June 11, 2012

BSP Staff - 2012
This is a photo of the Baxter State Park staff taken at our annual spring meeting on June 5, 2012.  This photo includes most, but not all, of the year round and seasonal staff.  Some staff were out sick or otherwise unable to join the photo op, and some of the seasonal staff have yet to come on board for the summer.  In all, we about 61 employees and more than a dozen interns.  This does not include a number of contractors that help us to get the work done in a variety of ways.  Typically, when I show people this photo, they are surprised at how many people are involved in protecting the Park's resources, providing recreational opportunities and maintaining Park property and public safety.
The photo is a rare and hard to get glimpse at the people behind the Park.  It's hard to get because we only meet as a group twice each year.  While it is helpful to bring everyone together to train and trade information as a group, if everyone is at Park Headquarters in Millinocket, then no one is in the Park.  Because our work takes place mostly in the Park, we can only meet rarely as a group, and when we do, it should be in June - before the Park becomes very busy as it will in July, August and September.
Our all-staff meeting on the 5th included a dense schedule centered mostly around safety.  We reviewed numerous changes to our Standard Operating Procedures Manual, the policy and procedures manual that acts as a guide for Park employees.  We also reviewed new initiatives such as a bucket with salt solution to help Park fishermen ensure their equipment isn't carrying invasive an/or exotic diseases into Park waters.  We spent most of the day going over various safety procedures and protocols such as the use of personal protective equipment, reading and understanding Material Safety Data Sheets, protection protocols for blood borne pathogens, ergonomics in the workplace, and a review of the Job Hazard Analysis process.
It was a long day for Park Rangers more comfortable with active work in the campgrounds and on the trail, but if the training prevents a single serious injury, it was worth every minute.
Safety in the Park goes beyond the Park staff and includes visitors as well.  If you are headed to the Park to hike or camp, be sure to take some time to prepare.  Get in shape for a Katahdin hike if that is your plan - you won't regret it!  Bring a first aid kit and know how to use it.  Be sure to sign the hiking register and be prepared for a hike that lasts longer, is wetter, hotter or drier than you planned.  A map is always a good idea.  If you don't have one, you can start with one of our new downloadable maps on the website.  If you are a regular hiker, you will want to upgrade to one of the commercial maps available.  Most of the mapmakers work closely with us in preparing their maps and the maps are accurate and include a lot of helpful information.
The next time the whole Park staff gets together will be in late October after the Park closes to camping.   It will be here before you know it.  Summer is here! I hope you're enjoying it!