Last updated: May 1, 2014
The closer we get to our Opening Day, the busier the flurry of activity here at The Monument. Our Facilities Management Team has already been up the trail several times, closing the large mesh rock gate that stops (some of) the rock fall that plagues our trail. The trail is shoveled of the snow, ice, and rock that collected there since last season. And each trip brings some of the essential supplies we use at the cave, like emergency equipment, lights and caving helmets for the Intro to Caving Tour, and essentials to re-stock the historic Last Chance restroom.
The team also double-checks every light in the cave, trail lights as well as feature lights. There is no darkness anywhere like the dark of a cave, and so extra steps are taken to ensure the electrical system is in working order. Although we are always prepared for a lights-out scenario, it’s always better for the visitor if they can actually view those beautiful colors and formations they hiked so far to see.
Meanwhile, the Resource Management Team has already taken temperature, humidity, and water samples to add to its data collection. The more we understand about the cave and how it is when people are not in it, the better it can be managed to preserve it for our children’s children. Lint and other signs of human life that may have been missed at the end of last season are also removed so that the cave can be seen in its most natural state.
Not to be left behind, the Interpretive Team is not only practicing techniques on how you give a great cave tour, they are learning the latest theories on cave geology and speleogenesis. They’re also practicing for emergencies on the trail and in the cave. Because front-line interpreters are often the first to respond, multiple scenarios are prepared for.
It’s only because of our awesome Administration Team that all this gets done, as they work behind-the-scenes to make sure background checks are completed and paperwork is in place. With their perfect understanding of things the rest of us struggle to comprehend, they are an essential part of our operation. Across the street, the VUA’s prepare the visitor center for Junior Ranger programs, book sales, videos overviews, safety messages, and the millionth asking of that age-old question “Where are the Restrooms?”.
When the first visitors purchase their tickets and begin the hike that leads them to the perfect cave tour, they will have no idea of the work that happened so they could have that magical moment of connection, that “ah-ha” as they become true stewards of the national parks. As one of over 400 NPS sites across America, Timpanogos Cave prepares for the summer season like a well-oiled machine, each piece part of the greater whole that makes up the Monument, and the entire National Park Service.