CSPRA Honorary California State Park Ranger - 1981
Forty-nine years ago, in 1932, he was "busting broncos" in Fort Smith, Arkansas, using the same saddle he uses today in parks.
1981 marks the beginning of Vern Whitaker's 11th year contributing to the advancement of the State Park concept.
He has worked every summer since 1970 with Montane Area's equestrian riding and camping program. In 1976, Vern was responsible for adding a horse camp at Anza Borrego. Through his efforts the State received two horses End 30 corrals, to permanently establish this popular desert horse camp.
Vern sets up housekeeping in his pickup camper each summer at Montane and each winter at Borrego. He serves as camp host, greeting new arrivals. A monthly average of 240 volunteer hours are devoted to checking miles of trail, advising visitors of rules, guiding groups on day trips and keeping the camp running smoothly.
Sharing his special background and ability, Vern trains new Rangers in horsemanship. He trains the State's stable of horses in the skills of trail riding and backcountry patrol. Rangers who know Vern, respect his ability with both horses and horse-loving visitors, especially children. To them, Vern is a living legend. Supervising Ranger Jeff Price tells of sampling Vern’s “cowboy coffee” on visits to the Coyote Canyon horse camp, a pot of boiling water and adding ½ cup of coffee grounds - no filter!
Vern Whitaker, at age 69, has devoted 11 years of his life to the State Park concept. He has contributed in an extraordinary manner to the advancement of the Ranger profession.
This year we recognize his service with the highest honor CSPRA bestows - Honorary Ranger!