Saturday, November 22, 2008

(1) The Patriarchs

Need I say that upon arrival at Zion National Park I immediately
went to the Court of the Patriarchs. Standing before these three
great mountains, looking about and around, I realized that I was
situated in the midst of one of the greatest geological displays
existing on the American continent. The mountains and monoliths
at Zion exhibited all sorts of coloring and formations. Breathtaking,
it was like standing in some grand Temple of Nature!

But now I had to settle in at Zion--as a resource management
specialist. Over my years I had accrued not only experience but
also seniority. This new position was wide-ranging in that it
demanded a considerable overview of the park. Not senior
enough to be a supervisor, nor wishing actually to be one,
I nonetheless had to spread my wings when it came to multi-tasks
and when it came to working with all sorts of people and programs
at the park. Happily I was not totally office bound, though I was
expected to be able to understand scientific and technical material
come my way--and be able to write succinct technical reports.
And that meant working long hours at the desk.

This new position certainly looked to be a challenge. When I
took my degree at Ohio State, in "Wildlife and Wildlands Science
and Management," several courses covered more specifically
resource management. But that was a long time ago. Consequently
I spent nearly a year at Zion as a novice, so to speak. There was
a lot of territory to cover--for example:

• Inventory and Funding
• Potential Liability
• Federal Environmental Regulations
• Habitat Restoration
• Fire Management
• Risk Management
• Corrective Maintenance
• Monitoring (such as for potential diseases)
• Land Acquisition Priorities
• Wildlife Protection
• Cultural Resources
• Volunteer Programs
• Park Store
• Visitor Satisfaction

None of this multi-tasking proved boring. Still it's difficult to talk
in a composite way about all these specific duties. Boiled down,
it amounted to a lot of downright hard work. Engaging in the
over-view and over-sight of a large park system is very demanding,
albeit I was only a member of a dedicated team. One could hardly
say that this work is "fun," though I took some considerable
satisfaction being able to do the job well.

As for specific interests, Zion's geological history proved fascinating.
And more surprising for me was the *aesthetics* of the place. The
beauty in this park simply was overwhelming. Wherever I went in
Zion I was struck with awe and appreciation.

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