Utah State Parks Blog

Four New Rangers Join the Team

May 4, 2020

New Rangers Matt Harris and Preston Wood are sworn in at the Utah State Parks headquarters.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation is pleased to welcome four new law enforcement rangers to the ranks.

Rangers Matt Harris, Zack Kierstead, Chris Nelson, and Preston Wood have successfully completed the required Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training courses. Upon graduation from POST, they were officially sworn in at the Utah State Parks headquarters in Salt Lake City.

Matt Harris will be stationed at Yuba State Park. He is a graduate of Northern Arizona University (Computer Information Systems) and has a certificate from the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy.

Zack Kierstead attended Western Carolina University and has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice/Psychology. He also has a Master’s degree in Criminology from the University of Southern Carolina. Zack is headed for the Duschene area, where he will be stationed at Fred Hayes State Park at Starvation.

Chris Nelson will make his way to Emery County, where he will be stationed at Millsite State Park. A graduate of Shippensburg University (Exercise Science), Chris also has a Master’s degree in Sports Business. 


Preston Wood studied Natural Resource Management at the University of Utah. He will be stationed in the northern part of the state at Willard Bay State Park.

Park rangers provide essential law enforcement duties at our state parks and patrol many of Utah’s waterways and trails. They also make sure visitors are educated about the potential dangers and risks of outdoor recreation. Rangers are a vital part of the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation. 

Utah State Parks is thrilled to welcome these new rangers to the family. We have faith that they will serve the Division and their respective parks with honor and dignity as they embark on this new adventure.

If you are interested in becoming a park ranger, find more information HERE.

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