Even though there is an intern here majoring in media applications at school, I was around to take pictures of everyday life here at the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River. Jay is doing videos for public service announcements stressing water safety for the public. I hope to see his work at the end of the season!
Rangers and interns prepare and present educational programs on many aspects of life in the river valley for children and adults. They take place at the Zane Grey Museum and in neighboring towns. I couldn’t be present for all the programs – there are so many – but I did listen and take pictures of some of them. We staff the visitor center and the museum to inform the public of the culture and history of the residents and life on the river and to sell souvenirs and books, of course! Another thing that rangers, interns, and volunteers do is spend the day at a kiosk at one of the four river accesses that the Park has adopted. We greet visitors to the Park, offering brochures about the Park, giving safety talks before they go out on the river, educating them in terms of how they can help keep this river as pristine as it is now by cleaning their boats, gear, and equipment, and by taking with them everything that they bring in so as not to litter the river or the properties adjacent to it.
Speaking of garbage, there are no dumpsters at the four accesses any longer, and we are a “Pack in, pack out” establishment like so many of the other national parks. This is taking some getting used to, as longtime visitors and local residents have gotten used to having dumpsters for their trash, which is what drove the price of trash removal high enough to draw attention from the regional and national offices in the first place. We need to collect the garbage at these accesses, as well as the other accesses where we provide brochures and posters. When I am a vehicle rover, I collect garbage and litter at outlying accesses, and pick up the bags of garbage at the kiosks, then dump them into a dumpster at the closest office. If there are days when garbage is collected but a vehicle rover cannot get there to get the bag(s), they are left under the kiosk for either maintenance personnel or the next day’s vehicle rover to pick up. Sometimes, animals visit those bags, and sometimes, evening visitors add their own garbage around the bags, leaving quite the mess for the next person on the job to pick up all over again. We are documenting how much garbage we collect and how much of our day is spent on collecting it, hoping for a different policy next year. I have run into some literally “crappy” situations, and am very glad we have nifty nabbers and gloves to use for this job!
Most of the staff spend days canoeing on the river, keeping people safe and promoting the use of life jackets. I bow out of this responsibility because I don’t feel comfortable or even able to help others when I can’t control a canoe by myself! We can’t do our jobs in a kayak, and only when the water is over 6 feet can we go out in a raft. Ah, but the water is high and fast then and only 2 people can go in a raft, so I bow out of that river opportunity also! I will go in the river during a river cleanup when 2 are in a canoe and I can trust that the other person will not play around and scare me to death!
So, why am I at a river-centric park? Because there are plenty of land support tasks I can do and I feel needed doing them. I coordinate the schedules of the community volunteers for the watershed steward program (clean boats = clean water). I pull weeds, both invasive plants and nuisance vines, which helps out both the resource management and the maintenance divisions. I do data entry, take pictures, and run errands. I love this job! Also, it is close enough to my family that I can visit most of them on my weekends – Mondays and Tuesdays.