Saturday, July 30, 2011

week 11 Shenandoah

Week 11 --

This week we spent time with various members in our partner park Shenandoah. The beginning of the week was spent with Tyler of the Fire Effects crew. He has various duties, but on Tuesday he explained the tasks and science that goes into planning a prescribed burn for the park. This is done because the forest needs fire to be healthy. Over the years mankind has gotten so good at controlling wildfires that this has lead the forest to change ecologically. Species are now dominating forest that wouldn't be if the natural cycle of wildfires would take place. We went about making a plot in an unburnt section of the park that is scheduled for a prescribed burn. This is done so that the fire effects crew can study the effects of a smaller area of the forest with some control and multiply the affects of the study to a larger area. Tyler then showed us a section of the forest that had a prescribed burn performed on it approximately 3 years ago ...It was amazing to see how many more species of plants were growing in this section along with the health of the forest itself which seemed much more diverse and healthy.

The Next day was spent with Ann of cultural resources. We traveled around the park to many locations while she cataloged the cultural sites with photographs and basically explained what this assessment was all about and what it entailed. This was good to see and from an LE perspective knowing the resource, its location and what the resource is supposed to look like can only help with our mission of resource protection.

We then had the opportunity to spend a day with Bill and Joe , both are LE Rangers in the park, and also happen to be technical rescue instructors. It was really cool because the class was small and we had a lot of one on one time and both of the instructors who were thorough and made sure we grasped the basic concepts of ascending and descending with valuable knots and some more technical equipment. ( Grigri, pulley, Cams, Carabiners, Ascenders, Rescue 8, Rappel racks... to name a few) (knots: figure 8, water , fishermans, prusick.. again to name a few) One can easily see this is a perishable skill and i would relish the opportunity to get more solid training in this technical skill set... Bill and Joe are leading a course in Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area this coming April!! hint hint ... I think ProRangers should go !

The last two days of the week were spent with the Rangers Activity Department, specifically the Fee division. The first day was spent with the Remit section. Without going into to much detail they basically oversee the parks collection of the entrance fee money , 80% of which goes directly back into the park. They have many fail safes and the women I worked with were very helpful and let Heather and myself perform the majority of their duties for the day. I then went out on the park boundary , specifically the White Oak Boundary, and helped Patti and Steve perform the collection of entrance fees and give advice to the various park visitors some of whom are novice to the area. I have done this duty before, but in another boundary location. I felt much better prepared to help out this time and was much more knowledgeable to the "usual questions", that the Fee Rangers get from visitors.

After this week we ahave just over 2 weeks left... This Summer has flown by !
John Eichelberger

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