One of the National Park Service's more famous seasonal employees Edward Abbey wrote about Big Bend in his book One Life at a Time, Please.
Half the pleasure of a visit to Big Bend National Park, as in certain other affairs, lies in the advance upon the object of our desire. Coming toward the park from the village of Lajitas deep in west Texas, we see this rampart of volcanic cliffs rising a mile above the surrounding desert. Like a castled fortification of Wagnerian gods, the Chisos Mountains stand alone in the morning haze, isolated and formidable, unconnected with other mountains, remote from any major range. Crowned with a forest of juniper, piņon pine, oak, madrone, and other trees the Chisos rise like an island of greenery and life in the midst of the barren, sun-blasted, apparently lifeless, stone-bleak ocean of the Chihuahuan Desert. An emerald isle in a red sea.
So where do you get to spend your summer? Seasonal employment with the National Park Service is a great way to hone skills, seek adventure, and earn some money during the summer. But this publication is not about adventure, it's about protecting our employees, visitors, partners and resources from structural fire. So what does Prevention 52 have to do with seasonal employees?
Many seasonal employees live in dormitories or other group housing situations. Many housing units have been unoccupied since last season. We know from doing assessments in the parks that way too many buildings where people sleep have inadequate or no smoke detection devices. Our first concern should be to ensure that no employee sleeps in a building that is not equipped with smoke detection.
Other things to consider for your seasonal employees:
- Seasonal employees are likely unfamiliar with evacuation procedures for the workplace and living accommodations. At a minimum, supervisors should ensure they run fire drills at the beginning of every season.
- Seasonal employees are not likely to have had fire extinguisher training. Ensure each employee is allotted the time to go to DOI Learn and take the NPS fire extinguisher education class.
Quiz Answer: Both of these authors worked as a seasonal ranger for the National Park Service!
Author Edward Abbey wrote about his experiences as a seasonal park ranger in southeastern Utah in the book Desert Solitaire, published in 1968.
Author Nevada Barr has written 17 fictional novels that take place in national parks. She worked as a ranger in many of these park locales.