Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

In honor of Mother's Day, all of the Florida State Parks offered 75% off of admission to the parks for mothers with their children today.  We were expecting a crazy day because of it.  We have had busy weekends lately anyway and it was a holiday and there was a discount.  I was afraid that we would fill up early, have to close the park, and hear lots of heart-wrenching stories about how I was ruining Mother's Day for hundreds of people because I wouldn't let them into the park.  Fortunately, most everyone remembered what their mothers taught them today and even after we closed, people were very nice about it.  I only had one person really get mean with me and he came back to apologize later.  The day went very smoothly and we even got a few extra things done this weekend.  It really went about as well as it could have.
This morning, after opening the ranger station and starting everyone on their tasks for the day, I got away while I could.  I took another drive around Friday's burn zone.  It was in great shape, the only things left smoking were well inside the zone and didn't have anything near them that would burn.  I enjoyed admiring the result of our hard work, and the morning sun was really making it beautiful.  I thought that this grouping of charred, dead Oaks was very impressive.

Most of the zones burned very well, but there were some funny areas in the interior of the zone that stayed very green.  I guess those little areas were burned recently for a training so there was not any dead fuel built up.  This really illustrates one of the reasons that we do prescribed burning.  If we remove the dead pine needles and other dry, dead plant matter with regular fires, than the risk of wildfire spreading uncontrollably is very small.  If there is no fuel, a fire can't burn.

After checking the burn zones, I went to the office for a little while and then back to the ranger station to help with the phones as the park began to get busy.  As expected, we were hit hard by the after-church-rush.  The morning was slow until about 10:00 when everyone came at once.  We had traffic backed up onto the road, but there wasn't much that we could do about it.  We let people in as fast as we could and once we filled up, we had to turn people away.  We closed before noon and stayed that way until just after 3:30.  We opened 3 or 4 times throughout that period to let in 5-10 cars.  By 4:00, the park was calm and there were just a few people still coming in.  I really wasn't needed anymore, but I was afraid to go home.  It seems like whenever I go home, things get crazy.  The visitors must be able to sense when I am comfortable on the couch.  I stuck around the park a little longer, but when I knew that things were well under control, I headed home.

Thought of the Day #46
It was fun to be in the ranger station today to hear people's reaction when they found out that the fee was only $1.50 today instead of the usual $6.00.  Most people were very pleasantly surprised and grateful for the unexpected gift.  It was also fun to listen to the rangers at the window as they delicately danced around the question of who was a mother and who were her children.  Its a difficult question to ask without offending people and most people just stared blankly when asked if the children with them belonged to the woman in the car.  Its also hard to tell when the child is an adult and mother and daughter look like they could be sisters.  Sometimes language barriers added another degree of difficulty to the situation.  When someone only speaks enough English to handle a monetary transaction and then we start asking about familial relationships, they really get confused.  It was fun to watch the surprise and joy on people's faces though, and it was fun to watch the rangers' creativity as they handled each situation very tactfully.

No comments: