Hitch Report 1

On Wednesday May 30th, we arrived at the Kansas City airport at 4:15pm. The next day we discussed our food preferences and our shopping list. We had a shopping list and started noting supplies for the house. As hitch leader, John Tyler Barnes started his hitch duties. Next, our team visited Clinton Lake, spoke with Park Ranger David Rhodes and gathered cones and other safety equipment that had arrived.

Having solidified team members’ responsibilities in regards to cooking and cleaning, our team was delineated into pairs and assigned our survey sites. On Sunday, June 3rd, teams traveled to their respective sites to get familiar with each site’s particular amenities and discuss practical locations to survey visitors. The next day, Dan traveled with teams to their sites to further analyze proper survey “set up” sites. This preliminary work really prepared our crew for our first week of work.

Throughout the following week, our team identified goals for the summer, planned meals for the next month (the food database prepared by Alex Olsen was a big help), and continued to plan for the start of our surveys. On Monday, June 11th, our crew worked its first Conservation Day. Ranger David Rhoades at Clinton Lake had various tasks allocated to our team. The first part of the day, we performed trail maintenance on a ¾ mile loop of trail behind the visitor’s center. Then, we restored a children’s playground in the afternoon.

Finally, we began our first week of work. For all three teams, the first day was pretty slow. We arrived at our sites about an hour before our survey start time to ensure that we had plenty of time to set up. Although there were only a few full surveys given out, it was still good to arrive early the first couple days. Later in the week, a few sites, particularly those that encompass a multitude of recreational amenities, really accelerated in visitation. By the weekend, all three teams had instituted a strategy for relaying information, and keeping visitors calm and interested in taking surveys.