Park ranger details duties of the job to Summer Readers

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, June 10, 2015

NW0610 Summer Reading B

Some superheroes have utility belts, but one local hero has a duty belt instead.

Roan Mountain State Park Ranger Meg Guy shared information about all the duties a park ranger does during the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library’s second Summer Reading Program session of the year.

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This year, the Summer Reading Program theme is Super Heroes, but the ECCPL put its own spin on the theme and is taking the opportunity to recognize a wide range of local heroes this summer.

“Ranger Meg is one of our heroes because she does so much at the state park,” Children’s Librarian Ashlee Wiliams said. “She keeps the park safe; she keeps the people safe and she keeps the animals safe. If someone needs help, Ranger Meg is there. She is our hero.”

During her visit to the library, Guy told the young readers about all the different tasks a park ranger has to do in a day. Park rangers are also law enforcement officers, Guy told the children, and help protect the park in many different ways. As a law enforcement officer, Guy is able to make arrests and issue citations in the park for offenses that occur.

She started by showing them the tools on her duty belt and telling them how they could help. For example, her walkie talkie can be used to radio for help, her flashlight can be used to find people or animals in the dark, and her gun can be used if she needs to protect herself or other park visitors from danger.

“I protect the park from the people, the people from the park and I help keep people and animals safe from each other,” Guy said.

Guy uses education programs to teach visitors how to respect and protect the land, and how to interact with animals in a way that is safe for both. One of the biggest issues she deals with are people who want to feed the wildlife.

“It is not safe for the animals to have people feed them,” Guy told the young readers. “Their stomachs are different from ours, and they can’t handle the same food that we can. Also, if they get used to people feeding them, they will start to come up to cars and get hit and hurt. Even if it is natural food like apples, it is not OK to feed the animals.”

Guy is also there to help when people visiting the park need her. She is trained as an EMT and has a large first aid kit that can handle almost any medical situation until the patient can get help from the rescue squad or a doctor.

Not every issue is life-threatening, though. Guy, and other park rangers, provide assistance to visitors for everyday problems too.

“I use my jumper cables more than I use my first aid kit,” she said.

Guy also works in the park doing maintenance on plants, making sure trash and litter are picked up and any other task that comes her way.