Well, I know it has been quite a bit of time since my last post but honestly I believe I have a legitimate excuse!
As many of you know, I am officially retired from my first profession. However, for the past four seasons I have been employed as a seasonal park ranger at Staunton State Park in Pine, Colorado. Well, my seasonal employment is full time for six months (May-Nov). So, since May 1st I have been working full time. For my past three seasons time has been spent readying the park for its anticipated grand opening to the public. The opening date was set at the end of last fall for May 18, 2013.
As you can well imagine, the first several weeks of this season has been very busy to say the least! This has been a great opportunity to learn about all of the day to day operations required to keep a state park functioning smoothly. From first hand experience, let me say it takes a lot of dedicated employees and loads of hard work to ensure our guests have a great time while in our park.
The original 1,700 acres of the park were donated by a kind woman named Francis Staunton way back in the mid 1980’s. Since then, the state has been acquiring additional properties through our GOCO lotto funding. The park now stands at 3,828 acres and includes a 100′ waterfall, four ponds, beautiful creeks, majestic rocky spires and historic cabins. From my very first visit I have been calling Staunton a “mini-Yosemite.” This observation was validated one day when I overheard the director of state parks described Staunton the very same way.
On May 18th we opened Colorado’s 42nd state park to large crowds. It has been very busy since day one and our employees have been charged up by the public’s excitement. Finally, we are able to share this gem with others.
On June 8th, the Denver Chapter of the Americans on the Camino will be visiting Staunton for a training hike up Mason Creek Trail. I am really looking forward toward meeting all those in attendance. I will be leading a discussion about the park’s history and features while Sandy will be hiking with the group. Unfortunately, no hiking for me as I will be on-duty.
If you ever get the opportunity to visit Staunton State Park, 35 miles west of Denver on US 285, please do so. I guarantee that you will always remember your experience.