Lisa's Open Road
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Crook County, WY
Public Television: Season Two
Devil's Tower National Monument
making a difference, outdoors, permanent job, rejection, tour guide, Yellowstone National Park
From an early age, Lisa Eckert knew she wanted to leave her home state to work in the great outdoors. Having heard stories of her friends, backpacking trips in Yellowstone, Lisa was determined to find some kind of career with the National Park Service. She moved to Wyoming looking for seasonal work. Lisa started out at the bottom, working with the concessions at Yellowstone. Over the years, she worked a variety of seasonal jobs while applying for more permanent positions. But the competition was fierce, and after 8 years of serving as a seasonal ranger--and living out of her Honda Civic--Lisa Eckert still didn't have a permanent job. Facing an "expectation of age", Lisa struggled with being in her thirties without a permanent job; but her love of nature kept her going: "I was thinking I could make a difference and wanting to work for an agency whose mission I really believed in." Today, the years of uncertainty have paid off for Lisa Eckert, as she's now the superintendent of Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming. And though it took her years of rough living to earn it, she's grateful to have found her passion.