Phel K. Jacobsen

View Books
Phel K Jacobsen

Dear Reader,

I invite you to explore my website to acquaint yourself with me, the author, and with my Memoir, “I married a Park Ranger and became a Park Wife”.  My Memoir is a story full of adventure, isolation, and dedication that I experienced living in eight of our unique National Parks.

Today, except for in a few remote areas, park communities no longer exist, and the feeling of a park family has grown more distant. I am grateful that I had the good luck to have married a ranger to become a Park Wife. We belonged to the three privileged generations that experienced this unique “folk culture,” which began in Yellowstone National Park when rangers “smuggled” wives into their remote backcountry cabins—a lifestyle that no longer exists. 

The Bookshelf

Learn more about my books. More coming soon!

Get to Know Me

Take a look at one of my book readings and find out where you can see me next.


“With vivid prose and a keen eye for detail, Phel Jacobsen is a natural storyteller: funny, compassionate, and endlessly entertaining. This book is an absolute delight. The breadth of locales is a love letter to America’s natural splendor, taking us to a desolate island on Lake Superior, deep snows of Crater Lake, the volcanoes of Hawaii—and that only names just a few. But beautiful, majestic landscapes pale when put up against the love between Phel and Bob and their family and friends. This is a story unlike any that you’ve heard before—and it’s a book you’ll never forget.”

Jay Varner

Author of Nothing Left to Burn

“Phel Jacobsen’s memoir is nothing short of brilliant.  She smoothly takes you from every day to monumental moments with genuine warmth and humor until the world around you fades.  Before you know it, you’ll find yourself in the arms of a man you’re not sure you really know as you’re carried over the threshold.  Let your heart speed up and hear yourself gasp as you enter this grand adventure with Phel, navigating her new life, a kind of life that may never be known again.”

Janell E. Robisch

Author of Raven Thrall

“Wonderful memories of our own re-surfaced as we read Phel’s memoir about her experiences as the wife of a National Park Service ranger.  You will visit eight of our beautiful National Parks.  You will be in awe of the life she lived in isolation and you will laugh with her at her awkward moments of adjustment.  This is her story about a woman whose career was companion, mother, and Park Wife.  We regret that most of the hard-working Park Wives, now deceased, cannot know that at long last the Park Wife’s dedication to the parks they lived in is getting well-deserved recognition.”

National Park Wives

Anne Loftis, Sybil Lowe, Elly Hakel, and Karen Anibal


“I have heard Phel read from these remarkable pages. Her voice is clear and inviting, in person and in print. She has given us a rare love story, a life’s time-capsule framed in rich and rugged surroundings. But Phel Jacobsen has also captured the gift and the irony and the surprise, of a strong woman honoring her partnerships and keeping her promises. I am so glad she has told her story.”

Morgan Scott Phenix

Author of A Life Worth Living – A Story Worth Telling (memoir)

Elizabeth’s Story (a novel)