Internship Blog: Pictured Rocks 2019

The Arrowhead: a National Park service boat
The following is a blog entry from one of our ProRangers, Sarah Dover, who is currently spending her summer interning at Pictured Rocks (PIRO). You can find more adventures from Sarah and the other ProRangers over at the intern blog

This week focused a lot on the functions of other divisions and how each is necessary to accomplish PIRO’s mission statement – to preserve a portion of the Great Lakes shoreline, allow access to its geologic, scientific, scenic and historic features, and to offer opportunities for recreation, education inspiration and enjoyment. On Wednesday and Thursday, all of the divisions came together for seasonal training. Some of the things we learned included the history of the park, resources available to park employees, managing payroll, and the importance of personal safety and minimizing risks.

A majority of the visitors are on the tour boats, but a few enjoy the live music at Pictured Rocks Day

In my opinion, the most important part of seasonal training was to meet other park employees and hear about the successes and challenges of each division. For example, the staff for trails crew and maintenance is relatively small, but with their expertise, they are able to maintain 42 miles of trails, multiple campgrounds, bathrooms, government housing, extensive park projects, maintenance backlogs and so much more. The interpretive and education staff strive to inspire and educate visitors about the National Parks and hopefully establish a sincere connection to the resources, but struggle to engage with people that replace visitor centers with social media pages and google searches. The natural and biological resource divisions work hard to study and communicate for the protection and required resources for different species and biodiversity in the park, while battling pollution, climate change, evolving ecosystems and the like.

Just like the other divisions, the role of law enforcement is vital to the function of PIRO. We serve to enforce federal law, protect the visitors and the natural/cultural/historical resources, provide emergency medicine and search and rescue. During the seasonal training we received a call to response to a rescue of a stranded hiker that was experiencing severe muscle cramps. Due to the complexity of the incident and location of the hiker, the law enforcement staff, myself, and a paramedic from Munising took the Arrowhead onto the water to rescue the patient. This was the first time I’ve worked with almost the entire LE staff on an incident. As a team, were able to safely maneuver the Arrowhead along the cliffs, make contact with the patient, and transport the patient back to Munising. When we returned to the staff training, Superintendent Horne asked me to brief the rest of the park on our rescue. Not only were we recognized for our work, but also justified our reason for leaving the meeting. A lot of times, the work law enforcement rangers do is behind-the-scenes, which can result in confusion about the role we play in the park. The more transparent we can be between divisions can hopefully serve to keep divisions unified.

NPS Arrowhead

After seasonal training ended, I spent the next day roving and working on assignments for a class I’m taking to complete the ProRanger Program. It was nice to spend my time in the park getting more comfortable with the location on things, talking with and educating visitors, and getting a head start on my assignments. I chose to spend some of my time in both of the visitor’s center to listen to the extensive knowledge the rangers have about the park. At the visitor’s centers questions about the park, history, trails, geology, wildlife, plants, camping and so much more can be answered. This is a great place for me to learn, gather information to help visitors, and spend time with people from other divisions!

One of my favorite places to connect with visitors is Au Sable Light! Just in time to see the Coast Guard Helicopter

The next big thing that happened this week was Pictured Rocks Day! A street fair took over the marina and hundreds of people came out to ride the cruises, check out the tent stands, and to get some awesome lemonade and fire grilled pizza. Ranger Tuuri, Chief Hughes, and I spent the entire day on the Arrowhead enforcing violations of lifejackets, commercial kayaking, dogs in restricted areas, and backcountry permits. Not only was it a fun day, but listening and working alongside of the rangers on law enforcement contacts has helpful for me to start building on my officer presence, communication skills, and the process for writing tickets.

Chief Hughes and Ranger Tuuri feat. the remains of the lemonade 
PIRO and the Coast Guard often work together, so we make sure to stop and say hello when we cross paths

The weeks are going by fast, but I’m ready for the next one!


Until next time,


ProRanger Dover