Always Striving for a Better Park

Hi everyone, these past couple of weeks have kept me quite busy as I have been working on a variety of assignments. In the process of filling in data needs for the project I am working on, I have had to interview/work with staff members from different divisions. Every division has its own pool of knowledge and I set out to gather information on the visitor experience, illegal activities at the park (homeless encampments, illegal bike trails), fire road standards, and invasive species, among other things. I was able to glean useful information and write summaries about these in order to share what I gathered with the team involved in my project. We were also able to identify what we need to put more effort into understanding, such as the visitor experience. It is important for parks to have a good understanding about the visitor experience in order to better accommodate them and make improvements when necessary. My team is making plans to put together a survey to hand out to visitors, which we all believe could be very fruitful. Another highlight from my staff interviews was going on a site visit with someone from the nonprofit organization Friends of Alhambra Creek. I wanted to gather more information on the restoration work that has occurred on the creek, so I contacted the organization to set up a site visit meeting. Being alongside the representative from the organization, I was able to learn much more about the site I am studying. He walked me through the restoration work (literally) and also identified a variety of plant species that are thriving at this site. The restoration work that has been done is very active work and requires a lot of maintenance, especially because at this particular site the people who used to live there changed the creek’s course so that they could build a road. For many years, humans and this creek have been at odds. The creek wants to continue doing what it is meant to do, to flood and carry debris, but humans want to tell it what to do so we build inlets, ditches, and physically remove debris. It will be interesting to wait and see what the National Park Service decides on for the fate of the creek. Will they help it run its natural course again or continue to actively push it out of the way?

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