Ter­rapin Park mapped, marked with GPS

Record Observer - - News - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — For the past year, Phil Starkey, ranger su­per­vi­sor for the parks depart­ment, along with the county’s Depart­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices and the Geo­graphic In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems depart­ment worked on a grid and map­ping sys­tem for Ter­rapin Na­ture Park to aid with lost or in­jured per­sons walk­ing through­out the park.

And since July 1, the 276acre na­ture park, lo­cated at 191 Log Ca­noe Cir­cle in the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Busi­ness Park, has been mapped and marked with 10 foot tall poles ev­ery 500 feet mark­ing var­i­ous lo­ca­tions along the trails so in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion pedes­tri­ans can quickly lo­cate them­selves to re­spond­ing po­lice or emer­gency ser­vice units.

With a to­tal of 30 poles that are GPS co­or­di­nated to the 9/11 cen­ter vary­ing in blue, yel­low and red paint, each with as­so­ci­ated let­ter­ing and num­ber­ing, pedes­tri­ans in need now have a quick way to no­tify re­spon­ders of their lo­ca­tion. Each col­ored pole has an A, B or C des­ig­nated to it to match which grid in the park they are in. Poles in blue marked with the let­ter A are in the north­ern part of the park, red paint and B mark­ings are des­ig­nated for the mid­dle of the park and yel­low paint and C mark­ings are des­ig­nated for the south­ern­most part of the park.

When an in­ci­dent in the mid­dle of last sum­mer forced emer­gency ser­vice units into the park to lo­cate a car on fire, they had dif­fi­culty find­ing it due to the park’s size. Af­ter­ward, the three par­ties be­gan dis­cussing ways to im­prove safety and re­sponse at the park, Starkey said

Two weeks be­fore the sys­tem was im­ple­mented, Starkey said a per­son went into car­diac ar­rest on the beach but re­spond­ing units had a tough time find­ing the per­son as they searched up and down the beach. Had the sys­tem been in place, the per­son in need could have said they were at the A6 lo­ca­tion and the unit’s GPS would have lo­cated ex­actly where that pole was.

“[When] some­body calls for an am­bu­lance, they need an am­bu­lance,” Starkey said. “They don’t need some­body to be wan­der­ing around for 20 min­utes look­ing, try­ing to find them.”

As a per­son en­ters the trail sys­tem from the park­ing lot, a sign with an en­larged park map dic­tates where all of the poles are lo­cated through­out the park. Starkey said brochures are be­ing cre­ated with in­for­ma­tion about Ter­rapin Na­ture Park on one side and the map with the var­i­ous points on the other side that will be avail­able at the park­ing lot en­try area.

Though the poles help peo­ple know their ex­act lo­ca­tion for a cri­sis sit­u­a­tion, the poles are not con­nected to a tele­phone, so any­one in need of help must have a cell phone on hand to make the ini­tial call for help.

Starkey said this is the only park in the county that uses this map­ping sys­tem. Be­cause most of the parks in the county are 40 to 50 acres and have bet­ter vis­i­bil­ity, he said, a sys­tem like this is not as cru­cial in those lo­ca­tions. The Cross Is­land Trail, a six and a half mile trail span­ning from Ter­rapin Na­ture Park to the Ch­e­sa­peake Her­itage and Visi­tor Cen­ter at the Kent Nar­rows, has mile mark­ers with GPS co­or­di­nates for emer­gency ser­vice units.

Starkey said the na­ture park has four rangers des­ig­nated to the grounds, work­ing from sun up to sun down on var­i­ous days. With the ad­di­tion of new park rangers, now up to a to­tal of seven, Starkey said he hopes his team can even­tu­ally spend more hours at the park as all of the rangers are not full time yet.

Not only can the poles help re­spon­ders lo­cate a per­son in need, Starkey said, but the poles are also good tools for the rangers to use to di­rect peo­ple to cer­tain lo­ca­tions in the park. The rangers can tell a per­son to turn at cer­tain poles rather than use gen­eral terms to try and di­rect some­body the fastest way back to the park­ing lot, for ex­am­ple.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact the Depart­ment of Parks and Pub­lic Land­ings at 410758-0835.

Fol­low Mike Davis on Twit­ter: @mike_k­ibay­times.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

A map of Ter­rapin Na­ture Park in Stevensville, lo­cated at the en­try way of the trail sys­tem by the park­ing lot, shows where all of the 30 GPS-marked poles through­out the grounds are lo­cated so pedes­tri­ans in need can lo­cate their po­si­tion to emer­gency ser­vice units. The pro­gram was im­ple­mented in the park on July 1.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

As of July 1, 30 blue, red and yel­low mark­ers with as­so­ci­ated let­ter­ing and num­ber­ing are lo­cated through­out Ter­rapin Na­ture Park in Stevensville to help pedes­tri­ans in need of as­sis­tance lo­cate their po­si­tion so emer­gency ser­vice units can quickly re­spond. Each pole can be lo­cated by emer­gency ser­vice and po­lice units by GPS.

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