Thursday, July 26, 2012

Last Weeks at Prince William Forest Park

As the summer winds down we got to spend some time with the folks at administration.  There are a lot of things that go into park management but they all come together at the administrative building.  We got a great overview of the general management plan and the parks initiatives and how they fit into the call to action.  One of the most interesting things we did was shadow the deputy superintendent for a few days and observe as he managed the new property purchases and all the compliance related issues that went into both making the purchase and maintaining the structures.  We also worked with the cabin camps team who manages the parks historic cabins and oversees the rental procedures.  With over 200 structures in the park it can be a lot of work making sure that all the cabin camps are in useable condition and making sure that when there are problems with either the structures or the groups who are renting at time that they are resolved in a timely manner. 

In the last week were able to participate in Basic CPR and First Aid Training which was being held at our park.  This was a great opportunity for us to learn skills that could come in very useful someday.  The course took the full day and there was a lot of hands on training as well. 

We rounded out the week with a ride along with the US Park Police.  This was an interesting experience and great opportunity to see how an officer in an entirely different setting conducts business.  We traded the quiet nights of Prince William for the hustle and bustle of DC streets, and in one night we saw many traffic stops, road closures, and even an arrest.  It was a really eye opening experience where we were able to compare the different scenarios that officers have to deal with based on location. 

This week was a very packed and we were able to do a lot of cool things.  We spent one day at the range and got some time shooting firearms, having never shot a gun before it was great to have the experience before we get to academy.  And boy do those vests get hot!
 The next day many of the ProRangers in the NCR got together at the Department of the Interior Building in DC and were afforded the opportunity to meet the Deputy Director of the National Park Service.  It was awesome to be able to meet her and talk about our experiences over the summer.  For the rest of the day we went to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and looked up the names of some of our fallen rangers.  It was our first time going and it reminded us of the seriousness of the profession and gave some time to pay our respects. 

The last two days at our park we hosted the NCR youth event, which was an overnight camp out for all of the youth working with park service this summer in the capital region.  It was a great way for us to meet folks of our age around the region and learn about the unique opportunities we have in the NPS.  The second day of the event we helped our Chief Ranger give a presentation on law enforcement, of course our part was to talk about the ProRanger program. 

These last few weeks were a great way to end the summer.  We learned a lot and met a lot of great people throughout the whole process.  We are definitely sad to see the internship ending so soon and were already looking forward to the next year. 

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