Throughout the year we will be promoting pieces from the ProRanger Intern Archives, these are meant to be a day in the life of our interns. These pieces have been trimmed and edited to fit into this format. In the summer of 2018, our Intern Josh Leahy spent his internship at Badlands National Park for the most part. He also made a quick side trip to Mount Rushmore to expand his horizons and get a feel for a different park, train with the Rangers there and share his experiences with us. The original article was posted on July 27, 2018.
Although this summer I have been stationed at Badlands National Park, I have had the great opportunity to transfer to Mount Rushmore for three days of training with the Rangers there. Mount Rushmore is a National Monument and has its own unique setting with the dense traffic of an urban park set in the great outdoors of the Black Hills. This creates a dynamic situation especially in the summer months when thousands of visitors flock daily to see this iconic symbol of our nation.
The first day I got the introductory tour of the park and its facilities and got to see for the first time up close, Mount Rushmore. After the tour, we got right to work assisting on two traffic stops that included drug searches and an open container citation. Both searches did not find anything, but one car did have empty marijuana dispensary bags and a cleaned out pipe, however, there was nothing illegal found in that vehicle.
Continuing into the second day I woke up after the night shift to get my first taste of CrossFit. A different style of working out than I am used to it definitely gave me a great workout and left me sore the next day. After coming on shift for the day we dropped off bones that I had delivered from Badlands and continued on to check on the most elusive trespasser at Mount Rushmore, a small Chihuahua that was loose in the park for the last week. Unable to trap the dog we have been improvising new tactics on the traps in hopes to safely catch the dog, however as of writing this post the dog remains at large in the park. If any has any information concerning this dog or its whereabouts be sure to relay it to a park ranger at Mount Rushmore.
Moving on from the dog we got a medical call from a visitor that had reportedly scraped their elbow and bruised their head in a fall, after applying bandages and an ice pack the visitor denied ambulance services and left the park. We returned to the administration building and went over a multitude of topics for my training including the use of force, superintendent's compendium. and the seasonal academy I have coming up in the Fall.
As darkness enveloped the park, the amphitheater became crowded with people as the time for the night talk, movie, and lights were getting ready to start. On foot patrol, we made sure visitors were being safe and maintained a strong presence in the highly trafficked areas. We maintained this presence through the talks and lighting of the heads as over a thousand people stood in awe of the spectacle before them. After the conclusion of these events, people began to disperse in large numbers and we kept our presence around the congested areas until we headed back to close out our shift in administration.