Monday, June 4, 2012

Eric Morgan x Lexus Ocamp VaFo Week 3

     Hey Everyone! This is Lexus Ocampo and Eric Morgan. this week we will be writing our blog together. Week was a shorter week because we got a day off for the Memorial holiday. Normally we would start our work week on Tuesdays but this week we started on Wednesday. We began the work week with the usual patrol along the park's trails. Afterwards we were able to help out with the Naturalization Ceremony that was going to take place that day. We helped LE Ranger Hackwelder with directing traffic because there were a lot of recreational users along with the many families that were there to attend the ceremony. They naturalization ceremony was special that day because there were around 50 individuals which came from 30 different countries. This was also very special because there were three active U.S. military soldiers who were receiving their United States citizenship. ABC 6 News was there to report the video and that video can be found HERE.
     On Thursday we started the day off with another patrol but this time we did our patrol on an informal path that the LE Rangers or Park Watch do not check often. Our Next assignment that was was to climb Mt. Misery to retrieve and replace the hiker's log. When we reached the top of the Mt. Misery trail, we found the log. The log was full of entries that date back to a year ago. While hiking back to the Ranger Station we read a bunch of entries from the log. There were many funny entries but there were also a lot of insightful entries that gave us an idea of the hikers' thoughts and feelings about the park and the trail. For the most part it was the same people who made entries in the hiker's log. Overall most of the people, regular and new, wrote that they loved visiting the park and enjoyed hiking the trail.
     Friday morning was used for patrolling the park. We set out to patrol Mt. Joy and its name does not ring true. This is one of the toughest mountain trails constantly going up and down hill for about 1.5 miles each way. A lot of dog walkers use this path so it is good to patrol it and make sure everyone keeps their dogs on a leash to protect the k-9 from wildlife, wildlife from the k-9, and protect other people safe from dogs that may be vicious. As Chief Kim Coast has said, owners who have dogs off leashes sometimes become very unruly. The trail takes most of the morning to completely patrol. Afterwards, we patrolled Washington Headquarters which is the most visited spot in Valley Forge. Following lunch we went over to the Northern side of the Park to Betzwood to help Ernestine, the Volunteer Coordinator, set up for National Trails Day.

      Saturday was National Trails Day which was held at Betzwood where the River Trail and Schuylkill River Trail connect to. This is an event held everyone year that a couple hundred people show up to. A lot of places come out such as Eastern Mountain Sports to take part in the event. It was also the Girls Scouts 100th Anniversary so this was an important event for them also. We were stationed at the top of the entrance to direct traffic. We also used bikes and communicated via radio with each other to see how many parking spots were available at Betzwood and if there wasn't any we had to direct the visitors to a separate parking lot the O'Neil company was letting us use for the day. Using the bikes also doubled as a patrol throughout the entire event. It turned out to be a great day with great weather and a very good turnout. It is a day to promote exercise, care of the trails, and the idea that every trail is a new beginning. I have to admit directing traffic was actually a fun experience for the day because we were also able to help a good amount of individuals who were lost. Signs on the road are incorrect and send people to a dead end where Betzwood is. Afterwards we assisted in the clean up which actual was very minimal.

Pro Rangers Eric Morgan and Lexus Ocampo

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