By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
BEACON FALLS — After a few years as Beacon Falls’ informal park ranger, Allan Banyacsky is now the town’s official park ranger.
“I like being the park ranger because it keeps me refreshed in my navigational skills when I was a licensed Merchant Marine Mariner,” Banyacsky said.
Banyacsky, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War as an electronic technician, retired in 2012 from his job as building service manager at Goodrich Corporation in Cheshire.
Over the past couple of years, Banyacsky has volunteered to improve Matthies Park, including adding seven trails — about 3.25 miles total — for hikers to use.
First Selectman Gerard Smith formally appointed Banyacsky the town’s park ranger in February.
The park ranger is a volunteer position with no set hours. The position reports directly to the first selectman. The duties include surveying and building new trails, maintaining trail markings, and overseeing security and maintenance of trails and parks.
The park ranger’s responsibilities also include enforcing park regulations, supporting first responders if someone is lost or hurt in a park, and responding to questions from the community.
“This is a very important position for the town, as the town grows the use of the park grows,” Smith said. “With a committed, competent park ranger in place the residents have a liaison to the departments and commissions who are responsible for the parks.”
Banyacsky said he plans to work with the Conservation Commission to mark and maintain trails at the 97-acre Lantern Ridge Park. He also wants to organize a volunteer cleanup later this month at Matthies Park.
Banyacsky works hand in hand with and the public works department, including employees Steve Moffat and Jeff Kean.
As Banyacsky continues his work, he said his biggest challenge is keeping one step ahead of Mother Nature regarding storms, overgrowth and weathering of the trail markers.
Banyacsky said he takes pride in helping people use the trail system.
“I love the woods and survival techniques based on my military training and love to hear feedback from people on the trail on how much they enjoy the trail system,” Banyacsky said.