Completed: August 30, 2015
Capitol Reef is a very favorite NPS site, a place I have visited numerous times over the years since my first visit in 1975. However, until this visit I had not completed the Junior Ranger program. The first goal of this visit was to get a campsite. Our last visit in October 2012 we arrived by 4 PM and missed getting the last campsite. Today we arrived by 2:30 and had no trouble getting a space – yeah! Once we had a campsite I went to the Visitor Center to pick up the Junior Ranger Activity Book.
The booklet gives two age ranges; 8 years or younger and 9 years or older. This program is Senior Friendly as there is no upper age limit. To qualify for the award the follow activities need to be completed: Ranger Interview or Attend A Ranger Program, Responsible Rangers, A Clean and Safe Park, and National Park Sites for both age groups. For the older age group 3 of the 4 following activities need to be completed; Orchard Walk, What’s In A Name, Heritage Rocks and Deer are Wild.
I completed all of the required plus a few additional. The Ranger program by Ranger Nick was excellent. It was titled “Life Within the Layers”, presenting the four primary types of fossils that are found within the park. I appreciated that he gave out a handout of the geologic layers, this made it easy to follow the information he provided. After discussing the fossils he had a sample of each to pass around; swim smears in the Moenkopi formation, petrified wood and roots in the Chinle formation, fern leaf and oyster shell, both during the Cretaceous period.
Another interesting activity was looking at the petroglyphs at a pullout to the east of the visitor center. The variety and size of the images leaves so many unanswered questions, but interesting to view.
A unique feature of Capitol Reef is the Fruita district, just beyond the visitor center and along the 10 mile Scenic Drive. Fro. The early pioneer days there are orchards that the park service have maintained and are open to the public for UPick. The orchards that are available for picking have a donation box and scale for you to determine the price. We enjoyed some fresh picked apples for dinner.
Once I completed the required activites I returned to the visitor center. A very personable SCA staff member reviewed my booklet and awarded me the enhance badge and attractive patch.