Recruitment drive more than doubles Innes National Park ranger crew

Innes National Park has welcomed three new rangers to its team as part of an election commitment to put more people on the ground in South Australian parks.

The Yorke Peninsula-based rangers are part of a group of 33 appointed to help manage the state’s parks, support visitor experiences and care for wildlife. 

The extra rangers follow significant investment in the 2019-20 State Budget for national park infrastructure, with $11.8 million invested to breathe new life into national parks.

Innes National Park Senior Ranger Mark Davison said the expanded team of five rangers was a welcome boost for the management of the iconic park and surrounding parks of Yorke Peninsula.

“This increase to the team means we can now increase our weekend Ranger presence across our parks, which is important for the safety and education of visitors. We also look forward to continuing to work in future with our Volunteer Rangers who will provide great support, especially during peak periods,” said Mr Davison.

“The new rangers, who come with a wealth of experience and expertise, will also support our work monitoring the condition and health of the park’s biodiversity. They’re already assisting with vertebrate pest control, weed management and biodiversity surveys.”

The new rangers include Dion Bromley, Chloe McSkimming and Rick Muller, who joined the Innes National Park crew between September and April.

A Narungga man, Mr Bromley’s appointment is part of the Narungga Buthera Agreement, which aims to assist Narungga People secure cultural, social and economic wellbeing.

A former police officer, Mr Bromley was born in Maitland and spent much of his childhood at Point Pearce. He describes the ranger position as hitting the jackpot. “Returning here is a huge bonus for me in terms of my heritage and culture,” said Mr Bromley. “It’s an opportunity to help manage the land and learn a lot more about Country.”

He joins fellow ranger and Narungga man Aaron Smith, who has worked at Innes National Park for more than five years.

Narungga Nation Aboriginal Corporation Chief Executive Officer Klynton Wanganeen said the Narungga staff members would ensure that all visitors and parks staff had access to first-hand knowledge of Narungga history and culture directly from Narungga people. 

“Aaron and Dion will complement each other and it means there will always be a Narungga ranger on staff to bring a cultural perspective to all aspects of the management of Innes National Park,” he said.

Dr. McSkimming has returned home to South Australia after working as a marine ranger for Parks Victoria at Wilsons Promontory National Park. A ranger position at Innes National Park is a perfect fit for Dr McSkimming, who has a PhD in marine biology. “I love marine environments, so I’m lucky to be placed on Yorke Peninsula,” she said.

It is the first ranger position for Mr. Muller, who is also an SA Ambulance Service volunteer and completed a season with the fire crew at Wirrabara before moving into the ranger role at Innes National Park.

The Yorke and Mid North region’s new recruits take the total number of rangers employed across South Australia to 133, an increase of 40 park ranger positions since early 2018.

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