Behind the Scenes with the Deception Pass State Park Rangers
by Elizabeth Bentz
Waves crashing against the shore, wonderful trails full of tall trees, clean campsites, and magnificent views are the sites that usually greet visitors at Deception Pass State Park. Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes? The Park Rangers at Deception Pass State Park play a large part in what visitors see and experience.
To discover the daily happenings around Deception Pass State Park, I spoke with the rangers about their job. The park has seven rangers that cover over 3,584 acres! These seven rangers take care of many daily park aspects including opening and closing, campground checks, conversing with the public, collecting fees, and the odious chore of cleaning the bathrooms. However, every day presents itself with new and exciting responsibilities.
Ranger Blahnik, the park’s newest Ranger, says the position “is exciting because every day is a little different”. One day there is a seal on the beach to take care of and the next a bathroom faucet is broken. The hodgepodge of tasks keeps her on her toes. Ranger Bowen added to this sentiment saying, “rangers are generalists”, taking on many tasks. He personally loves the aspect of fixing things in the park. He appreciates his ability to make improvements to the park and create something permanent for visitors to enjoy in the years to come.
The diversity of tasks keeps the job exciting but present challenges for the rangers. According to Ranger Watkinson, “the biggest challenge is the growing number of visitors in the park”. Each group of visitors is unique and brings their own set of circumstances. Some challenges where the rangers must think on their feet include finding lost visitors and dogs, water rescues, and storm management.
Whether it is an exciting day or a challenging one, the rangers are all here for a reason, they love Deception Pass State Park. According to the rangers, the beautiful scenery, historic structures, proximity to the ocean, large park team, and ability to work outdoors make this park a wonderful place to work. And it is for many of these same reasons, that visitors come to the park as well. Deception Pass State Park is the most visited State Park in Washington. Although mostly behind the scenes, the rangers make this park a beautiful and wonderful place for visitors to enjoy!