The following article first appeared in the November 13, 1980 edition of “Paydirt”. “Paydirt” was the newsletter for the now defunct Property Administration Agency. It was a “County of Ventura” agency.
ONE RANGER’S SUMMER
T. Drew Mashburn
YEAH! October is here! Summer is over!!! It’s time for a breather. This isn’t suppose to be any fancy written expose’. I just thought I’d share my summer experience with you. Ever wonder what a Park Ranger really does? I figure summer runs from Memorial Day weekend through September in our parks.
— I put out a trashbin fire on the Rincon Parkway.
— I extinguished a vehicle fire on the Rincon Parkway. — I saw several foxes, many owls, quite a few red tree squirrels, and opossum and a doe in Soule Park. (Did you know that we’ve even had bears and a mountain lion in Soule?) — I had at least two camping trailers and one car towed away for non- payment of fees.
— I replaced at least two dozen wooden toll gate arms at Soule and Foster Parks. A large percentage of the public still doesn’t understand that taxes no longer support their parks. We’ll get them educated though! Our county fair booth did a good job of that. (Good job, Doyle!)
— I out maneuvered at least 693 biting dogs. You ought to see this chubby boy cook when he sees fangs!
— I explored recently discovered Chumash Indian rockart in one of our parks. (Sorry, the location is still a secret until we have a means of protection.)
— I celebrated my 6th anniversary with the Parks Department.
— I was in charge of operations for the Rincon Parkway during the first summer of existence. (Phewie!!!)
— I supervised many fine seasonal Rangers on our newly instituted Reserve Ranger Program. Man, were they ever a big help! Thanks, gang!
— I personally collected around $19,060 in various types of fees, but it seems more like a million!
— I got beat out my “Yosemite” John for the new Senior Ranger position. That’s all right though. I’ve go him trained the way I want him. (Heh, heh. Just kiddin’ buddy. Welcome aboard!)
— I issued approximately 60 citations for various violations. Hook ’em and book ’em!
— I issued around 200 written warnings.
— I issued at least 100, 932 verbal warnings. (That’s got to be close!)
— I probably racked up about 5,000 miles on my pickup. That’s a lot of windshield time.
— Had one death. Unfortunately a young boy ran out in front of a vehicle on the Rincon Parkway.
— Had several injuries in the parks: A little boy pulled a motorcycle over on top of himself at Hobson and broke his leg. A young woman broke her ankle at Faria tripping over a rock on the beach. Another lady at Faria tripped over a rock and put her upper teeth through her lower lip. And a middle-aged gal slipped coming down her motorhome steps at Faria which resulted in one sprained ankle and a broken ankle. I patched up a skin abrasion on a young lad who flopped his bicycle on the asphalt. (Yep, it happened at Faria too!)
— I had the pleasure (?) of dealing with several “outlaw” bikers most of the summer. Some were Hell’s Angels. They took a liking to a couple of our parks.
— I saw numerous seals, sharks, brown pelicans, bikinis, and various other sea life in the Rincon area.
— I took my first summer vacation since I’ve been with this department. I hit a quarter slot machine at Tahoe for 125 bucks!
— I assisted the C.H.P. and Sheriff’s on a couple of automobile accidents by flagging traffic.
— I answered more visitor complaints than one can comprehend. We get some of the same complaints over and over. By the end of the summer I thought I was a tape recorder.
— I saw thousands and thousands of smiling faces on our park visitors. I take each one of these smiles as a compliment to our department and they heavily out weigh the complaints I have to answer. The smiles make it all worth while.
All in all, it was a good summer. It was pretty busy, but pretty mild as far as problems go.
4 Replies to “ONE RANGER’S SUMMER”
Thanks for the memories. Lots of momentous stuff happens in our lives if only we had the forsight to save the information for later.
If published it will make a seriously good read. Congratulations on so many fun years as a Ranger.
I logged 41 years as a Park Ranger with the Ventura County Parks Department. Like any job, it had its “Ups & Downs”, but overall, it was a terrific career. In fact, it’s been one of the highlights of my life. Thanks for the “Congratulations”. It was my honor to serve!
Good to know what a park ranger REALLY does! Good, honest, useful work!
Reading your post reminded me of my work at Arroyo Verde Park in Ventura. The job involved a lot of public interaction, which was what most people believed our job was, and the hard work of cleaning and restocking restrooms, picking up trash, emptying trash receptacles and clearing trails for safety. The bulk of the work was groundskeeping on a 17 acre park: mowing, edging, fertilizing, spraying, thatching, and sweeping turf so that it looked like a beautiful place to spread a blanket for a picnic. My crew consisted of 5 full time groundskeepers and numerous ‘volunteer’ probation violators. You probably had guys like them too. Anyway, these are just some memories that popped up regarding your post. I could go on writing of instances in my experience similar to yours, but this is your post.
You did a good job, Drew, for a long time. You made a difference to everyone you helped during your long tenure, to everyone who approached you with the expectation of getting helped, who asked you for information, who needed assistance with some little thing to make their holiday more pleasant. To make their memory of their time at the beach good. In those small ways you added to the collective good and to the storehouse of love and kindness we all draw from.