Monday, May 3, 2010

Super-long Sunday

Oh what a day!  We started out short-staffed, but we made the most of it.  We had the essential positions covered and we were able to serve our visitors.  Everyone had to work a little harder than usual, but all was well.  Then we started getting calls about a dead deer on the road.  It was the road that the park is off of, but the deer was no where near park property.  Our park is not involved with hunting, hunting regulations, or wildlife management and is certainly not responsible for dead animals outside of the park.  It was obviously bothering our visitors on their way in though.  I started making calls to all of the agencies I could think of and following their recommendations as well to find someone who would scoop the poor animal out of the road on a Sunday.  I found no one.  I sent our only ranger, while I ran the ranger station, out to quickly dispose of the deer remains into the woods.  Fortunately, when he arrived at the scene there were other people there with the same idea.  Their agency didn't handle those matters, but they had received so many calls that they chose to just act.  Thank goodness for them, our ranger was able to return quickly.
Fortunately, the park didn't fill up as quickly as it did yesterday.  The major rush waited until the evening shift began and we had an overlap in staff.  We did have to close because of overcrowding for a longer period of time than I have seen before.  People were enjoying themselves and just didn't want to leave to make room for more people... I can't blame them.  My sister and my fiance showed up when I was beginning to turn traffic away after we closed.  They watched the whole ordeal and gave me a little friendly heckling.  Then, my sister did a wonderful thing.  She took my camera and began a walk around the park.  I couldn't go far, but thanks to her, you have some things to look at today!
This was my view for several hours this afternoon from my post at the turn-around.  I stood behind the ranger station, grateful for the shade of all of the Oaks.

I flipped this sign back and forth as we opened or closed throughout that time period.  This is the second sign that visitors pass when we are closed, but for some reason, many still ask "Why are you closed?" once they get to me.

The spring area was pretty busy all day.  It was all our staff could do to keep up with them and keep the litter at bay.  I don't get to see this area so busy very often, because my post is at the ranger station on busy days.

My sister also explored some other areas of the park.  It was nice to have a second set of eyes taking pictures today because she saw and photographed some things that I take for granted or have overlooked.
This is the lagoon area.  It is behind the footbridge that stretches over the spring.  The bridge divides the swim area in the spring from the beginning of the spring run to the river.  The lagoon is also where canoes and kayaks can launch or enter the park from the river.  This is the area where I saw the manatee.

This is one area of the shop facility.  I like this photo of our mowing fleet with the all important Coke machine in the background.

Finally, this is my home sweet home.  I did not see enough of it today.  After I left for the day, more trouble began.

From about 5:00pm to about 10:00pm, several emergency personnel were in the park trying to locate a missing person.  The person was finally located and was not injured.  I was continually getting and giving updates to the appropriate people and when the ranger shift ended, I took over the ranger station to help guide incoming help.  It was a long night.  This is what people have been warning me about.  It wasn't horrible though.  Everyone did their jobs so well and from my vantage point, the park staff could not have been more efficient or helpful in the situation.

Thought of the Day #53
I never had to deal with a missing person at Troy Springs.  There were only 80 acres to the park and I knew every inch of it.  It didn't take long to drive around the park and see were anyone might have accidentally walked.  There was one time when a person was reported missing and after a frantic search it was realized that big brother had left little brother at a different spring and only thought that he had been along for the ride to Troy.  At Ichetucknee Springs, we would get reports of missing people, but they almost always showed up moments later.  Tubing down the river was the most popular activity there and sometimes groups would get separated.  There are very few places to get off of the river, so usually the missing people floated in to the landing eventually.  Troy Springs has 80 acres, Ichetucknee has 2,000+ acres and Wekiwa has 42,000+ acres.  A missing person at Wekiwa is a much bigger issue.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Sister teamwork saves the day, as it has so many times before! Dad was quick to notice that Jen highlighted the Dixie Chopper, manufactured in Greencastle, Indiana. Hope today is a little quieter for you - enjoy!