Klondike Gold Rush Park

★☆☆☆☆

About Klondike Gold Rush Park

Sports & Recreation

Sports & Recreation
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The last National Park Service (NPS) interpretive program I attended was at Mount Rainier National Park two years ago, and it was a stinker! I had talked up campfire programs to my wife and had to apologize for bringing her to the worst evening program I'd ever seen in nearly 30 years.

I just moved to Seattle, and on a visit to REI, I talked to a NPS ranger who staffed an info desk inside the store. He is attached to Klondike Goldrush National Historic Park, which is located in downtown Seattle. I decided to visit the park and scheduled my visit so I could attend a walking tour.

Big mistake.

The interpretive ranger, Tim, who lead the tour seemed from the get go to not want to lead the tour. He made no effort to advertise the program, he seemed reluctant to go, and he complained about his feet hurting from the four-mile tour he led yesterday. (I'm not sure how much of this is exaggeration; regardless, this is not a message professional interpretive rangers should be broadcasting.)

Before the walk, Ranger Tim failed to connect with his audience. He never introduced himself nor did he ask about the backgrounds of the 12 visitors attending his program. He began the program late and failed to mention where we'd be going or safety considerations.

We finally left and made our first stop, which seemed impromptu. Ranger Tim didn't seem to be telling a story at all; he was simply relating disjointed facts about Seattle, none of which had to do with the Klondike Gold Rush. Ranger Tim misspoke, twisted his words, and his visual aids, a collection of maps and historical photographs, were disorganized.

The second stop lasted for about 15 to 20 minutes as Ranger Tim droned on and on without any narrative structure. I grew tired of standing still, and looking around, I noticed pained looks on other visitors' faces. I knew at this point, 35 minutes into the "interpretive program", that I had to bail.

This second strike has illustrated for me the dysfunctional nature of the National Park Service. When I got home, I went to the NPS website and learned that Ranger Tim is the Education and Visitor Services Coordinator, a rather lofty title that probably comes with a GS-9 or GS-11 salary (about $45k to $60k a year in Seattle) with premium benefits. These are the people whom the federal government hires. The NPS shuns competent, hard-working people for these stinkers who get in and climb the ladder.

I dug a little deeper and found that this National Historic Site spends about $12 per visitor, which is actually not that high considering some NHPs spend several hundred dollars per visitor. Yet, there is absolutely no way I would be willing to pay $12 to view biased exhibits or to go on a lackluster walking tour, which lacked any cohesive narrative and was presented by someone who seemingly didn't want to be there.

There is no reason (except political) for the Seattle branch of Klondike NHP to exist. The national significance is tenuous at best, as is the significance of the building in which it is located (which was rehabilitated at a cost of $10 million and which the NPS had plans to buy).

This is two strikes in the last two years. I'm very reluctant to go to programs in Olympic or North Cascades. One more strike, and it's over. For good.

0
★☆☆☆☆

The last National Park Service (NPS) interpretive program I attended was at Mount Rainier National Park two years ago, and it was a stinker! I had talked up campfire programs to my wife and had to apologize for bringing her to the worst evening program I'd ever seen in nearly 30 years.

I just moved to Seattle, and on a visit to REI, I talked to a NPS ranger who staffed an info desk inside the store. He is attached to Klondike Goldrush National Historic Park, which is located in downtown Seattle. I decided to visit the park and scheduled my visit so I could attend a walking tour.

Big mistake.

The interpretive ranger, Tim, who lead the tour seemed from the get go to not want to lead the tour. He made no effort to advertise the program, he seemed reluctant to go, and he complained about his feet hurting from the four-mile tour he led yesterday. (I'm not sure how much of this is exaggeration; regardless, this is not a message professional interpretive rangers should be broadcasting.)

Before the walk, Ranger Tim failed to connect with his audience. He never introduced himself nor did he ask about the backgrounds of the 12 visitors attending his program. He began the program late and failed to mention where we'd be going or safety considerations.

We finally left and made our first stop, which seemed impromptu. Ranger Tim didn't seem to be telling a story at all; he was simply relating disjointed facts about Seattle, none of which had to do with the Klondike Gold Rush. Ranger Tim misspoke, twisted his words, and his visual aids, a collection of maps and historical photographs, were disorganized.

The second stop lasted for about 15 to 20 minutes as Ranger Tim droned on and on without any narrative structure. I grew tired of standing still, and looking around, I noticed pained looks on other visitors' faces. I knew at this point, 35 minutes into the "interpretive program", that I had to bail.

This second strike has illustrated for me the dysfunctional nature of the National Park Service. When I got home, I went to the NPS website and learned that Ranger Tim is the Education and Visitor Services Coordinator, a rather lofty title that probably comes with a GS-9 or GS-11 salary (about $45k to $60k a year in Seattle) with premium benefits. These are the people whom the federal government hires. The NPS shuns competent, hard-working people for these stinkers who get in and climb the ladder.

I dug a little deeper and found that this National Historic Site spends about $12 per visitor, which is actually not that high considering some NHPs spend several hundred dollars per visitor. Yet, there is absolutely no way I would be willing to pay $12 to view biased exhibits or to go on a lackluster walking tour, which lacked any cohesive narrative and was presented by someone who seemingly didn't want to be there.

There is no reason (except political) for the Seattle branch of Klondike NHP to exist. The national significance is tenuous at best, as is the significance of the building in which it is located (which was rehabilitated at a cost of $10 million and which the NPS had plans to buy).

This is two strikes in the last two years. I'm very reluctant to go to programs in Olympic or North Cascades. One more strike, and it's over. For good.

 

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