Friday, May 18, 2012

Vafo National Historic Park Week 1. E. Morgan

Schuylkill River..Trail was right along it

Checking some old infastructure along the trail patrols
Preparing for scenarios

Being pulled over during one of the scenarios

 Hello Everyone! It has been an exciting first week here at Valley Forge. Lexus Ocampo and I, Eric Morgan, are both stationed here and will be doing  the first blog entry separate to share our experiences during the first week and will probably be posting together during the rest of the summer as most of what we will be doing will be done together. So to get started we moved in this past Monday, the 14Th, and began our work week on Tuesday meeting at the Ranger Station with Chief Ranger Greg Tinkum. The first thing we did was to go with Administration, Lisa Waterman, down to Delaware to pick up a couple of GSA vehicles. One has become our work vehicle which is a very nice Ford F-150 which will be seen in some of the pictures I post. During the afternoon Chief Tinkum drove us around the entire park, explaining the roads, sites,  and things to look out for. This week has been about learning the park and knowing where everything is so that if we need to call in an incident or accident we know exactly where we are. Wednesday we began hiking patrols as there are a lot of trails here at Valley Forge. We are to be the eyes and ears of the Rangers while on patrol and were given radios if we needed to call anything in. In the morning we patrolled the Valley Creek Trail, Horseshoe Trail, and Mt. Misery Trail, yes its name rings true. This took all morning as it was constantly up and downhill but every hiker we came across was glad to see  us up there. In the afternoon we patrolled the other mountain trail which is Mt. Joy. These trails are beautiful and filled with wildlife (saw some foxes for this first time). Horses, bikes, and pedestrians are allowed on most trails so it is important to make sure no one is disturbing the wildlife, nature, or the enjoyment of the recreational users and visitors to the park so as to keep up with the NPS's mission. After our second patrol we were issued government cell phones to keep in contact with our co-workers and access codes which are very important to be able to enter certain buildings. Thursday was another LE day and in the morning, after being give Ranger Stations keys, we patrolled the Chapel Trail which runs along the Schuylkill River and leads to Washington Headquarters. This is one of the longer trails at the park and on the return route we patrolled a smaller trail that ran right next to the river. This trail is very popular for mountain bikers so it is also necessary to be patrolled. Plus it gives a great view of what is going on on the river. The entire morning patrol came out to be  about a 6 mile patrol. It is also important to mention we were given radios that all Valley Forge Rangers would be listen to in case we came across a situation we needed to report. After lunch we were asked to be apart of a role-playing scenario for a Seasonal Law Enforcement Ranger who needed to be commissioned so we went along with Rangers Nate, Mike, and Gordon. Lexus and myself were pulled over by the Seasonal Ranger Erik for numerous reasons in different scenarios so the other Rangers could see how    and what he does during traffic stops. Things such as having a firearm (plastic of course for safety) in the vehicle leading to a vehicle search and taking park resources were some scenarios. I ended up being handcuffed and searched in the taking of the park resources scenario because my role was to have a warrant out for my arrest so they wanted to see how Erik handled the situation and if he did everything properly and let me tell you that it is not fun being handcuffed so stay out of we all should!. It was a great experience that we got to take a lot away from. By being role players we learned when approaching a vehicle to tag the tail light, where to stand when talking to a driver, always try to have your gun hand free, and where to place an individual when searching their vehicle. Today was another LE day where we had to go through about 15,000 photos from a covert camera that would take snapshots of passing movement in a section of the park. The purpose was to help the Rangers go through the photos and see if any of three suspects' cars showed up that have been involved in breaking into vehicles in numerous parks for some time right now. We had no luck as the vehicles were not in any of the photos. Late in the day we did a bike patrol with Chief Ranger Gregg throughout the park. I enjoyed the bike patrol much more than hiking and am looking forward to more of them. Tomorrow we will be patrolling the North side of the park's trails which is across the Schuylkill River. Next week we will be sent to Maintenance for a couple of days and are either going to Independence or Hopewell Furnace for interpretation. We also found out that we will be down at Fort McHenry for two days to help with the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 which should be a very rewarding experience. I am ready for whatever comes our way this summer and will take from it as much as possible. Until next time guys, be safe and enjoy! Keep up on the PT!
Markers of the Park's Boundaries

ProRanger Eric Morgan
Valley Creek Trail

Driving the GSA back from Delaware

No comments:

Post a Comment