Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cuyahoga Valley NP Week 1

My first two days consisted of a lot of orientation and meeting some of the park staff, and starting to learn all the roads, areas, and trails. With 33,000 acres along 22 miles of the Cuyahoga River, and 200 miles of trails there is a lot for me to learn. Many other jurisdictions exist throughout different sections of the park, and it is important to know whose jurisdiction you are in and who is going to be close by for help. On the second day when I was with Ranger Dyer we heard on the radio of a truck accident. Although it was out of our jurisdiction we arrived on scene to make sure everything was alright. There were no injuries and we helped with traffic control.

The third day I met Ranger Stell, who will be my mentor for the summer. I learned about the patrol vehicles, performing vehicle checks, and mapping of the park to see our boundaries. We toured some more of the park as there is a lot I still need to see. We had a call for a bicyclist who got in an accident. We were first on scene and assisted with the woman until the ambulance came.
Lock 29 trail entrance to Towpath

Clean up site for National Public Lands Day
Day four was more patrolling and touring the park with Ranger Stell. Half way through the day I switched off and went with Ranger Pugh. He was assisting in the planning for National Public Lands Day. National Public Lands Day is on September 28th this year, and is a day anyone can volunteer to do something that benefits public land; whether it is cleaning up trash, habitat restoration, trail maintenance, beautification on historic sites, or any various other actions. A volunteer at the park had found a great site for volunteers to help out with for National Public Lands Day, so we were looking at the logistics to see how feasible it was, the safety, and many other factors that need to be considered if people are going to be hiking in to this spot in the woods. We went through the GAR steps from Operational Leadership, so it was very neat to see my training I received last summer at a different park being applied here.

The next day Ranger Stell and I went on a hike patrol in the morning through some areas of the park. We hiked for a good while and mid-day came back to the ranger station to eat some lunch. In the middle of lunch we had a medical emergency (so one must always be ready). A volunteer on one of the paths we had hiked earlier that morning collapsed. The field rangers and I all rushed over there, along with the appropriate other emergency services that were close by.  Everyone acted calm and appropriate and we were able to safely carry out the victim on a litter until we got out of the woods enough for the ambulance. Directly after the victim was safe in the ambulance en route to the hospital we all stayed back to carry out an After Action Review, right there on scene while everything was fresh in our minds. We talked about how we quickly were able to establish which local agency was the closest by/most fit for the job and not wasting time debating over it. And we also talked about some radio trouble that was going on, this is a known problem that is being fixed so it should not normally happen.

After being here for one week now, I am looking very much forward to spending the rest of my summer here. It is going to be a busy summer and I have lots of room to grow and learn. I am very appreciative Cuyahoga Valley has taken me in, and thankful to all the Rangers who are helping me learn. Thank you all, and I look forward to what this summer has to offer!

-Jackie Innella


  1. Jackie
    Clearly you are having a great time at CUVA. I'm sure your going to have a blast as I did last summer.Your post is great, keep them coming. Tell the staff at CUVA I said Hello!
    Daviryne Hall

    1. Thanks Daviryne! I will let them know you say hi! They all miss you and wish you well!