The Life of a Vermont State Park Employee: As told by John McDonough

The life of a Vermont State Parks employee working at Elmore State Park has its perks. On any given day my job description may consist of kayaking out into the lake to take water sample, working alongside our knowledgeable and engaging park staff, and enjoying being outside in the most beautiful state in the country. One thing that is unfortunately not in my job description is using all of our toys and equipment that we keep in the closet of our contact station. One day while getting myself situated for work I stumbled across this closet that I never knew existed. It was filled with a badmitton set, horseshoes, a croquet set, and more frisbees than I had seen in my entire tenure of walking the quad at college.

I picked a horse shoe off of the shelf, and feeling its heft in my hand and saw a faded set of initials written on it. This made me think of the owner who might have left it. Why did they leave it? Did the tent not go in the back of the station wagon as elegantly as it fit on the way to the lake? Was it too far for them to come back and retrieve said horse shoes? I proceeded to spend part of the afternoon organizing the closet, wiffle balls in this section, mallets over here. Through this process I came to realize that all of these once belonged to someone and each had their own story attached and were here for a reason. While it is not in my job description to play wiffle ball on the beach or Frisbee on the lawn, as our guests it could very well be in yours. Without you, our horse shoes remain unthrown and all of the fun stuff that has fallen off of the back of visitor’s cars through the years would be left behind for nothing! The way I see it, the things left behind are not truly forgotten, rather they are a gift to you that past visitors didn’t realize they were making. Some come throw one of our footballs around… it might be yours anyway!


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