|Stopping traffic on the Emmitsburg Road|
Saturday, July 29, 2017
Gettysburg Battle Anniversary, Days 2 and 3
I spent the second and third days of the battle anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg with my supervisor, Ranger Murphy. We spent most of these two days driving around the park in order to manage the traffic, parking, and crowds associated with the special events. Every year for the anniversary the park’s interpretation division hosts a series of special interpretive programs. One of the major draws every year are the battlefield walks, which are large, three hour long ranger led programs that take visitors across the battlefield. We maintained a presence by the starting points for each program in order to manage traffic. With so many visitors, parking could quickly get out of hand if left unmanaged. This could constitute a safety issue, especially if EMS vehicles or firetrucks could not make it through the park’s roads.
Because the special events spanned large stretches of the battlefield, most of them crossed roads. This constituted a potential risk to visitors, so Law Enforcement was needed to stop traffic at several points.
I learned a great deal about how large events are managed, as well as what to expect from large amounts of visitors. After the major crowds and police presence on the first day, the second and third days of the battle anniversary seemed quiet and went largely without incident. The anniversary was a success, however, my week was not quite finished, as the following day was the Fourth of July. While Gettysburg NMP did not have any special programs for July 4th, the local college was putting on a fireworks display, and many visitors would be watching it inside the park. Parking and traffic would be the major concern for the night, and I was tasked with managing parking and traffic on one of the park’s avenues. The night went quite well, and once everyone had parked, I got to sit and watch the fireworks. After the event ended, we collected any traffic signs and barricades, and returned to the Ranger Station. While hectic at times, the battle anniversary was very interesting to see, and I hope that I can make it to future anniversaries as a visitor.