DOINews: BLM-Arizona: Public Lands Teach Junior Rangers Valuable Science and History Lessons

Last edited 09/05/2019

Those who've dreamed of visiting all 50 states and as many of the nation's public lands as possible will enjoy learning of the enviable adventures of the Burch brothers.

Thirteen-year-old Will Burch and 11-year-old Henry Burch recently passed through the Interagency Center in St. George, Utah, where they shared their adventures with staff before being sworn in as junior rangers of the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument.

Traveling with parents Bill and Shirley Burch, the brothers have been initiated as junior rangers at so many public lands — to include monuments, parks and recreation areas — that there's barely a free spot left on their jackets or hats to squeeze in one additional pin.

The Burch brothers are sworn in as Junior Rangers at Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument.

The Burch family began their journey with a tour of Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, Calif., where the family resides. They've since traveled as far northeast as Acadia National Park in Maine, where they enjoyed climbing "the Precipice," and as far southeast as Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida where the family enjoyed an exciting boat ride from Key West. The Burch's adventures have included challenges, as well, like an all-too-close encounter with a wild grizzly bear or when they battled mosquitoes by the hundreds hiking through the "muskeg" or mossy marshes. An attempt to read all of the badges the boys possess and don on their hats and vests is at first overwhelming, and then inspiring. It would seem the boys have seen all ends of the country and all points in between — an enviable list for a person of any age.

And the two have learned a great deal by touring public lands over the past two years. "They've provided a great education in science and history," said father Bill Burch.

During their visit, the Burch brothers said they were both honored to add Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument and the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument to their long list of junior ranger programs.

The family is continuing on now toward Glen Canyon National Recreation Area near Page, Ariz.

By: Rachel Tueller, public affairs officer, Bureau of Land Management Arizona Strip District

Dec. 26, 2013

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