About Us

As a service to the membership, the Tennessee Park Rangers Association, promotes the highest standards and expertise in the profession; clearly communicates its actions; provides an avenue for open communications and timely feedback; always supports and recognizes significant events of its members; and acts on common concerns.

What We've Achieved


TPRA successfully achieves long overdue law enforcement raises:

Over the past 10 years TPRA has worked extremely hard in trying to achieve pay & benefit equity for TSP law enforcement officers.  Pay scales were not commensurate with the vast duties that officers within TSP are tasked with while keeping the public safe and our state parks operating when compared to other state law enforcement officers. These job responsibilities often include extreme risk to the officer’s welfare.  TSP officers may face incidents that could result in injury or death, chronic exposure to trauma such as drownings, serious emergency medical conditions, deaths, suicides, assaults in the line of duty, exposure to needle sticks or dangerous illegal drugs, dangerous technical  rescues, wildfires, and a variety of other high risk situations.  Commissioned officers within Tennessee State Parks are also subject to risks associated with personal civil or criminal lawsuits based on the nature of the job. From 2014-2017, Tennessee State Park commissioned officers had over 17,000 law enforcement interactions with the public in 56 state parks. In 2018, Tennessee State Park visitation hit new records of over 38 million visitors to the 225,000 acres of state -owned lands which is one of the largest state park public land portfolios in the eastern United States.  TPRA would like to thank TDEC & Commissioner Shari Meghreblian for the cooperation on this effort. TPRA will be continuing to work on equitable benefits for TSP officers in 2019-2020.


Fire Team


West TN - Ron Elder

Middle TN - Steve Ward

East - Eric Huey



Commissioned officers from Tennessee State Parks have formed an Honor Guard to provide formal flag ceremonies for uniformed officers and to represent the department. These flag presentation services are ready to honor commissioned employees and their families after their deaths but are also available to perform at sporting events and other special events. Members of the Tennessee State Parks Honor Guard meet monthly to drill, march, present the colors and practice appropriate protocol used when honoring a fallen uniformed officer, their immediate family member, or other department employee.

The Honor Guard first presented the colors at the opening of the 2006 Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association annual conference at Paris Landing State Park. They have since presented at several Tennessee Titans games, Nashville Predators games, Tennessee Vols and Lady Vols basketball games, as well as at State Parks Nights at minor league baseball games in Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Jackson. Many attendees at these events made a point to thank the Guard members and compliment their performance with some noting it was the best such presentation they had ever seen.

This special ranger corps has dedicated themselves to providing a full range of flag presentations. Having this capacity helps rangers serve one another and the department as needed. The group is made up of park rangers, park managers, and a director from different sites across the state, but when they meet to practice or perform, they are proud to be recognized together as the Tennessee State Parks Honor Guard.

SAR pic.jpg

Search & rescue

The Tennessee State Park’s Search and Rescue Team is made up of commissioned rangers from all over the state. The neon yellow uniform stands out during all exercises, training or action. Rangers have worked along side of TEMA, the T.B.I., and the FBI. This team specializes in Search and Rescue and has been put to the test in many of the roughest areas the state has to offer. The S.R.T. team is expected to remain in good physical shape and must be willing to travel long distances (most likely on foot). This team is lead by Chief Ranger Shane Petty.


Sort: Special Operations RESPONSE team

The Tennessee State Parks SORT team is made up entirely of commissioned State Park Rangers and Managers. Each ranger is required to be an EMT-IV or higher in medical certification. The SORT team is responsible for working events that require additional security and law enforcement presence. The SORT team has been used in the past for large events such as Darryl Worley’s Tennessee River Run and several of the larger trail rides at Natchez Trace State Park. The SORT team has trained with the FBI, TBI, and many local / county swat teams. Members of the team also train to work in all levels of the incident command system.

“A Park Ranger is a protector. You protect the land from the people, the people from the land, the people from each other, and the people from themselves. It’s what you are trained to do without even thinking, a reflexive and unconditional act. If you’re lucky, you get assigned to people who seem worth saving and land and waters whose situation is not hopeless. If not, you save them anyway. And maybe in time, saving them will make them worth it.”
— Kurt Caswell, To Everything on Earth: New Writing on Fate, Community, and Nature