Four park rangers from visitor services at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area represented the park in the annual Jamestown, Tennessee, Rotary Club Christmas parade on Saturday, December 3rd.
Rangers Howard Duncan, Sue Duncan, Jessica Moore and Dustin Beaty rode on four horses owned by the Duncans. The park often has mounted rangers participate in local parades and events, as people really love to see rangers on horseback. It is the epitome of an image of park rangers everywhere.
Big South Fork NRRA has over 200 miles of horse trails. Trails are patrolled by rangers on horseback to assist visitors and to assure that regulations are followed. Horses have even been used to help rangers carry injured visitors out of backcountry areas that are difficult to reach.
Horses used in the park must be gentle animals that can handle a multitude of situations. Shanna, Janie, Mouse and Pete are walking and racking horses that have been in many parades, historic events and demonstrations. They have been on nearly all the horse trails within the park. They are very accepting of any and all attention that visitors give them especially if an occasional peppermint treat is offered to them.
Horses are ambassadors for the park. Rangers use both park and employee owned horses for park special events and patrolling the area. Horses being considered for a park mount must go through many test situations before being accepted for the job. They have to be willing to go wherever they are directed and must deal with a wide variety of sights, sounds and situations. Horses that are well trained are a big asset to park.
In the case of the Christmas parade, the horses took on their bells and decorations plus all the sounds of the season. They were a colorful display for the holiday.