14686 John P. Wishart

Profile Updated: June 13, 2022
14686 John P. Wishart
Residing In: Denver, CO USA
Yes! Attending Reunion
Comments:

Hey All You Fellow Former Classmates!

Since I have chosen a profession that has me in full-on busy mode at a time of year when many others are taking vacations, I will have to excuse myself from this and many future reunions.

Let’s see… where have I been? After growing tired of not making much money for myself at Home Depot, despite personally pulling in $1 million+ per year for them, I decided if I wasn’t going to make money, I might as well not make money doing something I enjoyed. Other than doing time at HD, and living near the Statue of Liberty in a neighborhood protected by a gang (that’s an interesting experience), and working at a part of Mt. Rainier where we couldn’t even see the mountain, I’ve spent the last 5 years playing seasonal ping-pong between Grand Canyon National Park and the non-profit Grand Canyon Conservancy. Apparently, this wasn’t an original idea since it appears Rudy Sioson worked at the Canyon when it wasn’t quite as deep!

In my current ranger position, I spend my work life convincing approximately 6.5 million people per year not to die hiking into the Canyon AND introducing them to what, other than the amazing scenery, is so important about preserving this place for future generations. Honestly, much of the time it feels as if I’m protecting the resource from the very people I’m protecting it for! But such is the nature of working for a public land management agency.

Typical days involve helping with trip planning, giving programs about 1.8 billion years of geological processes, 14,000 years of Native American presence (currently 11 associated tribes in the area), night sky exploration (we’re an International Dark Sky Park!), diversity of ecosystems, ever-increasing water limitations and water policy changes in the SW United States, wildlife diversity and safety (like don’t pet or try to put your kids on the elk—not kidding), leading history/botany/geology hikes, etc. In the Spring of 2020, there was a brief period of time that the park was closed and I was “stuck” here. As much as the pandemic has had major negative impacts, it was absolutely surreal experiencing this massive resource almost entirely devoid of people. Wildlife briefly reclaimed territory.

My free time is spent in a variety of pursuits. I had been driving my 1946 Chevy pickup throughout the West as my only vehicle for the past 6 years, but have recently resurrected a 1996 Firebird because it gets twice the fuel mileage. Thanks, Mr. Howard, for the skills! Sand volleyball is a big deal on the South Rim and an opportunity for socializing in this remote little village. I hike whenever I can, but strategizing ventures into the Canyon takes some planning as this place is upside down—the hard part is at the end! Plus this week it’s going to be 114° at the bottom, so… I’m learning guitar for the 5th or 6th time in my life, which means I’m decades behind Will Gerstein. Make that lifetimes behind—I assure you, it is NOT like riding a bike.

Well, I’m sure that is more than you wanted to read. I think about my high school friends often. Though I’ve made friends everywhere as I’ve bounced around the country, you were the last long-term friends I’ve had. I apologize that I been one poor correspondent, and I been too, too hard to find, but it doesn’t mean you ain’t been on my mind. If anyone’s road trips to or from the reunion (or otherwise) brings you near the Grand Canyon, look me up so I can help you not die! Or, alternatively, help you get the most out of your visit. john_wishart@yahoo.com or john_wishart@nps.gov

Have an amazing time in Ames! Cheers!

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Jun 13, 2022 at 1:41 AM