The ProRanger Philadelphia program is an academic, technical skills training, and internship program that is cooperatively administered by the National Park Service and Temple University. The program was established to recruit, train and employ law enforcement park rangers for the National Park Service.
Students take coursework during the academic year at Temple University and participate in internships at National Park Service sites during the summer. Follow their experiences here.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Slightly misspelled name, but it still counts
We're talkin' gators at Big Cypress.
Last Thursday I participated in UTV training outside of BICY
headquarters. I learned how to drive and handle Utility Task Vehicles, an
important tool used by the staff to patrol and maintain the backcountry. In
addition to a (thrilling) online course beforehand, I had about 4 hours of
practical training and am now officially certified to drive in our upcoming
On the same day, I was called to assist my supervisor,
Ranger Drew Hughes, in relocating an alligator that had become troublesome near
one of the campgrounds. With the assistance of the resource management division
the gator was drawn out of the water and had a snare fastened around its neck.
After the gator wore itself out a towel was thrown over its head to calm it
down, then the resource management biologist Annette Johnson hopped on the
gator’s back to hold its jaws closed. Using ropes and duct tape we then
restrained its mouth, tail, arms, and legs in descending order of danger. Rendered
fully immobile, it was placed onto a board and into an RM truck.
After we reached the designated release location, a ranger
substation called Go-lightlys, the gator board was taken out of the truck and
placed next to the water. The resource management specialist again got on the
gator’s back and the restraints were cut in the reverse order they were placed
on, at which point we all quickly, but gracefully, hopped back. In order to
encourage the gator to get back into the water paintballs were fired at its
tail, for marking purposes as well. This was ineffective, as the gator appeared
to barely feel them, so we resorted to a good old fashioned stick-poking, which
worked wonders. The alligator was released happily back into the water,
hopefully staying away from campsites in the future. This was obviously an
incredible experience to be a part of and it showed me one of the wide range of
activities LE rangers can be called on to do, in addition to showcasing great
teamwork between park divisions.
Backcountry Check Station
I closed out the week by going solo and collecting data from
the backcountry entry points, to be used in trail decisions in the future.
Keep an eye out for Program Manager Tony Luongo’s blog on
his visit here to Big Cypress this past weekend, it should be a good one.