Friday, June 24, 2011

Harpers Ferry- Week 5

This week Mark and I worked with the many branches of the maintenance division to help preserve and protection the assets at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. On Monday, we spent the morning with the Chief of Maintenance and attended a squad meeting with all of the branch supervisors. The Chief gave us a tour of the many projects being completed in the park and spoke about the challenges of managing the resource. After the squad meeting, Mark and I were given a brief orientation of all of the branches of maintenance. We also shadowed employees while they completed work orders and entered reports into a data tracking system.

On Tuesday, Mark and I had the opportunity to work along side the custodial staff. During the critical two hours before the Park opened, we cleaned all of the exhibits, museums and restrooms in the Lower Town area. These tasks are crucial to the operation of the Park and can make or break a visitors experience. Once the buildings in Lower Town were completed, Mark and I reported to the Mather Training Center to assist in cleaning insects from the light fixtures in the classrooms. The occupants of the Training Center greatly appreciated our work and thanked us for removing the insects.

Wednesday marked our first day with the trails and grounds crew. To begin the day, I went out with the mowing crew to mow and weed eat along Shoreline Drive. Mark went along with the aborists to assist in pruning trees at the Ranger Station. Later in the day, we both returned to the Ranger Station to help chip the branches and limbs that were removed in the morning. Wednesday also included the monthly safety meeting at the Park. Mark and I attended the meeting and received an understanding of safety concerns in the Park and how they are being addressed.

The following day we reported to buildings and utilities. Mark and I joined a member of the paint crew for a hike up Maryland Heights to remove graffiti from trial markers and rocks along the path. This task was a follow up to the documenting of the vandalism that we completed the previous week. After returning from Maryland Heights, Mark and I conducted inventory of the buildings and utilities items. This included entering most of the Park buildings to account for air conditioners, refrigerators, and microwaves. This experience will help us in the future as inventory is a mandatory task for every division at every National Park.

Our Final day with maintenance was split between time with the landscape architect and the architect. In the morning, the landscape architect lead us on a tour of his projects, with included a trip to Antietam National Battlefield. We also visited the Short Hill area of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and discussed the future of the Short Hill site. In the afternoon we worked with the architect to review project proposals and the PMIS system.The PMIS program allows parks to request funds for projects and prioritize their requests. Every project must go through this system and it is an important aspect of the architects work. We read through our General Management Plan as well to relate the projects to the goals outlined in the plan.

Our week with maintenance was extremely successful and informative. The Park truly could not operate without the individuals that comprise the maintenance division. These individuals take extreme pride in their work and keep Harpers Ferry in fabulous condition. Remember to always thank the maintenance staff as you see them around your park and assist them whenever possible. Enjoy your week!

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