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Longtime ranger leads Explorers to adventure

Created date

April 27th, 2010

[caption id="attachment_11694" align="alignright" width="280" caption="The Explorers caught a glimpse of Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve during their trip through Puerto Rico."] With 32 years of experience as a park ranger behind him, it is no wonder Bruce McHenry launched the Linden Ponds National Parks Explorers club just weeks after he moved to the community in 2004. Since then, the group has visited national parks across the country and beyond, including a trip earlier this year to Puerto Rico with tours of San Juan National Historic Site. This month, the group whose roster has grown to 150 members may head to Yosemite National Park in California. Yosemite ranks among McHenry s favorite parks where he worked. Others on his list include the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Everglades in Florida, Shenandoah in Virginia, and Big Bend in Texas. McHenry retired from the park service in 1987, but he says of the group [caption id="attachment_11695" align="alignright" width="280" caption="The Linden Ponds National Parks Explorers recently traveled to Puerto Rico, where they visited El Yunque rainforest, met the governor, and toured the San Juan national park. "] at Linden Ponds, This was a good way to get back into it.

Inherited calling

It seems only natural McHenry would return to a calling that found him long before he arrived at Linden Ponds. His father was a park ranger, so I sort of inherited it, he says. At four weeks old, he visited the Grand Canyon. He grew up in Yosemite, where he hiked and fished when he wasn t in school. From the time he completed his civil service exam to become a ranger, McHenry played a role in historic New England events, including the bicentennial reopening of Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston. Through the years, he also trained several hundred park rangers. There are close to 400 parks and monuments in the U.S., many of which McHenry has visited. But despite his familiarity with the parks, he shows no signs of tiring of them. This is really America s greatest idea, he says, referencing the recent documentary series by Ken Burns, The National Parks: America s Best Idea.

Ideal exploration

A group of 21 Explorers recently visited Puerto Rico, where they were guided by Norman and Renee Feingold, who live atLinden Pondsbut spend their winters in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. The group visited El Yunque rainforest, met the governor of Puerto Rico, and of course toured the San Juan national park. We had never been to Puerto Rico, says Marion Campanelli, who lives atLinden Pondsand went on the trip with her husband, Joseph. The pair has also taken a number of day trips with the Explorers. It has just been a great learning/fun experience. For McHenry, one of Puerto Rico s highlights was the night the group took a pontoon boat to swim in a bioluminescent bay. [It] was absolutely fantastic, McHenry says. You glow when you get into the water the minute you touch the water, it just sparkles. I never had experienced that. Bioluminescence is the result of tiny organisms in the water. Though memories of the group s last trip are still fresh, McHenry has this month s trip to Yosemite in the works and adventures to local spots including the Boston Harbor Islands, the Boston Freedom Trail, and the Salem Maritime site on the itinerary. If you want adventures, says Mrs. Campanelli, it s a great group to belong to.