Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Meet Ranger Alison VanDusen

Hey everyone meet Ranger Alison!

Ranger Alison has been with the National Park Service as a full-time and seasonal ranger for 16 years!

She stopped by our campsite to greet us and introduce herself. We really appreciate when the NPS Rangers do that because it associates a human touch - a face with America's favorite institution.

I was thinking as we talked about our comparative commute.  I drive 67 miles each way from home to work and back again.  Alison hops onto the Park Service boat and commutes from Hozomeen down lake to various campsites and trail heads.

Alison has worked at a number of National Parks including Glacier Bay, Yellowstone, Capitol Reef, Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia.

We invited her into our camp to do a quick look see and offer any suggestions.

The first thing she gently and quietly reminded us was that there are bears in North Cascades National Park as well as other animals, and unless we are preparing food and eating it right then, all food items should be placed in the bear boxes and shut tight.

Dohhhh! Sage, Lin, and Kae told us that at the wilderness center but we were so happy and excited to get a good campsite that we forgot that putting food in the bear boxes  didn't just apply to locking up at night when we go to bed!

We asked Alison for any other words of advice based on her experience,  here are her words:

1. Food Storage - 24 hours a day unless actively preparing or eating,
2. Keep a clean camp with minimal clutter.
3. Only use a fire ring to burn in.  Monitor the fire ring full time.
4. No garbage in fire rings, other people will share this site after you leave.
5.The world has become so small that we have to recognize our effect on the environment. Eliminate exotics.  All of our actions affect other things.
6. It doesn't have to be an elaborate trip to a crowded national park.  Stop, listen and enjoy yourselves to a maximum here in the North Cascades.
7. Enjoy the little things as well as the grand.

Alison?  Would you mind terribly if we traded commutes?

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