Community News

News Release: Grand Canyon National Park Ranger Della Yurcik Receives the 2022 Harry Yount Award

August 25, 2022

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Della Yurcik, Backcountry Park Ranger at Grand Canyon National Park, has been selected to receive the 2022 National Park Service (NPS) Harry Yount Award for excellence in the field of rangering. The Harry Yount Award annually honors a NPS Ranger who consistently excels in the performance of duties that serve park visitors and protect the natural, historical and cultural resources of parks. The award is named after the nation's first park ranger and is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a park ranger today.

Since 2004, Ranger Yurcik has served as a backcountry law enforcement officer and an Advanced Life Support provider, flight medic, short-haul and technical rescuer. She serves regularly at Phantom Ranch, one of the most remote, high traffic ranger stations in the NPS, accessible only via a 7-mile hike through steep, rugged desert terrain, a 5-7 day Colorado River trip, or helicopter. She has serves on high profile search and rescue missions, complex law enforcement cases, and provides life-saving medical care in the remote backcountry of Grand Canyon.

According to the award nomination submitted by Grand Canyon National Park's Canyon District Ranger, Lisa Hendy, Yurcik has earned it. "Her ability to manage people with a balance of firmness and kindness is legendary. The Canyon District—known for an extraordinary range of call variety, in isolated areas and in some of the most extreme environments in North America, has provided the backdrop for this exceptional ranger to shine, provide medical care, provide singular customer service to visitors and to train the next generation of rangers.”

Yurcik, known for her good humor and encouragement said, “I think it’s important for people to acknowledge the mental stress and toll that this job can take. It’s important to take care of yourself, along with your families, and the visitors. There’s going to be another search, another rescue, another emergency waiting tomorrow—years from now our visitors and coworkers are going to remember how we made them feel, not the number of emergencies we responded to.”

“We are proud and honored that Della was selected as the recipient of the 2022 Harry Yount Award,” said Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Ed Keable. “She is one of the most dedicated and skilled rangers in the National Park Service and in addition to being an exemplary ranger, Della also serves as a mentor to other rangers throughout the park.”

More information on the Harry Yount Award is available at the National Park Service’s website: Harry Yount National Park Ranger Award - NPS Celebrates! (U.S. National Park Service)