State Park Rangers on Duty in Times of Calm and Peril

 

The view of the Tennessee River from Joe Wheeler State Park changed dramatically after last December’s tornado. Photo by Chad Davis

Thankfully, with a few exceptions, Alabama State Parks remain open during the COVID-19 restrictions.

And as diligent as always, our park rangers are on duty to deal with any situation that might arise with everything from a welcoming wave and helpful hand to rescuing park visitors in peril.

That peril was particularly apparent last December when a line of storms started moving through north Alabama.

Joe Wheeler State Park Ranger Ryan Robertson was on patrol on December 16, 2019, while Ranger David Barr had the day off, or so he thought.

“That afternoon, we had some pretty volatile weather,” Barr said. “Ryan was running duty, and I stopped him at the boat ramp and told him I would be home if it got bad.”

It got bad at the 2,550-acre park on the Tennessee River near Rogersville. When a tornado warning was issued a little after 5 p.m., Barr donned his uniform and headed into the park to help Robertson warn the patrons and park volunteers of the impending storm.

Full article here

Job Opportunity – WV – Parks Director

******THIS IS EXEMPT (WILL AND PLEASURE) POSITION*******

NATURE OF WORK

Performs highly complex administrative work as the Executive Director of the Parks and Recreation Section of the Division of Natural Resources. Directs the state parks system and daily operations which includes revenue management, operation, maintenance, management, capital improvements, construction, and programming at 35 state parks, 9 state forests and 3 rail trails. Directs the appropriation and administration of the state parks budget including revenue optimization and expenditure analysis; responsible for public relations and legislative liaison on parks and recreation issues. Directs and supervises the work of subordinate managers, performs highly complex administration work as the Executive Director of the Parks and Recreation Section. Special project creation and administration as directed by the Director of the Division of Natural Resources. Performs related work as required.

Full posting here

 

Showcasing the DNR: Reflecting on the centennial year – an open letter from the Parks and Recreation Division chief

A family takes in the scenic Lower Falls at Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the eastern Upper Peninsula, among the many memory-making destinations in Michigan state parks. (Michigan DNR/Courtesy Photo) / © 2018 State of Michigan

Photo: © 2018 State of MichiganIMAGE 1 OF 8

A family takes in the scenic Lower Falls at Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the eastern Upper Peninsula, among the many memory-making destinations in Michigan state parks. (Michigan DNR/Courtesy Photo)

When was the first time you fell in love with Michigan’s out-of-doors?

Most people – whether longtime residents or those here just for a visit – have had that moment when a picture-perfect blue sky, a sweeping shoreline vista, the silence of an old-growth forest or the sound of rushing water has taken their breath away.

This past year we celebrated these wondrous features of our state, and the people who gather amid them, during our state parks centennial.

Michigan state parks, forests, trails and waterways are at the core of the spirit of this Great Lakes state, and we are working hard to ensure that they endure for another century.

Full article here

 

Your Chance to Help Decide the Future of Pennsylvania’s Parks

ridley creek state park

Ridley Creek State Park | Photo via Getty Images

The next 25 years of Pennsylvania state parks are being planned now — and you can weigh in on what will become of the state’s beloved natural destinations.

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is accepting comments on Penn’s Parks for All, a preliminary proposal that includes recommendations for the future of the state’s 295,000-acre park system. It’s the DNCR’s first major park-planning effort in 25 years, following two years of surveying efforts that reached more than 16,000 residents. (The last plan, State Parks 2000 —which was published in 1992— served as the impetus for the State Parks Natural Areas program, which designated 16 areas in the state for special protection and conservation.)

Full article here

 

NEW DIRECTOR OF VIRGINIA STATE PARKS ANNOUNCED

Governor Ralph Northam – Photo courtesy of govenor.virginia.org

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Melissa Baker as Virginia State Parks Director, the first woman to hold the position in the park system’s 83-year history.

Baker most recently served as Director of the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, a cabinet level position. She will oversee 38 state parks and more than 270 full-time employees around the Commonwealth. Virginia’s state parks yield $24 million in tax revenue annually, provide 3,800 jobs, and attract 10 million visitors each year.

“Director Baker is the right choice at the right time to lead Virginia’s renowned state parks,” said Governor Northam. “Her management experience and extensive knowledge of state parks will be an invaluable asset as we work to enhance Virginia’s parks, preserve and protect our precious natural resources, and expand outdoor recreation opportunities in the Commonwealth.”

full article here

Job Opportunities – NM – Design and Development Bureau Chief, and Boating and Law Enforcement Bureau Chief

 Design and Development Bureau Chief (EMNRD #5500, job opening ID 109603)

This position supervises and manages several critical program areas for the Division which are: The Capital Improvement Program; Recreation Trails Program, Bureau of Reclamation Title 28, Land and Water Conservation Fund programs and; the Park Management Plan Program.  his position coordinates all land ownership , transfer and  acquisition transactions and interactions with other agencies for cooperative agreements and easements on State Park lands and leases, including Bureau of Land Management and State Land Office leases. This position manages permitting of water and wastewater facilities and infrastructure to ensure that facilities are in compliance with State and Federal surface and groundwater protection regulations. This position ensures that ground water monitoring wells are adequate for complying with New Mexico Environment Department permits.

Salary   $61,673 – $107,311 Annually

Boating and Law Enforcement Bureau Chief (EMNRD #40860, job opening 109582)

Oversee and direct statewide boating safety, law enforcement and boat access programs at 35 state parks. Responsible for the development and management of (6) major budget funding sources (Boat Excise, Boat Registration, Motor Boat Fuel, U.S. Coast Guard Grant, and Sportfish Restoration Boat Access Grant, and Law Enforcement Program). Develop, allocate, and account for budget totaling in excess of $2.0 million. Approve all purchases for the programs managed. Develop and execute administrative policy, procedures, rules & regulations governing Division park operations. Manage, direct and supervise (3) FTE and provide general supervision to 80 law enforcement FTE. Direct and oversee law enforcement and boating program operations and administration by (5) regional offices and (35) state parks. Develop strategic plan initiatives for Field Operations with specific emphasis on law enforcement and boating programs to meet or exceed the goals, objectives and mission of the Division.

Salary   $61,673 – $107,311 Annually

Both of these positions are located in Santa Fe, NM and are posted until December 18, 2019.  These positions are critical to the operations of NM State Parks and full job descriptions can be found through the NM State Personnel Careers site:  https://careers.share.state.nm.us  or click here

 

Job Opportunity – NV – Park Supervisor

The Position – Nevada Park Supervisor I
Park Supervisors (Commissioned) plan, organize, oversee and participate in the administration, law enforcement, maintenance, interpretive programs and resource management of an assigned State park to include budget administration and supervision of staff.
Incumbents function as first-line supervisors who train, supervise and evaluate the performance of assigned staff; assign and review work; and initiate disciplinary action. This recruitment is for a commissioned Park Supervisor 1 underfilling a commissioned Park Supervisor 2 position. The incumbent may auto-progress after meeting the minimum qualifications for the Park Supervisor 2 classification, satisfactory performance and endorsement by his/her appointing authority. The person selected for this position will be responsible for the management of Big Bend State Recreation Area near Laughlin, Nevada. This water recreation based park includes day use areas, large beaches, a full hook-up campground, and hiking trails.
Management responsibilities include supervision of permanent and seasonal staff, administrative duties including budget development and oversight, collection and reporting of fees, and completion of routine and special reports. This is a commissioned (Law Enforcement) position with public safety responsibilities and is required to work various hours and shifts including holidays and weekends. The person selected will have to be able to work in typical Mojave Desert climates including very hot summers and mild winters.
More details here

Hundreds of thousands more flock to Connecticut parks

Associated Press Aug. 31, 2019 Updated: Aug. 31, 2019 7:44 a.m.Comments2

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Hundreds of thousands more people are visiting state beaches and parks, due in part to a two-year-old program that provides free admittance for vehicles with a Connecticut license plate.

Rough estimates indicate there has been an approximate 10% percent increase in traffic to the parks this season compared to last season, which was the first year of the Passport to Parks initiative, said Tom Tyler, director of state parks for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

There was an estimated 10% jump in attendance in 2018 as well. Approximately 10 million visitors come to Connecticut state parks each year.

“We are seeing another very strong year,” said Tyler, noting there were “a ton of really hot, humid, sunny weekends” that likely contributed to the uptick as well. Tyler said there was also in increase in out-of-state parking fees of about 10%, which likely had a lot to do with the good beach weather.

Full article here

 

Vacancy Announcement – Director, Virginia State Parks

The opportunity

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) seeks a leader and strategist in developing, directing, and promoting a statewide parks and outdoor recreation program as the Virginia State Parks Director.

Virginia State Parks works “to conserve the natural, scenic, historic and cultural resources of the Commonwealth and provide recreational and educational opportunities consistent with the good stewardship of these lands, waters and facilities that leaves them unimpaired for future generations” and is a nationally recognized leader in state park management, twice winning the National Gold Medal Award, and initiating a long list of exemplary programs including First Day Hikes, Youth Conservation Corps Program, Dark Sky designations, Park Rx America program, Pocahontas Rider Center and many more.

As the agency leader responsible for carrying out this mission, the State Parks Director manages a system of currently 38 parks that encompasses:

75,000 acres of conserved property; 55,000 acres of forest;
20,000+ programs and workshops; 2,060 campsites;

651 miles of trails;
488 miles of shoreline;
293 cabins;
36 lakes and ponds;
11 swimming beaches;
6 swimming pools; and
2 international dark sky sites.

Our parks can be found in locations among the highest mountains in the state all the way down to sea level with parks facing the Atlantic Ocean as well as the critical Chesapeake Bay estuary. Our parks can be found ideally-located on 8 major river{s; 4 major lakes; 4 rail trails; and 3 battlefield sites.

The natural resources of Virginia State Parks attract the visitation of over 10 million visitors annually; contributing an economic impact of over $200 million to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The annual operating budget for the system is $45 million. A full time staff of 275 and a wage staff of over 1,000 during the prime season operate and manage the Virginia State Park system.

There are 6 districts within the system and State Park Headquarters is located in Main Street Centre in downtown Richmond, Virginia.

More details, full announcement here

 

Group working to get more African Americans to enjoy great outdoors

BY JENNIFER DEMOSS jdemoss@newsobserver.com

Picture

Hikers take in the scenery after descending the steps during the Outdoor Afro trip to Eno River State Park.

Picture

Hikers on the Eno River Outdoor Afro hike take a moment to cool off.

On a hot July afternoon at Eno River State Park in Durham, a group of hikers assembled. The day had been unbearably muggy, and a thunderstorm loomed in the distance. Despite the sweat streaming down a few faces, the group was there for a hike, and they weren’t giving up.

The hikers were part of the Raleigh-Durham network of “Outdoor Afro,” a national organization aimed at getting African Americans outdoors.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Outdoor Afro’s conception in Oakland, California. Yanira Castro, the nonprofit’s communication director, said that last year Outdoor Afro connected about 35,000 people in the United States with nature through activities such as hiking, camping, rock climbing and cycling.

Outdoor Afro founder Rue Mapp first started what she called “a kitchen table blog” on her outdoor activities out of her Oakland home. She explained how she developed a love for the outdoors through her adoptive parents, who had left the Jim Crow South in the 1940s and built a rural paradise north of Oakland.

Mapp said the blog came about after she noticed that she didn’t always see a lot of other African Americans enjoying the outdoors or see many representations of that in advertising. When interest in her blog began to pick up, she put out a call for more African American leaders to begin guiding outdoor trips.

“I think there are these old stereotypes of black people that black people don’t swim or camp,” Castro explained. “Outdoor Afro shows people there are other people like you who you can go outside with and feel comfortable. We say it’s like finding your tribe.”

Beky Branagan was one of the first Outdoor Afro leaders, and she’s been exploring nature with participants in the Triangle area for eight years. The Raleigh-Durham network now has more than 3,000 members.

Branagan recalled an OA trip to hike Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One of the hikers wasn’t in the best shape and decided she would rest on a bench while the rest walked to the top. But as the group was enjoying the view from the top, strangers began telling them the woman who had stayed behind was now headed their way.

“All of the people that just happened to be climbing that day were cheering her on her way up Clingmans Dome and she made it up,” said Branagan.

 

Full story