During the latter half of the day, Ben and I were given a very important task. About a week prior, a local had been reported missing by family. The family instructed police that the person enjoyed spending time at Valley Forge and it was suggested that the individual may be camping out at the top of Mount Joy, away from people. Our task was to search for evidence of a person on the mountain by looking for clues such as bike tracks, clothing or shoes and food. We never found any evidence and a few days later it was unfortunately reported that the subject had been found dead in a different small park closer to home.
Wednesday was an exciting day with the Natural Resources crew. In the morning, Ben and I embarked on our first Weed Warriors session. We traveled to a specified location in the park and began removing a problem plant called Mile-A-Minute. It gets its name because it can grow up to six inches in one day. The invasive plants were simple to remove and there were tons that needed to be. The work was not too laborious and the pay off was great. It was satisfying to see the difference we made in removing so many plants in only a few hours.
Friday, Maintenance had us focus our attention at Muhlenberg Brigade, stop two on the Valley Forge encampment tour. This area has a high amount of visitors daily and it is important to keep it pleasant and authentic. We spread new gravel in front of the wood burning oven which is a focal point for Interpretative discussion. We then moved on to the fence that surrounds the site and worked for the rest of the day reorganizing and securing the posts with wire to prevent them from slipping. It is important to keep these fences in repair not only to benefit the current visitors, but also those who may look back at photo's taken from their trip to Valley Forge in future years.
Saturday was another Natural Resources day and Ben and I, along with all of the seasonal crew, headed down to Valley Creek for more crayfish hunting. As described in a previous blog post, removal of invasive crayfish is critical to the health of our exceptional value stream. The Crayfish Corps runs as often as needed either by just NPS staff, or staff and a group of volunteers. Ben caught five small trout and many of the volunteers were very excited to see the fish!