Meet Park County’s NEW Outdoor Recreation Planner!

Hello Park County!!

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Kiran Darai. I am the new outdoor recreation planner working for Powell Economic Partnership (PEP) coming to you from the Greater Boston area!

A Little About Me…

  • I love the outdoors. I try to spend as much time as I can outside, particularly on my bicycle. I also enjoy hiking, swimming, camping, and any other way to soak up some sun!
  • An optimist to a fault, I like to think that I focus on the good in most situations.
  • Making people laugh brings me joy. I still remember the exact joke I told my doctor over 2 years ago that made him chuckle just a little bit!
  • Family is everything to me, and that includes my close friends!
  • I use exclamation points a lot!!
Your outdoor recreation planner in the wild at the New England Aquarium back home in Boston

VISTA on the Move

Now I should probably let you all know why I’ve moved all this way… I’m here in beautiful Park County because I’ve joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program. To make a long story short: AmeriCorps is a federal program. People join so that they can be placed in a community in the U.S. to volunteer. VISTA stands for Volunteers in Service to America.

All you need to remember is that as a VISTA, I am here to lend a helping hand to PEP to expand their capacity to better serve the Park County community. This position started this past June and will conclude next June in 2023.

I joined because I’m passionate about community health. There is nothing more powerful than a community coming together to solve the problems that face that community. It’s about lifting the quality of life for the collective through solutions that come from within. After all, who is better to ask than those who live with the problems?

I’ll bet you’re wondering, “who is this guy, why should I care, and why did he come here?”.

Hopefully after I tell you about what I’m doing specifically you will see the value in my job and why you should read this blog!

Why do you Value Outdoor Recreation in Park County?

Goals for my Service Year

As the “Outdoor Recreation Planner” I have a few goals that I need to accomplish during the time I will be in Park County. The first of those (and most interesting) being that I must understand what the people of Park County value in outdoor recreation. I need to know what you all love about recreating, what would get you outside more, and what may be stopping you from being outdoors as much as you would like. I’m excited to learn the answers to these questions because I will be using your responses to create a recommendation for improving the outdoor recreation experience in the county.

I think it’s important for me to say that I will not be forcing any changes on you that are from me or the organizations I may be working with. Any recommendations I make will be completely informed by what YOU want. I am simply here to collect your opinions and organize them so that the people whose jobs it is to make any changes to outdoor recreation clearly know what you desire, if anything at all.

I need to understand the plans of agencies that own public land in Park County and how those plans affect what you all want when it comes to outdoor recreation. I’ll be collaborating with Bureau of Land Management, United States Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Reclamation, and other land owners!

Finally, I must “document the user experience” of outdoor recreation in Park County. It’s exactly what it sounds like! They’re making me hike, bike, kayak, camp, and spend time outside. Doesn’t that sound horrible??

But! That doesn’t quite explain why I’m writing this blog…

Inside Look on Outdoor Recreation from a New Resident

This blog will mainly contain my thoughts about all the adventures I will be going on in Park County. I will tell all of you where I went for the day, what I did, what I thought about it, what I wish I knew going in, and where I will be going next! I’m hoping you will get something out of reading about my travels and remember what it was like seeing the sights here for the first time again.

So! If you see me out and about (probably looking lost/confused) don’t be a stranger! Odds are I probably need some help anyways. Feel free to stop me and tell me what you’re thinking, I’d love to know!

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What I usually look like while outdoors

You can find more from me here.

-Kiran