It’s tough finding a job at16 years old, especially in the current state of the economy. I never thought that the state park would hire a teenager for any kind of a job, except for volunteer work. I’m glad I heard about this opportunity; instead of working at a cash register at a grocery store or flipping burgers in fast food joints, I get to be outside, taking photographs, making videos, and writing – a personal favorite hobby of mine.
My job descriptionis to help bring a youth perspective to Virginia State Parks in the Hampton Roads area and get some “real world” experience. Considering it’s my first blog, I thought I’d give just some basic information about the park that is closest to me and what I’ve seen so far.
Jamestown, Virginia. When the park first opened, it only contained 1060 acres; today it holds2,888acres. Within the park are 10 hiking trails, the longest being the 6.1 miles-long Cape Henry Trail; the Cape Henry and Live Oak trails are also available for biking. The campground site is parallel to the beachfront side of the park, while the cabins are within the trails side of the park.
Beginning Adventures in First Landing
During my first few ventures out into the state park, I noticed that it wasn’t just thousands of trees and several trails. The park includes several swamp-like areas with bald cypress trees, and Spanish moss draping over trees is abundant wherever one walks or bikes. The park contains several sand dunes – not just on the beach side of the park, but also within the more wooded areas; some spots have few trees and tall grasses.
Although it is winter right now and many of the trees are leafless, First Landing State Park is quite beautiful during the winter, especially with the December 26, 2010 snowfall (surprisingly, I saw some vacationers in the cabins while the snow was on the ground and roads were icy!).
I came across the Native American replica exhibit along the Cape Henry Trail, which includes what would have been the Chief’s home (a large wigwam) and a primitive canoe and the sacred burial site where Native American remains were excavated in the 1970s-80s and then placed in 1997. A map explained other sites (such as a family area and a temple), and I looked for them. All I found were small rock arrangements and trees, but I enjoyed using the map to find these areas and see how the Native Americans lived compared to our modernized, technologically advanced lifestyle.
Keep checking back for more about getting youth involved and coming to visit state parks AND come out to the park for some outdoor fun!!