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Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences
Grand Prismatic Spring: Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone NP
The Grand Teton Mountains South of Yellowstone Park
Bears In Moran, WY
DEEGS Student Complete Summer Internship at Yellowstone National Park

DEEGS Student Robert Tuck completed a summer internship with the National Park Service at YellowstoneNational Parkin Wyoming.  The National Park Service (NPS) is under the US Department of the Interior (DOI), as is the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) that he worked with last year in Idaho. He was chosen for this position through the Student Conservation Association (SCA), as was the case for the BOR position. The position was for Backcountry Ranger Intern at the Snake River Ranger Station, part of the South District Rangers based out of the “town” of Grant. He was stationed 55 miles NNW from Jackson, WY, which was the closest town not in a National Park.

The first week in Yellowstone allowed him to acclimate to the 6500 foot+ elevation of the park. The rangers and Robert worked on building a corral for the horses that would be living at the Snake River Ranger area, near the border of John D. Rockefeller Parkwayand YellowstoneNational Park. He stripped the bark off lodgepole pines, dug holes for the hitching posts and prepared the stable for the horses. During this time, he also learned proper chainsaw maintenance and operation, axe and crosscut operation and maintenance, and became CPR and First-Aid Certified.

After his training, he began his fieldwork. The first project he worked on was the transfer of an outhouse at Outlet Cabin on the shore of Shoshone Lake, the largest lake in the contiguous US that cannot be accessed by road. This trip he learned kayak and canoe skills as he traveled to the cabin. This was one of the few trips that did not involve trail clearing.

Much of the work trips were to clear trail in Bear Management Areas, just before they were opened to the public. He operated under “wilderness” guidelines because this is what the head ranger desired, it is not demanded by the park service. His initial clear of trails enabled us to use chainsaws, after that we used axe and crosscut. Both styles have their advantages, chainsaws are quicker, but need fuel, oil and release emissions. Axe and crosscut saws were lighter, but took more physical effort.

Robert really enjoyed his experience with the National Park Service this Summer.  Robert would like to became a full-time employee with the National Park Service in the future in some exotic location and felt this internship was excellent preparation for this type of career.