Boy-oh-boy, this guy really gets around. In the 6 years Caleb Waters has been working for the National Park Service, he’s had opportunity to see many natural wonders of this county. His current location, Redwoods National and State Parks is probably one of the better known Parks, preserving the habitat of 2000 year old trees, but consider the other, probably lesser known Parks he’s called home. Big Bend National Park, considered “three parks in one,” with mountain, desert, and river environments along the banks of the Rio Grande in Texas; Chamizal National Memorial in the heart of El Paso which honors diplomatic relations between Mexico and the US; and Gila Cliff Dwellings near Truth or Consequences in western New Mexico.
Caleb’s also had the opportunity to work details around the desert southwest. From the heights of Guadalupe Mountain National Park to the depths of Carlsbad Cavern National Park which straddle the New Mexico-Texas border. And I dare you to go to Google Maps to see why White Sands National Monument (New Mexico) is named like it is. He also worked the oil spill clean-up in Gulf Islands National Seashore.
His current duty station at Redwoods National Park is part of a cooperative management effort along with three California state parks: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, which comprise 45 percent of all the old-growth redwood forest remaining in California. Together these parks are a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, protecting resources cherished by citizens of many nations, and making it understandable that this area has had more money spent on its resources than any other protected area in the world.
Redwoods is a far cry from his early assignments and home in New Braunfels, located in the hill country of Texas between Austin and San Antonio and home to what they claim to be the world’s largest waterpark, The Schlitterbahn. . No, I didn’t make that up. It’s German for “slippery road”. There’s a huge German influence in this area of the country.
Though he started out working trails and archeology, his current position is Facility Specialist—right-hand-man for the Chief of Maintenance, which allows him to float between the disparate worlds of the “field” and the “office”. Caleb’s a guy that appreciates both a well-graded dirt road and a sweet-looking excel spreadsheet with graphs. He spends much of his time estimating and serving as COTR on construction projects, but he really enjoys getting out from behind the desk and working with folks in the field, though he never gets to operate the heavy equipment anymore.
Caleb learned about the L&D Facebook page because, like Sara Hammond, he attended the Photovoltaic Training at the Horace Albright Training Center; not because he’s tasked with maintaining solar panels but because it will help him serve as a better estimator and COTR (Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative). This added knowledge will no doubt help him continue into further adventures with the National Park Service.