Consider what our state and national parks would be like if people who safeguard them were not there. Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites will be honoring these men and women throughout July in honor of World Ranger Day on July 31. This yearly festival remembers people who have been wounded or died while defending parks throughout the world and honors their efforts in maintaining natural and cultural treasures.
Several tales of rangers protecting the delicate balance between natural ecosystems, outdoor recreation, historic preservation, and education will be published on the park system’s social media platforms throughout July. Crooked River State Park in St. Mary's is one example. Assistant Manager Patrick Turknett reacted swiftly to an out-of-control boat, saving the driver and preventing severe damage to the vessel. Robbie Graper, a ranger at Vogel State Park in Blairsville, was recently recognized for his construction and heavy equipment abilities. Graper has constructed campsites, trails, bridges and supervised clean-up crews after hurricanes Irma and Michael. Sweetwater Creek State Park in metro Atlanta is another example. Sarah Kelehear, a ranger, has made it her goal to teach tourists about backyard wildlife and how they may help preserve native animals.
On Saturday, July 31, park visitors may participate in a variety of activities throughout Georgia. The Junior Ranger program will nurture the next generation of park rangers via guided walks, trail cleanups, paddling trips, and other activities. For example, hard Labor Creek State Park near Rutledge will offer a bonfire with s’mores and stargazing. Basic outdoor survival skills will be taught at Laura S. Walker State Park in Waycross. Kids may earn Junior Ranger badges while creating pinecone bird feeders at the New Echota Cherokee Capital in Calhoun.
Visit GaStateParks.org to learn more about these public activities and the month-long celebration. Guests are invited to post pictures taken while visiting parks and activities using #GaStateParks and #WorldRangerDay. The Georgia State Park system, which is part of the Department of Natural Resources, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year.
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