State Park Rangers on Duty in Times of Calm and Peril
Mar 27, 2020
The view of the Tennessee River from Joe Wheeler State Park changed dramatically after last December’s tornado. Photo by Chad Davis
Thankfully, with a few exceptions, Alabama State Parks remain open during the COVID-19 restrictions.
And as diligent as always, our park rangers are on duty to deal with any situation that might arise with everything from a welcoming wave and helpful hand to rescuing park visitors in peril.
That peril was particularly apparent last December when a line of storms started moving through north Alabama.
Joe Wheeler State Park Ranger Ryan Robertson was on patrol on December 16, 2019, while Ranger David Barr had the day off, or so he thought.
“That afternoon, we had some pretty volatile weather,” Barr said. “Ryan was running duty, and I stopped him at the boat ramp and told him I would be home if it got bad.”
It got bad at the 2,550-acre park on the Tennessee River near Rogersville. When a tornado warning was issued a little after 5 p.m., Barr donned his uniform and headed into the park to help Robertson warn the patrons and park volunteers of the impending storm.