We started the visit with a trip to the Visitor’s Center to pick up the junior ranger book. ProRanger Tim Greene and Finn started working on it right away! From there we proceeded to the Leelanau District Ranger Station and met up with Tim’s supervisor for the summer, District Ranger Andrew Blake.
|Tim and Finn working on the junior ranger workbook.|
|Tim Greene presents District Ranger Andy Blake with a plaque on behalf of the ProRanger Program.|
Then we all headed to the park headquarters for a meeting with Deputy Superintendent Tom Ulrich and Chief Ranger Phil Akers. This is SLBE’s third summer participating in the program and during our meeting the support for the program from the park’s leadership was clear. They also provided some helpful feedback and suggestions for future improvements to the program.
|Ranger Blake, ProRanger Greene, Chief Akers and Deputy Superintendent Ulrich|
Then we were off for a whirlwind tour of the park! As we toured the park, Ranger Blake pointed out areas of the park for Tim to be aware of, he reviewed the law enforcement challenges they typically encounter in various areas and the types of assignments Tim will be getting later in the summer. He also took the opportunity to quiz Tim on our location on various roads and geographic areas to be sure that he was learning the park’s geography and would be able to accurately call in his location or respond the correct location in the event of an incident.
|Finn dug a "sitting hole" and relaxed to observe the sights|
Ranger Blake also made several visitor contacts during the course of our tour while Tim observed. Following each contact Ranger Blake explained the circumstances of the contact: why he initiated it, his strategy for handling it the way he did and what he hoped to accomplish from the contact. He also shared whether it was a typical contact for that area and what other ways that Tim could expect that interaction to unfold. Some of these contacts included waving down a visitor who was clearly exceeding the park’s speed limit, educating some dog walkers about the areas where they could take their dog (they were about to enter an area where they could not), observing the activities of a known park tour group leader, among other contacts. This was in addition to answering dozens of questions from park visitors about directions and making recommendations about the park’s highlights.
|One of the 3 bays in the park|
|We ended the day with a demonstration of SLBE's UTV used for rescues!|
|Platte River entry point|
|No sign of the crowds to come|
No visit to SLBE would complete without climbing some dunes! We finished up the visit with the completion of the junior ranger program and a swearing in and presentation of the badge!
|Proud junior ranger|
|The dune climb!|
|Cherry pit spitting|
|Olympic size cherry pit spitting arena|
|After dinner entertainment|
|Something you don't see every day: Fox running down the road with a hot dog and egg in its mouth|
|Sunset over Lake Michigan from Empire's town park|