Monday, July 9, 2012

Internship in the Alaskan wilderness

Imagine taking care of a vast Alaskan wilderness for an entire summer. It is about the farthest you can get from a paper-pushing desk job, which makes it perfect for Nick Cornell ’14.

Cornell is participating in a summer internship program in Alaska’s Kachemak Bay State Park. His summer “office” consists of 400,000 acres of mountains, valleys, streams, and lakes. “I wanted to be outside,” said Cornell, a native of Front Royal, Virginia, who is majoring in environmental studies. “I didn’t want to be bored in an office.”

Two years ago, Cornell and his family vacationed in Alaska and visited numerous tourist attractions. That experience made him think about returning to take in more of the wilderness areas.

Cornell’s trail maintenance crew camps in the park for about 10 to 12 days at a time. They hike to various areas to remove trees from trails, cut weeds, and build bridges. Some parts of the park are only accessible by boat, so they spend some time on the water as well.

“This internship has definitely sparked my interest in working with a parks system in a state or at the national level,” he said. “It has taught me how much work you need to put in to make a state park accessible to the public.”

Working in an internship far from home was perfect  “It’s always good to try something, go somewhere, get out of your comfort zone, and explore the country,” Cornell said. “You never know what might spark your interest.”