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Living her dream job: Knick shares experiences as park ranger

Kaitlyn Knick

Kaitlyn Knick’s childhood dream job has become a reality, and it has been everything she had hoped it would be — and then some.
Knick, daughter of Ron and Jill Knick of Brownton and a 2011 graduate of Glencoe-Silver Lake High School, is a ranger for the U.S. National Park Service, working in national parks.
And this past season, working at Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior, off the northeast corner of Minnesota and north of Michigan, Knick was involved in “the most extensive rescue this park has ever seen.”
A group of girls and chaperones were on a camping trip and had camped in a remote area of the park, which is entirely an island. They had strung a hammock between two trees — unfortunately, one of the trees was dead. Two girls were lying in a hammock when a third girl tried to jump on it. The dead tree toppled on top of the two girls who were already in the hammock, causing spinal and internal injuries.
Because of the remoteness of the campsite, adult chaperones were unable to use their cell phones to call for help. Two of the girls hiked to one of the island’s bays — a trek of four miles — where they were able to flag down a passing boat. Again, cell service was spotty and the boat had to travel to the Canadian border, where the Coast Guard was contacted.
The Coast Guard then called the rangers on Isle Royale to apprise them of the situation.
Because of the hike and the boat trip, it was at least a couple of hours before word got out about the accident.
Knick, who had just finished an extensive visit with family, was napping at about 6:30 p.m. when a supervisor ran into the rangers’ dorm.
“Who’s sober?” was the first question from the supervisor, Knick said with a laugh.
The rangers put together a team of about 20 rescuers, who then muscled stretchers inland over rough trails to the girls. The stretchers have a wheel in the middle, which the team put on the trail. In some points, the trail is only about 18 inches wide. The rangers had to walk on either side of the trail, tripping over rocks and roots, to get the stretcher to the campsite.
“The ground isn’t level,” said Knick. “We were hopping over rocks and small trees and wading through rivers.”

 

The complete article can be found in the Oct. 19 print edition of The Chronicle.

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