Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Off to LA

First Night in the Park
Week 8 saw a huge change of venue, and was full of experience that Yosemite National Park couldn’t give to me just because of location and the layout of the park. I got to spend my week in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area which is located across two counties and has land in Beverley Hills, Malibu, and Santa Monica. This park has interesting jurisdictional problems that Yosemite doesn’t face as well as different type of land issues that is not at Yosemite. I did the six-hour drive on Sunday which according to the rangers I rode with was great time for driving into the Los Angeles area on a Sunday. In my first night in the park I checked into the housing and explored the surrounding area to get some dinner then went down and saw Malibu. I was surprised by just how large the park boundary was, thinking that the Law Enforcement had to patrol and take care of all that land.  
On Monday all my perceptions of the park I had made the previous night were changed. I was given the park tour on Monday and got to truly see how challenging it was to patrol in this park. The park has a designated boundary but they do not have jurisdiction in all of it, they have parcels of land inside the boundary that they patrol. They also have other groups that have land with which the park service has no jurisdiction and the other groups do. The park service also has no jurisdiction on the roads so the county takes care of that. Coming from Yosemite this was a shock to me that they don’t have jurisdiction on the roads. The parcels of land are also a good distance apart since you have to take windy mountain roads. The land they do patrol and look after is beautiful and it was very cool to see another side of California while I am in the state.
Chief and Ranger Taking me Hiking
On Tuesday I got to go out to Beverley hills and hike with the Chief of Protection in the park. We were looking to see if there was anyone in the houses surrounding that parcel of land that was encroaching into the park service land. We found a couple houses that overstepped their boundary causing us to have to go talk with the homeowners. The hiking I experience at Santa Monica Mountains was a little different than what I was used to at Yosemite but it was still a fun time out hiking with the Chief.
Wednesday I woke up early so that a ranger and I could make it into court in Los Angeles on time. We ended up hitting no traffic and getting there an hour early so she took me out to see the original center of LA and see the satellite office they have there. Court was interesting, sadly we had no cases that day but other agencies had cases and getting to see them bargain and dismiss some while bringing others in front of the judge was interesting. After that we drove back and I was able to sit in on the supervisors weekly meeting with the Chief.
Thursday I was paired with the ranger who takes care of the drug interdiction and all of the cameras they have set up around the park to catch people doing stuff they shouldn’t be doing. The park utilizes trail cameras to assist the officers since they can’t sit on a location for days at a time to catch people doing illegal things. It is a very interesting program which took me to many different parts of the park getting the pictures off the cards. I finished my day off by going to the beach and enjoying Malibu as much as I could.
Firemen Giving Care to the "Patients"
On my final day in the park I got to go to an active shooter training with two of the rangers. We went to the county training grounds for fire and learned how to utilize small task forces, or teams of police and firemen, to go in and help victims of a shooting. It was a very interesting idea that I have not been exposed to before but it is an idea I will take with me and try to pass on whenever I can. I also was able to learn basic EMS skills to use in situations like this some of these include using tourniquets, helping people with pneumothorax, and making sure airways were clear.

I then packed my bags and did the drive back to Yosemite on that Saturday. The trip was great and I would like to thank all the rangers and chief at Santa Monica Mountains for letting me come down there and giving me a great experience in my stay down there.  

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