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An Afternoon with a Park Ranger

My plans for one summer afternoon this past week was to visit the Virginia State Park's Youth Conservation Corp (YCC) team that is stationed at Westmoreland State Park.

They were working on clearing a trail. Simple, I would just take my camera, notes and names and head off. Wrong, when I got to the park there was a major under taking going on at Rock Spring Pond Trail where the crew was working. Trucks full of debris were coming in and out of the hard surfaced accessible trail. Chief Ranger John Fury, thought it best if I ride with him to the location of the YCC. It seems like only one vehicle can pass on the trail at a time and I did not have a radio in my car to communicate with the trucks coming and going.

A trip to visit the Youth Conservation Corps turned into an interesting afternoon with a park ranger at Westmoreland State Park.

The dirty work of clearing debris

They have the system down. A trip to visit the Youth Conservation Corps turned into an interesting afternoon with a park ranger at Westmoreland State Park.

They have the system down!

When I arrived at Rock Spring Pond, I was amazed and very impressed. The staff and YCC crew were working like a very finely tuned machine clearing debris and muck from the old Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) dam that over the years had filled with all kinds of invasive plants, fallen trees and even some very old trash underneath the cover of green. Everyone was covered in the ancient muck from head to toe! The smell of old rotting vegetation took my breath away. Not one complaint did I hear from anyone! They were all working so hard to get the job done.

John Fury, Travis Wyman, YCC and park rangers. A trip to visit the Youth Conservation Corps turned into an interesting afternoon with a park ranger at Westmoreland State Park.

Chief Ranger John Fury, Park Ranger Travis Wyman (a former YCC crewmember), YCC and park rangers

I have ceased to be surprised by the quality of people that we hire at Virginia State Parks. We, for the most part, seem to recruit the best of the best. I watched as our new Chief Ranger Fury worked side by side with the YCC, park rangers, Dan Ransom, Travis Wyman and a few new faces I did not recognize. I thought to myself, what a team. Even though they were all very busy and getting muddier by the minute, they made sure to look after me. John offered his hand to assure I could safely navigate obstacles in my way and checking on me to see if I needed anything, Travis with a nice cold drink of water and making me laugh as usual, and Dan made sure to say hello with a cheery greeting even though he was busy on the tractor. All the while John was on the phone and radio taking care of the needs of cabin guests and other things in the park. Impressive to say the least!

Dan Ransone - A trip to visit the Youth Conservation Corps turned into an interesting afternoon with a park ranger at Westmoreland State Park.

 Park Ranger Dan Ransom

If you would like to plan an overnight stay, Westmoreland State Park offers cabins, a lodge and camping, click here for more information or call 1800-933-PARK. With banner weekend visitation, the best time to visit the park is in the middle of the week when summer crowds are less likely. For a one day visit, kayaking, swimming, fishing, hiking and biking are just some of the fun things to do at the park, there is even some pretty good shopping in the gift shops!

If you are interest in one of the many fascinating programs like fossil hunting, please check out the events calendar. Murphy Hall located on the top of the cliffs, is perfect for meetings, weddings or family reunions. Westmoreland State Park is located south east from Fredericksburg near the town of Montross, Virginia. Click here for a Google map. For more information on the park, please call (804) 493-8821.


Published: 07/27/2014


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