Thursday, May 31, 2012

Week 2 at Shenandoah National Park!

Week 2 was also exciting here at Shenandoah National Park; on Tuesday I went on patrol with District Ranger Dixon Freeland and got to see more of Skyline drive. Every time I have driven on it the experience has been breath taking. I saw my first black bear he was maybe two or three years of age and about 150 pounds.  I was super excited that I got to see a bear for the first time in the wild. Dixon has taught me a lot about my career so far and for that I am very thankful; he has made me realize that I will love and fit in with this career. 

Wednesday I rode with LE Park Ranger Jeston Fisher and got to see two more bears; 1 was crossing the street and the other one was on the side of the road. Jeston spotted him and took me back around to see him; we ended up being fairly close to the bear and I got a great picture of him. I got to witness a vehicle stop, four people were on two motorcycles; the first one was clocked at 62mph and the second one was clocked at 60mph. The speed limit on Skyline Drive is 35mph so they were clearly speeding. Even though I could only observe what was going on it was still something that I found interesting. I cannot wait to actually get the hands on training. Jeston has also taught me more a lot about being an LE Park Ranger and I hope that I get the opportunity to work with him more often.

Thursday I attended basic Search and Rescue training (SAR). I also took my pack test, which consisted of, a two-mile walk with 25lbs on my back and I had thirty minutes to complete this task. SAR training in my opinion is something that everyone, who is  should have to take and be apart of because it is something that will be helpful during my career. I am going to continue to complete more of the SAR training.

Friday and Saturday I worked with fees in Big Meadows Campground. It was very busy because it was a holiday weekend; they have over 200 sites that you can rent and they were basically filled by Friday around noon. I learned that if you work for a fee operation you need to be detail oriented; small mistakes in someone’s reservation can cause huge problems. People reserve campground sites up to six months in advance for holiday weekends. 
We also had to drive around in a golf cart and make sure that the visitors were abiding by the rules and regulations of the park; if they did not they received a written warning from a ranger and if they continued to break the rules then an LE Park Ranger would be notified and deal with the visitor. Utilizing a golf cart we patrolled Big Meadows Campground and spoke with visitors about food storage and other regulations.  I helped register campers and make sure they got to their appropriate campsite. In conclusion I learned a lot in a few days about what employees do in different fee operations especially in campground. This is a great way to get to interact with all of the visitors and get to know people who come back every year.

I love it here at Shenandoah National Park! I am extremely happy that I am here and get to experience all of these wonderful things within the park.  I like working with all the different divisions of the park and it gives me a better understanding of not only the people that work here but what their jobs entitle. 

Hope you are all having a fun week and I can not wait to hear more of what you all are doing in your parks!

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