Cole Van Beusekom

Park Ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in North Pole, Alaska

(Specialized in Parks & Protected Area Management)

Graduation Year: 

When did you start your current position?

I started October 6th, 2013, but worked part-time for the Corps of Engineers since Spring 2012.

Please describe your current position.

I enforce the rules and regulations of the Chena River Recreation Area, assist recreational visitors, consult with ranger staff to expand and evaluate safety and security programs. I also go on backcountry patrols either on foot, snow machine or atv to make sure that the recreation area maintains a safe atmosphere.

What did you learn while at the U of MN that has been most helpful to you in your career?

The most helpful thing that I learned was how forested ecosystems, wildlife and recreational lands play an important role in the publics’ involvement for managing these locations.

What is the biggest misconception about this occupation or field?

The biggest misconception of this field is that it is only meant for people who live for the outdoors. While this could be beneficial, this is not a necessity for this occupation. If you are someone who likes working with people this could be the right fit for you.

What surprised you the most?

The thing that surprised me the most is the lack of understanding on how to obtain knowledge in order to work this job.

What advice do you have for future students/graduates?

Some advice that I have for future students/graduates is to pay attention in class and be sure to actively participate in class discussions--especially if they relate to your future career. Also, utilize professor’s office hours for help; they are more than willing to help out and the connections you develop will help you in the future.

What is your favorite memory from your time as a student?

My favorite memory as a student are the conservations that occur in the “Forestry Student's” Lounge area between Green and Skok hall

Describe one of the most interesting, fun, or impactful projects you have been involved with at your job.

One of most fun aspects of my job is going out on backcountry patrols every day. When I am out either on a four-wheeler or snowmobile, I constantly run into moose, grizzly and black bears, grouse, ptarmigan, bald eagles and the occasional wolf. I enjoy this part of my job because it gets me out of the office each and every day on the job to enjoy the Alaskan Wilderness. I know that I'm making a difference not only by protecting the environment, but also by ensuring the public's safety while they're out enjoying recreational activities and the amazing beauty of the outdoors.

Cole's Photo