dunes
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Family crisis

Park ranger Bill Reynolds looks over the dunes at Death Valley National Park. (Wally Skalij / LAT)
Park ranger Bill Reynolds lets Jack Rising try on his ranger hat. (Wally Skalij / LAT)
A ceiling needs repair. (Wally Skalij / LAT)
Last November, a survey by the Campaign to Protect America’s Lands advocacy group found 9 out of 10 park service employees who responded - 1,361 out of 17,035 - felt decisions affecting the national parks were based more on politics than science. Two-thirds believe the service is moving in the wrong direction. (Wally Skalij / LAT)
Raymond Redner walks up a hill on Dantes Peak after picking up trash in Death Valley National Park. (Wally Skalij)
Chris Gatman repairs and cleans a swimming pool at Death Valley National Park. (Wally Skalij / LAT)
Raymond Redner cleans a kiosk at Death Valley, which has lost 42 positions over the last several years, with 106 remaining. Because of slashed budgets, some parks must rely on volunteers to clean up campgrounds. (Wally Skalij / LAT)
Last summer, young law enforcement ranger Bill Reynolds found a parked car loaded with weapons and drug paraphernalia in a remote canyon. He saw two men on a trail nearby and called for backup, but there was none. A total of three rangers were on duty that day - leaving each of them a million-plus acres to patrol. ()
J.T. Reynolds, superintendent at Death Valley National Park, says of beleaguered staff, “That’s the key holding the parks together. These people will not quit in spite of all the fastballs being thrown at them.” (Béatrice de Géa / LAT)
Ranger Bob Hillis inspects a hillside stand of burned trees at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. October’s great Cedar wildfire spared only about 300 of the park’s nearly 25,000 acres of mature forest and mountain meadow east of San Diego. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
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