After sending a formal request to Clyde R. Bell, Supervisory Park Ranger/Licensed Battlefield Guides, my name has been placed on the list of prospects wishing to take the GNMP's Licensed Battlefield Guide Exam that is scheduled for December 6. Sometime after October 1, I'll be receiving an application form and a request for a registration fee of $50. The GNMP expects over 125 individuals to take the test and will select the top 20 scorers for a list. Some on this list of 20 may be called to attended a two day training session then later an oral exam. In 2006, 128 took the cut and the top 21 scorers were placed on a list.
If you are on list of fewer than 20 and don't receive an invitation to take the oral, then you remain on the list for two years. After two years the list expires and you go back to the pool of 125 test takers. It sounds like the ranks of the GLBG are full and no retirements expected.
Though the contents of the test haven't changed, it appears that several conditions of employment have changed. Somewhere is my copy the 2006 letter. These items seem to have changed: Full-time guides must give 175 tours and part-time guides must give 90 tours. It appears the personal income generated by tours is between something less than $9,000 upon which taxes must be paid, dues of $360 must be paid, and a uniform purchased. Of course, 175 bus tours would double the amount of earnings.
New guides must present a minimum of 100 car trips and guide for six months before being allowed to guide buses. LBG must buy their own portable public address system for use on bus tours. On the test's bibliography for the battle there are 32 books and volume 27 (three parts) of the Official Records. On the test's bibliography for the war there are 24 general works and eleven memoirs and reminiscences. Surprising to CWL is that Retreat From Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics and the Pennsylvania Campaign by Kent Masterson Brown (2007) and The Stand of the U.S. Army at Gettysburgby Jeffery C. Hall (2003) are not on the battle's bibliography. Also, Eric Wittenberg's books on the cavalry actions are not on the list. CWL will provide a copy of the bibliography upon request.
Photo Source: Gettysburg National Military Park