Two new rangers start at Fort Canby

Two new faces will be greeting campers at Fort Canby State Park. Park Ranger II Brian Hageman, left, and Park Ranger I Tom Benenati joined the staff at the park since the first of the year. Nancy Butterfield photo

FORT CANBY - Two new park rangers are on the job at Fort Canby State Park.

Park Ranger II Brian Hageman, 31, has been at the park since January, after a promotion from Deception Pass State Park where he worked for three years. Hageman says he is a second-generation Parks employee.

"I was born in a state park," he said. "I've been in state parks all my life."

His father currently is manager of Fort Casey on Whidbey Island.

Hageman started as a summer park aide in 1990 and has worked for Parks for eight years.

"It's fun being so close to the ocean at Fort Canby," he said.

His job here includes coordinating up to 13 pairs of camp hosts during the summer, supervising the interpretive staff and overseeing Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Colbert House in Ilwaco and the Fort Columbia Interpretive Center.

He says his wife loves being in this area too. They're expecting their first child the first week of June.

Park Ranger I Tom Benenati, 30, started work last month at Fort Canby. He comes to the Peninsula from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa, Okla., District where he worked for three years in visitor assistance at Lake Oologah, near Tulsa. The district covers all of Oklahoma, southern Kansas and parts of Texas.

While in the Tulsa District, Benenati covered boat patrols and inspection and some law enforcement. "Our mission at the district was safe outdoor recreation," he said.

"I've wanted to come to the Northwest for some time. I interviewed at several parks but was blown away by the coastline here," he said. His main responsibilities are the campground's 250 sites and supervising park aides. "I make sure people have a safe and good time," he said. "I'm glad to be here."

Benenati's wife is still in Oklahoma with their two children and is expecting twins. She'll be moving here in May.

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