I applied to become a Seasonal Park Aide Ranger with Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space in February/March after moving in with my friends in Sparks, Nevada. My interview went well and within 2 weeks or so I got the phone call that they wanted to hire me. I soon began the process of paperwork and orientation videos at HR, finally beginning my position on April 17th, 2014.
I was 2 minutes late. I showed up to Bartley Ranch Regional Park in Reno, NV at 8:02am with my cell phone ringing – it was my new boss. I ran inside as I answered. I was handed my keys, met everyone in the office and then began site orientation. I received a huge radio as well that hang off my hip all day.
My daily routine began by starting up the 20 year old atv that had “PARK RANGER” stickers on every side. I would load it up with the tools that I needed for that day. I went on patrol through the trails at Bartley Ranch, cleaning up litter, fixing trail attributes, removing trash, weeding out interpretive panels, and enforcing rules like dog leash use.
Sometimes I had assignments from my supervisors that involved removing willows and debris from irrigation ditches, weeding out planters and cleaning bathrooms. I was motivated enough to conduct my own projects when I had the time. I removed Rabbits Brush and Sage Brush from an overgrown side trail and resurrected it for equestrian use, I pruned the historic apple and peach trees, grape vines, and strawberry patches while keeping an eye on invasive weeds.
Bartley Ranch Regional Park is the Headquarters for the Truckee River District of Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space. All that means is that the rangers at Bartley Ranch (including me) are required to conduct the same duties at all of the Washoe County Parks along the Truckee River in addition to Hidden Valley Regional Park, Anderson Prairie, as well as Huffaker and Balldini Ranch Trail heads.
The other parks that we drove to on an every other day patrol routine were named Crytsal Peak Park in Verdi, NV, Mayberry Park, Ambrose Park, Dorostkar Park and the Hunter Creek Trail Head in Reno, NV. Occasionally, we would venture to Rancho San Rafael Park in North Reno as well as Galena Creek Park, Bower’s Mansion, and Davis Creek Campground south of Reno and in the Washoe Valley to provide extra hands on deck.