A tragic incident has occurred at Bryce Canyon National Park, resulting in the death of a dedicated park ranger. Ranger Tom Lorig sustained fatal injuries after tripping and falling while on duty. The accident happened at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Friday, June 7, during Bryce Canyon’s annual Astronomy Festival. Ranger Lorig was assisting a visitor with directions to a shuttle bus when he fell and struck his head on a large rock. The visitor who witnessed the fall immediately alerted a nearby law enforcement ranger.

Despite the swift response and collaborative efforts of national park rangers, medically-trained bystanders, and local EMS personnel, Ranger Lorig could not be revived. He passed away at the age of 78. “Tom Lorig served Bryce Canyon, the National Park Service, and the public as an interpretive park ranger, forging connections between the world and these special places that he loved,” stated Park Superintendent Jim Ireland. “As our community processes and grieves this terrible loss, we extend our deepest condolences to all of Ranger Lorig’s family and friends. We also want to express gratitude to the National Park Service and Garfield County emergency services staff who responded, as well as to the bystanders who assisted NPS first responders.”

Ranger Lorig had a long and distinguished career, marked by over 40 years of service as a Registered Nurse in the Seattle, Washington area, and more than a decade as a permanent, seasonal, and volunteer park ranger. His journey with the National Park Service began in June 1968 at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Over the decades, Ranger Lorig served at 14 national park sites, including Badlands, Bryce Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, El Malpais, Florissant Fossil Beds, Glen Canyon, Klondike Gold Rush, Mount Rainier, New River Gorge, Olympic, Saguaro, Yosemite, Zion, and Dinosaur National Monument, which held a special place in his heart.

The park community remembers Ranger Tom Lorig as a passionate and committed individual who dedicated his life to the protection and interpretation of America’s natural wonders. His loss is deeply felt by colleagues, visitors, and the many lives he touched through his work.

 

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