New story out in the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer:
Welcome to the Woods: Campground hosts have been keeping campers happy in Minnesota’s parks and forests for decades.
In 2013, Joy Leick was camping at Moose Lake State Park, which wasn’t far from her home in Esko. Leick had recently retired from a long career in nursing, and she was chatting with the park manager when he told her the park needed a campground host.
“Oh my gosh,” she blurted out, “I’ve always wanted to be a campground host!”
The manager looked at her, then asked: “When do you want to start?”
She pulled her travel trailer home, loaded it with supplies, and two days later she was back, as she has been every year for the past seven summers.
Leick was one of at least 100 such volunteers at Minnesota state parks last season. These campground hosts spend their summers welcoming campers, keeping sites tidy, stocking toilet paper, making sure things are quiet after 10 p.m., giving directions and advice, and generally doing whatever they can to improve campers’ time in the woods.
We don’t hear much about them. They operate somewhat under the radar. They don’t broadcast their accomplishments or mug for Instagram. But this mobile army of friendly folks is the grease in the wheels of the state park system. If you’re a camper, chances are they’ve made your camping trip better and you didn’t even know it.