Tourist season at Deer Haven Park regularly welcomes visitors from all parts of the country. From near and far they travel, all with varying degrees of anticipation, all with gratitude for such an adventure.

Oftentimes, community members will jaunt beyond the fence as well. Sure, they have grown up with the white whitetail in their own backyard, and most assuredly have heard military tales passed down from generation to generation, still ...

There’s intrigue, mystery — an ambiance, and pure unadulterated energy circulating within the park that bespeaks antiquity at its finest, like a soft whisper that rises on the breeze and breathes hushed invites into the ears of passersby.

What is most interesting on this particular day, however, is what is transpiring outside the fence. A magnificent turquoise sky shimmers, assuring a luxuriously warm spring morning. The season’s first robins are spotted on the DHP Visitor Center lawn. A redtail hawk swoops down and fans a full wing and tail span display at an incoming vehicle’s windshield. A gallant welcoming? Perhaps acknowledging the staff’s return? Regardless, undeniably nature at its finest.

As staff and volunteers arrive for the first 2021 tourist season pre-opening meeting, energy and excitement can be felt expanding and releasing like a huge, untethered helium balloon, buoyant and glistening. All are anticipant of discussing and finalizing plans for this season’s touring options.

New gift shop items are introduced prior to their formal display with hopes that visitors will not only enjoy these souvenirs but will also have DHP gift options for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, and anniversaries.

Discussion is held on the relaxed COVID restrictions still playing a major role in events for the safety of all visitors and staff, making the auto tour first and foremost in options for at least the beginning of the season.

All ears perk when news of a new and exciting auto tour which is in the works to soon be added to the original tour, allowing two types of auto tours to eventually be available as this season unfolds. Still being tweaked, this second tour option features an amazing, never-experienced-anywhere-before special feature. Whether you have toured once, or numerous times, when this new option becomes available, it will be a must-see!

Thanks to the tireless determination of Truman Bells, Operations Manager at DHP, the team also was made privy to the implementation of a new, less problematic way for visitors to access the tour application in which to embark on their route through the park. This new innovative approach will have fewer technological glitches and allow any non-tech savvy visitor easy participation.

Everyone — staff and visitors alike — is anticipating the return of the bus tour. Of course, private tours are always an option for those who would like to partake with their own COVID-safe group; however, when restrictions are lifted and the daily bus tour operations return, new, never previously traveled route options are unfolding that will be a delight to all who venture.

Soon, the meeting was a wrap. As the group headed out, overhead geese honked their hello (welcome home our feathered friends), and the chickadees could be heard piercing their mating calls through the warm air. Ah, spring. Grounds are being prepped, flowers are being planted, and opening day will commence on Saturday, April 17.

Come. Take time for yourself and be uplifted and renewed by nature. Support your local wildlife, environment, and fellow community members who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep your hometown area herd of white whitetail deer and all wildlife beyond the fence safe, abundant, and strong. See you soon!

Dee Calvasina is a freelance writer and monthly columnist who supports the conservation of nature and all wildlife at Deer Haven Park LLC. To keep abreast of this tour season’s events, visit deerhavenpark.org, like them on FB, or call 8-DEER-TOURS (833-378-6877).

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