The Citizen’s Park Ranger Academy, slated to begin Sept. 20, will offer interested people a glimpse of what it’s like to be a state park ranger.
Last year, 14 students between the ages of 24 and 74 attended the Citizen’s Park Ranger Academy. Some of the highlights for participants included driving the Bobcat tractor, wildland firefighting and the helicopter landing zone class.
Dinosaur Valley State Park Police Officer Robert Enckhausen says he sees the Citizen’s Academy as a way to help area residents and local business community members better understand their local state park and to garner greater park support. The classes will be taught by park staff.
The four-week course, which runs through Oct. 18, will consist of classes each Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Academy participants must be at least 15 years of age. If the student is between the ages of 15 and 17 they must be enrolled in high school or equivalent.
“Entering the second year of the Citizen’s Park Ranger Academy, the staff at Dinosaur Valley State Park is excited to share our new addition of archeology to the academy,” says Tracy Mays, a staff member of Dinosaur Valley State Park. “Tony Lyle, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Cultural Resource Specialist, will be joining us to help educate students on the importance of cultural resources within the state. This year will be a great year to join our program and we look forward to working with new and familiar faces.”
Participants must be physically and mentally prepared to walk, hike, crawl, dig, stand, jump, lift and perform other physically demanding tasks as part of the academy. Academy graduates will receive a certificate and t-shirt.
Academy students will be exposed to various areas of park field operations, trained in search-and-rescue and wildland firefighting techniques, park law enforcement and learn about park interpretive programs. On most days, students will be asked to apply their new-found skills in simulated scenarios.
Dinosaur Valley State Park, located just northwest of Glen Rose in Somervell County, is a 1,524-acre scenic park set astride the Paluxy River. Opened in 1972, the park is world-renowned for its ancient dinosaur tracks found in the river bed.