Yosemite Park Ranger Sharon Miyako receives prestigious award

Yosemite National Park Ranger Sharon Miyako recently received the 2016 Barry Hance Memorial Award.
Yosemite National Park Ranger Sharon Miyako recently received the 2016 Barry Hance Memorial Award. File Photo Archives

Yosemite National Park recently announced that Park Ranger Sharon Miyako is the recipient of the 2016 Barry Hance Memorial Award, the park’s highest honor. The ceremony was attended by approximately 300 people, including several past Barry Hance Award recipients.

The Barry Hance Memorial Award is a peer-nominated award, named in honor of Barry Hance, a long-time employee of YNP who died in an avalanche while plowing Tioga Road in 1995.

Recipients of this prestigious award are employees who exemplify the qualities and attributes of Barry Hance. These include team work, a positive attitude, concern for the public and fellow employees, public service, and a deep love for the park.

Sharon Miyako exemplifies the qualities of the Barry Hance Memorial Award.

According to the Rangers who nominated her, “Sharon has an eternal positive attitude and a heart of gold. She listens to concerns and will bend over backwards to accommodate the needs of others whether they are her staff, her supervisors, community members or visitors.”

“Receiving the Barry Hance Award is a humbling experience,” Miyako said. “I'm thankful that I’ve had the chance to learn in Yosemite from the huge variety of employees we have. Having worked with and knowing many of the previous winners, I’m in awe that I am able to be a part of that special group. It just adds to the privilege of being able to work in Yosemite year after year, and to be a piece of this place.”

Miyako began her career in Yosemite National Park as a volunteer during the 2006 winter season. She returned to Yosemite Valley as a seasonal park ranger working for the Division of Interpretation from 2007-2009. In 2009, she became a year-round employee.

For the past several years, she has served as a mentor and is currently a supervisory park ranger.

“There are two best parts of my job,” Miyako said “helping seasonal interpreters grow, channel their passion, and figure out what they love to do ... and helping visitors fall in love with Yosemite. It’s an amazing privilege.”