Thread for advice on getting in touch with rangers and staff at various park/offices

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Jan 24, 2021
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I’ve been having trouble getting ahold of a human to speak with me when I call phone numbers listed online for National parks and other types of lands (National Forest etc.) I have trouble both finding the right office to call (I usually want to be able to ask about dispersed camping and road conditions, but have experienced this when seeking information out about established campgrounds as well), and when I do find a number usually it’s just a robot with options that send me in a circle.

A lot of times I don’t call because I don’t understand how to figure out which ranger office covers my intended location (using the NF site and other gov websites can sometimes be a confounding experience for me).

If you have any advice to share, awesome.

Feel free to post public office numbers here? or maybe a public email address to contact if that is better, along with maybe the state and what the general area is? (To help users like me who search this site for keywords like Arizona and BLM :)

Also feel welcome to suggest tools/apps that show BLM and NF land? But nothing spammy. Free/cheap apps best of course.

Hoping this thread will prove helpful to the general community.

If it was just me asking for myself, I’d narrow my question down to Colorado, Arizona and Montana.

Also, using the arcgis map scares me because of the whole data/surveillance thing… their User Warning was ominous lol
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All parks have a dispatch phone number. When answered always first state “This is not an emergency.” Then tell dispatch the question you need answered or that you need to speak with a ranger. Give them your name and verify they have your correct phone number. Ask if one is on duty and available to return your call. In this time of short staffing and Covid it can be difficult to find answers. You might even try posting them here as well.
I use the AllStays app, and clicking on any campground/dispersed camping area of any kind includes a contact phone number where questions can be answered and clarification received.

I can’t say I have never had problems reaching a human, but it has been rare.
Be sure you are calling during regular business hours. They do not staff the office during weekends or on holidays. Do not call at lunchtime as there might only be one person there and they need to take breaks. Do leave a message if that is an option.

Some offices are so small there is only one ranger and that person might be out on patrol the majority of the time so leaving a message is the best option. you are most likely to catch someone at the office at the start or end of a shift.

The NFS districts have Facebook pages. Send them a message that way if you can't reach them.

I was able a couple of years ago, during the COVID shut down time, to get a response using email. Not a super speedy response but they did reply in about 2 business days. The email addresses are on the websites.

If it is an emergency then you call standard emergency numbers. Remember the forest rangers handle forest related isues. The regular law enforcement for that county handles the criminal actions for person against person.

The 911 operators will figure out and notify the appropriate agencies during actual emergency resonse situations, medical, fire, someone in the act threatening your safety, you did a person in a crisis, etc.
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