Monday, May 30, 2011

SHEN Week 2

If someone knows how to rotate pictures this one would make a lot more sense : ) John Eichelberger --Shenandoah National Park

Hello and greetings to everyone! The picture to the right above the text is just another breath taking vista that are up and down Skyline Drive.. Heather and i were lucky enough to see this as we were driving back to the HQ after a 12 to 8 shift.

Shenandoah National Park is such a great place to learn about what it takes to maintain such a beautiful place for future generations. The second week of work further demonstrated to me what a team effort it really takes to keep this park a fun and exciting place for the public as well as maintain all of the Resources in an sustainable manner so that future generations will be able to discover the beauty just as we have the opportunity now.

Week 2 was to me a better experience then week 1 simply because we began to see how our role in the park would progress. We started the week off with basic search and rescue training or SAR. This was exciting and we are now certified to assist in being part of the litter team in removing an injured visitor to safety. The training was unique and fun at the same time as we did litter carrying drills to kind of get an idea of what it will actually be like. I then had the opportunity to go with some of the folks in resources. I assisted Laura with getting some of the native plant species ranging from moss to grasses , that are going to be planted in a overlook parking area after maintenance fixes a damaged wall. I then went with Wendy and performed a check on a section of forest. This entailed tagging trees for future inspections and measuring growth among other environmental factors . It was a challenging and fun experience and Wendy was a blast to hike with because she is like a walking encyclopedia of the Parks plant species. We then had the awesome opportunity to spend the day with some of the veteran search and rescue rangers as they performed numerous tests showing how certain gear would hold up to a dead weight of 450 lbs being slammed against it from a 15 ft cliff. It was all very interesting and a tad over my head, but everyone involved was very

helpful in explaining things and reteaching us basic climbing knots and tie ins. They also allowed Heather and myself to repel a section of the cliff, known as Black Rock, and climb back up with is always a blast.

I finished the week up working Big Meadows campground and seeing how the people involved with Fee collection manage campground customers and do a wonderful job making sure the campers are happy and enjoy their experience. My work day of the week was working with the PSAR group, or preventative search and rescue, We basically hiked one of the most beautiful sections of the park knows as White Oak Canyon . I got paid to hike and make contact with visitors in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been!!! Not a bad day on the job if you ask me!!! : )

Finding my way through the Wilderness,

John Eichelberger

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