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RANGER JOHN RIFFEY STAYED FAITHFUL TO THE LAND HE LOVED FOR 38 YEARS
Richard Phelan
July 29, 1985
The National Park Service moves its men around the country as briskly as some corporations do. In a 40-year career, a ranger may serve in eight or 10 national parks and monuments. But one ranger, the remarkable John Riffey, became a legend in the Park Service and among many naturalists and outdoorsmen by spending 38 years in one location.
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July 29, 1985

Ranger John Riffey Stayed Faithful To The Land He Loved For 38 Years

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And this was acknowledged. Richard Marks, the superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park, asked Meribeth if she thought it would be appropriate to bury John at Tuweep. She said yes. It took some tape-cutting—it's very much against regulations to bury people in national parks—but the tape was cut.

Nine planes landed on the dirt strip in the valley, and their passengers rode up to the graveside service in the battered vehicles that Riffey had used in his work. His grave lies a little way down the road from the ranger station, with a broad view of the Tuweep Valley and the Grand Canyon. The gravestone isn't granite, and it hasn't been carved or polished. It's a rock from the hillside near his house, chosen for its square, satisfactory shape and set upright in the ground.

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