On the shoulders of Giants.

Published on:

It was with great sadness that EUROPARC learned of the death of Gordon Miller, founding father of the International Ranger Federation and Alfred Toepfer Medal winner.

Gordon had a long career as a Ranger in the Peak District National Park from the last 1960’s. An inveterate traveller, it was this, combined with his love of exploring and connecting people that developed into the vision of global organisation that would unite and represent Rangers on the world stage.

On a boat trip on Loch Lomond in Scotland, during the Scottish Rangers Association conference, in discussion with Rangers from the USA, England, Scotland and others, led the following year to the formal inauguration of the International Ranger Federation (IRF) which later inspired the Thin Green Line Foundations.

Our Executive Director remains proud to have been “in the room where it happened” on that very boat. It was a year later on 31st July 1992 that Gordon’s dream was realised and those first 3 Ranger Associations signed an accord in the Peak District National Park, that formed the International Rangers Federation.

World Ranger Day continues to be celebrated on July 31st as a result.

EUROPARC honoured Gordon with the Alfred Toepfer Award in 2009, for his outstanding achievements and EUROPARC continues with a Memorandum of Understanding between our two organisations.

Gordon remained a tireless advocate and supporter of the World Ranger family, well beyond his retirement.

His nurturing of Ranger Associations has enabled the International Ranger Federation not just be globally represented but has ensured too that national Ranger Services are given the due recognition of the important nature conservation and protection, environmental education and community engagement work they undertake.

A quiet and unassuming man, with a “pun” for every occasion, he will be missed by the Ranger community worldwide. But his legacy will live on, the IRF will continue to grow and build as a younger generation of Rangers take up the helm in the knowledge that the stand on the Shoulder of a Giant.

EUROPARC sends our condolences to Gordon’s family and friends.


You can see Gordon’s interview from 2021 herePeak District National Park 70th Anniversary
Matt Baker’s interview with legendary ranger Gordon Miller