Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Cuyahoga Valley NP Week 5 & 6

Week 5
I got a chance to hike some more of the popular trails this week, and talk to local runners, hikers, bikers, fisherman and other visitors enjoying the park. I hiked the Salt Run trail, Boston Run trail, hiked around Horseshoe Lake, and other parts of the Towpath. We assisted in some minor bike accidents on the Towpath, as they happen quite often, though I am actually surprised there aren’t more with how popular the Towpath can be on a nice weekend day!
Barn Swallow feeding babies
On Wednesday I got the opportunity to go into court with Carl Dyer. Carl represents all the rangers at the park when he goes in so all cases can be handled at the first stage without pulling everyone out from work. Defenders can come in to make their mandatory court appearance if they have one and pay the fine, or plead not guilty. It was interesting and very beneficial to see this part of the judicial system working so I understand what happens beyond writing a citation. Many people did not show up for court, and I got to see what happens then, and talk to the U.S. Marshall who was there to handle that. I got to see the start of a case I was told about, and it is continuing and hopefully next month I will get to see what happens next when someone pleads not guilty.
I went with some of the rangers on Saturday to the shooting range so they could qualify. We were pressed on time, so I did not get a chance to shoot, but it was a good reminder to see and go over the qualifications so I know more of what to expect for the future. I also learned that you do not always get to shoot in the perfect conditions; that day was very hot and the rangers’ guns were hard to hold from all the heat and sweat, but still they had to make do. In a real life situation conditions will not be ideal, so practicing like this is a good thing.

Week 6
Flooded canal washing over into
drains on Towpath
When I got into work on the 26th, it was the morning after a night of storms and lots of rain. We patrolled around to check up on everything. All through the morning calls were coming in about trees falling on the towpath, and even on the railroad causing train delays! Maintenance did a great job of responding quickly to the calls. We got a call about a down wire on the towpath and flagged it with tape for the time being. We checked on a section of the towpath that was flooded because of the canal, thankfully there are drainage systems in place so the towpath won’t be washed out in that spot.

Trailblazers Mike and Ken

I got a chance to go on a bike patrol with a couple of Trailblazers! I mentioned the Trailblazers before, the Trailblazers are a volunteer organization that work with Visitor and Resource Protection to go out on the trails as a park presence and to remind people of safety and regulations. I went on bike patrol with Ken and Mike. We biked south on the Towpath stopping at each trail head and other highly visited areas. They taught me things to look for; like broken glass from a car clout, or other things out of place. They also showed me how to make friendly contacts to visitors, giving them friendly reminders. It was great to learn these things to see how much you are able to do just by talking to people with respect. Thank you to the Trailblazers as I look forward to going on more patrols with them!
Litter and wheel practice
Trailblazers thank Ranger Brewer for
all his work with them

The next day was more Trailblazer business! For the past 5 years Ranger Jared Brewer was in charge of the Trailblazers, but now hands are being switched over to Ranger Kelly Kiel. This meeting was to go over regular business as well as the farewell to Jared and the welcoming to Kelly. I was able to introduce myself to all the Trailblazers, even though I have met some of them there are over 100 Trailblazers, so I explained who I was and about the ProRanger program and let them know I will be around for patrols with them. Safety and medical issues were discussed, like wasp and bee stings, the increased tick activity and make sure you check yourself, and warn visitors to check their dogs. Reminders of areas visitors can or cannot be at, fishing regulations, and other important reminders were made. We also did a quick demonstration of the litter and wheel in case there is a medical and we must carry someone out. The Trailblazers will get training, but just to show them how it works in the meantime we brought out the pieces. I got the chance to lay on it as the victim, since I have already done training on it. This was neat to see it from that perspective, and to see how smooth it can be with the help of the wheel. The Trailblazers thanked Jared for everything he has done, and he thanked them for all they have done. It was a very nice meeting, and it was great to meet all the Trailblazers. I am very much looking forward to doing more patrols with them! 

Trailblazers 2013!

 -Jackie Innella

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