Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park

       My time here in Maine is almost complete and I am a little sad at the notion that I have but a few days left here in the great state of Maine.  Over the past month of have done many wonderful things and expanded my résumé as a ProRanger.  In the past month I have done the following:
 - Search and Rescue missions, along with a few medical calls to park visitors
 - Solo foot and bike patrols and a bicycle safety checkpoint
 - Ride alongs with LE Rangers in which I helped with traffic and parking regulations
          * Getting good with my verbal warnings and perfecting my command presence
 - Hiked to the summit of Maine's tallest point, Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park
 - Assisted in excavation of shipwreck and documented artifacts with archeologists
 - Assisted in monitoring of air and water quality program
 - Assisted in identifying Peregrine Falcon nesting sites from Park boat along sea coast
 - So much more....

       The last month here was very interesting and acted as a capstone for the internship, as I worked with the LE Division for the last few weeks.  The time spent with the LE Division only reinforced to me that the profession in which this program is based to serve is the perfect career choice for me or any one else that enjoys doing all these amazing things and get paid for doing it.

    Not to limit my entire time here in Maine to just Acadia and MDI, I took a weekend trip to Baxter State Park.  Baxter is a very remote, dirt road accessible and strict "Leave No Trace" park established by the late Maine Governor Percival Baxter.  His vision, much like that embraced by the NPS, was to set aside a valuable natural resource within the state of Maine.  Governor Baxter donated the park land to the State of Maine to create a park for the people that was void of a human presence and went as far to ban dogs as well.  The hike to Mt Katadhin is a very tiring and difficult event, but the view from its summit, Mount Baxter, is well worth the ordeal and at around an elevation of 5, 200 feet worth the scramble along its rugged and sketchy granite trail to stare over the vast scene before you.

   Among the activities I spent working outside of the LE Division the time spend with the Cultural and Historical Division was my favorite.  I spent a day with an archeological team who was mapping and excavating an old abandoned ship on the island's westside.  I was shown the basic in's-n-out's of how a site excavation works and then given the opportunity to assist in the documentation of a relic that was left at the site.  The process was very thorough and offered me insight into the time and energy one puts into in preserving our historical sites. 

    Upon completion of this event I returned to the park HQ and spent the afternoon with the director of the division.  As I have truly embraced the park and its unique history this was a very interesting day.  Among all national parks Acadia has a very unique story, this is based on the complex history of the parks creation from the idea's of its earliest visitors.  The main highlight of this day was my tour of the park's vault and the opportunity to see all the historical artifacts that were present.  My time was short with the director, but I could have spent days examining and reading the endless boxes of journals and historical items that were in this collection.

    On one very memorable day I was tasked in assisting the LE Ranger who is in charge of the Boat Program in bringing out the park's raptor program coordinator.  This was also an opportunity to work on my boat operating skills that I gained from my DOI Motorboat Operator Certification Course.  The task was simple, take the boat and its passengers to Iron Bound and locate any nesting sites that the peregrine falcons are using.  Immediately upon approaching the island we observed four bald eagles, then quickly heard the unique shrill of three peregrine falcons as they patrolled the jagged cliffs for their first meal of the day.  By trips end we did not locate any definite sites, but found a possible location.  As we began our journey back to the mooring in Somes Sound we witnessed a seal as he hunted along the islands coast and saw a few dolphins passing away time as they too hunted in the shadow of Cadillac Mountain.

   Well, just a few days to go until this chapter is closed out and a new story begins.  I'm glad I was selected to intern here as this is the kind of park that Rangers dream of getting and I got it right out of the gate.  I could only be so fortunate to be able to return some day to Acadia as a LE Ranger and carry out the duties that I've seen the current Rangers perform, well, minus the parking and dog off-leash enforcement and the questions about Thunder Hole and its lack of "Thunder."

No comments:

Post a Comment