This week was Jim's second week and my first week at the park. Throughout the week we spent quite a bit of time messing around with GovTrip. It has been a frustrating application for all of us but hopefully we are through the worst of it! On Tuesday we spent most of our time touring around the park, getting to know the area. Tom (our supervisor) would quiz us on some of the roads within the park as we were driving around. In order to help the people within the park, you must have a good general idea.We are both still working on learning the few but difficult named roads throughout the parks as well as the different major landmarks. Jim is doing a lot better than I am at that. I also attended the one hour video that is done on the park - it is considered the better of the two movies. It provided me with quite a lot of background on the park.
We also got our car on Tuesday! We have our own retired patrol car, without the sirens or other police equipment, that we can drive around for government business. It is a lot of fun to drive through the park in our own car - it allows us to see how individuals interact with the Park Rangers first hand. We were also issued our radios which let us hear what is going on at Antietam and Monocacy NationalParks. We keep our radios with us at all time, especially when we are driving around in the car. On Wednesday we went to Seasonal Orientation – it was a quick overview of the park for the seasonal workers, whether they were returning or new. It was a good informational meeting about the park and we got to meet a few other people working there this summer. After the orientation we got to go hike one of the trails called the West Woods trail. Tom showed us a spot where there was a looting problem last year. It was just one example of the problems that are found throughout the park. We learned that it is often hard to figure out whothe individual looting is unless you catch them in the act.Friday we learned about the boundaries of the park. We were shown the congressional boundary and the current boundary of the park. Each property deed has certain limitations and it is the responsibility of the Rangers to know when these limitations are being violated. After going over some of the boundary stuff we went and walked one of the boundaries. On the walk we saw two tree stands and a deer feeder. These were all on private property so they were allowed. These areas are monitored though, because one of the stands has the shooter facing into the park. We also went to dispatch to learn about what happens at dispatch as well as tour the C&O Canal Headquarters. Unfortunately, there wasn't much activity at dispatch so we did not get to see what happened when a call came in. It was still good to see what dispatch looked like and to meet the people behind the radio.
Saturday we were able to help out with the Sharpsburg annual Memorial Day parade. We helped to set up, give people directions, and take down after the ceremony following the parade. This week was very interesting and we are definitely looking forward to another week!