Police & Fire

Bryce Canyon park ranger dies while on-duty at annual astronomy festival

Prior to his death, Tom Lorig served as a park ranger at 14 national park sites

BRYCE CANYON, Utah — Park rangers at Bryce Canyon National Park are mourning the loss of one of their own after a ranger died while on-duty last week.

According to a press release from the National Park Service, Park ranger Tom Lorig, 78, was working with park visitors at around 11:30 p.m. on Friday, June 7 at Bryce Canyon’s annual Astronomy Festival when he fell while directing a visitor to a shuttle bus, striking his head on a large rock.

The visitor found Lorig unresponsive and alerted a nearby law enforcement ranger. Despite the efforts of park rangers, medically-trained bystanders and local EMS personnel, Lorig could not be revived.

Lorig worked for 40 years as a registered nurse in the Seattle, Washington area, and for over ten years as a park ranger in some capacity at 14 national park sites, including Carlsbad Caverns, Olympic, Yosemite, Zion, and Dinosaur National Monument, of which he was said to be especially fond.

“Tom Lorig served Bryce Canyon, the National Park Service, and the public as an interpretive park ranger, forging connections between the world and these special places that he loved,” said Jim Ireland, park superintendent. “As our community processes and grieves this terrible loss, we extend our deepest condolences to all of Ranger Lorig’s family and friends. We also want to express gratitude to the National Park Service and Garfield County emergency services staff who responded as well as to the bystanders who assisted NPS first responders.”

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