they bring Terrance the Turtle and Snooty the Snapper down to the 50th birthday party for Wave the Loggerhead. Meet a few different types of species of turtle native to North Carolina and laugh at the antics of Snooty and her cousin Shirley.

Ask a Ranger: Water Safety

Our guest for this episode of the Ask a Ranger Podcast is the stupendous Ranger Jake from Hammocks Beach State Park. In this episode, we cover the basics of what you need to have a safe and fantastic trip on your next canoe, kayak or paddleboard excursion.

Ask a Ranger: Cannons

In this episode of Ask a Ranger, Ranger Paul Terry lets us in on the secret to the cannons at Fort Macon — teamwork! Learn all about the various cannons at Fort Macon State Park and how the replicas went from an idea to a reality.

Ask a Ranger: Here Fishy, Fishy

During this episode, we discuss the North Carolina State Parks education theme for 2018 — the year of the FISH!!! We talk with Ranger Brian Swanson about fish and fun crafts you can do with — you guessed it — FISH! Who knew there were crafts you can do with actual fish?

Ask a Ranger: Camping

The peace of the woods, the crackle of the campfire, trying different s'mores recipes — who amongst us doesn't love camping? From its past as a necessary part of exploration to its present status as an excursion and break from our daily lives, camping is something that is held near and dear by most people who do it. Whether you enjoy camping in a van or living out of a backpack for a week, camping is personal and treasured by us all. In this podcast, we discuss everything from wearing socks while sleeping to a perfect camping environment. Join Rangers Jess and Crystal and guest Ranger Brian as we discuss the finer side of camping and maybe even share a couple of our favorite camping hacks to make your experience even better.

Ask a Ranger: Winter Wonderland

Ranger Crystal is out in the winter bluster interviewing a few of our animal friends to find out how they survive a North Carolina winter.

Ask a Ranger: NC State Parks Year of the Spider 2017

In this episode, we wrap the year up talking with our Piedmont Region Education Specialist Brian Bockhahn about the North Carolina State Parks theme for 2017 — spiders!!! Brian helps us dispel spider myths, expands our minds about the wonderful world of spiders and helps us develop an even greater curiosity about these wonderful arachnids!!

Ask a Ranger: Night Hike... Wait! What was THAT sound?!

Ranger Jess is a little nervous hiking at night, but NEVER FEAR, Ranger Crystal is here! Ranger Crystal is taking Ranger Jess and you on a night hike to demystify the sounds and the animals that make them. Come, join us and take a virtual night hike!

Ask a Ranger: Campfire-Ready Ghost Stories!

In this episode of Ask a Ranger Podcast, join Ranger Crystal and Ranger Jess as they recount personal ghost stories and tell spooky North Carolina ghost stories. This is perfect for your camping trip to a North Carolina State Park — ready to be played or retold around your campfires.

Ask a Ranger: What Does a Park Ranger Do?

In this episode of Ask a Ranger, we will delve into all the things a North Carolina Park Ranger does. Our guest is Superintendent Joe Shimel from New River State Park in Laurel Springs, N.C.