Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

March 16, 2011

For helping out, park hosts camp free

TAHLEQUAH — Summer camp-outs in Northeastern Oklahoma are especially appealing, blending the birdsong, sparkling lakewater reflecting the sunrise and sunset, and green shade trees for staying cool.

Factor in the friendly people, bird- and critter-watching, singing and roasting wieners by the campfire, and grilling the fish caught earlier in the day for supper, and you get a perfect setting for spending a weekend, or enjoying the whole summer.

Especially these days, Oklahoma’s state parks offer an affordable vacation option for families. And for those who have camping and volunteering in their range of interests, an opportunity to do both is available at three state parks in this area.

Greenleaf State Park, Tenkiller State Park and Cherokee Landing each have two campsite hosts who camp for free from April 1 through Oct. 31, in exchange for meeting and greeting park visitors, collecting camping fees, providing information, doing light maintenance and providing assistance to campers and visitors, along with keeping a watchful eye.

Camp hosts work 20 hours a week, including weekends, in exchange for free campsites with water, sewer, electric, and hookups.

“We’re looking for one camp host at Greenleaf, two at Tenkiller and two at Cherokee Landing,” said Steve Williams, park manager. “They have to pass a background check to be sure they’re the kind of people we want in our state parks and around kids.”

Couples can serve as campground hosts – like Dale and Gail Sleese, who have filled the role since 2004 at Greenleaf.

“You meet a lot of people and make new friends,” Gail said. “It gets hectic sometimes, but we enjoy it. Holiday weekends, the park is full of people, and we’re trying to help them find a spot and collect fees without interfering with their fun.”

For anyone who likes people and being out in nature, it’s not a bad job, Gail said.

“I was born and raised a city kid and didn’t know if I’d like it,” she said. “But we came from Oklahoma City and didn’t leave.”

Their children and grandchildren visit during the summer.

“Everybody here is just like a big family. If somebody needs something, we all pitch in,” she said. “We all get along and do our job or whatever needs to be done.”

Most of the time, Williams said, they encounter retired people looking for three or four months of camping with 20 hours of work. Light maintenance and trash pickup are among their responsibilities.

“As long as I can remember, we’ve had campground hosts, and I’ve been working here 33 years,” he said. “It’s always been a good program.”

They used to pay hosts, but that went the way of their budget, he added.

“Camp hosts are the front line representation to the park,” said Diane Rutland, sales and marketing specialist with the parks. “They assist campers with whatever they might need, from questions about how to hook up to backing up a trailer.”

Volunteers need good communication skills, Rutland added.

“They’re going to be working on weekends and off a couple of days during the week,” she said. “That’s why we have more than one camp host, so someone is always there.”

The three state parks are busy throughout the summer, with many return visitors and campers.

“We have so many regulars, it’s like old home week,” Rutland said. “Some campers may need to help leveling their RVs they’re parking for the first time, while others are well-seasoned and just like to feel welcomed.”

Park rangers are always around or nearby, but they work eight-hour shifts, Williams said.

“Campground hosts are there 24-7, so they do a better job collecting fees and getting acquainted with campers. Some of our campers keep odd hours, they may fish all night or work during the day,” he said.

Park rangers also collect fees, but having campground hosts frees them up so they have more time for protecting the parks on the security end, Williams said.

State parks have a lot to offer, along with camping, boating and swimming.

“The state parks have bouyed-off swimming areas, and a year-round program with naturalists,” Williams said. “We have nature trails at all the parks. The swimming pools are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Miniature golf is available at Greenleaf.”

“With the price of gasoline we hope more people will choose to stay close to home and enjoy our parks.”

Get involved

For information on being a park host, contact the park service at (918) 489-5641.

1
Text Only
Features
  • rf-skydiver-tomahawk.jpg Former resident tapped for national skydiving award

    A man known locally for putting Tahlequah on the international map by bringing world-class skydiving events to town is being inducted in the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame in October.
    Norman Heaton said he’s very honored to be selected for the prestigious award given to people who have made significant contributions to the sport of skydiving.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20th-Amendment.jpg Inauguration day changed by 20th Amendment

    Sometimes an amendment is added to the U.S. Constitution that is uncontroversial and virtually unlitigated.
    Such is the 20th Amendment, which moved the seating of the new Congress and the presidential inauguration day to January, and enumerates procedure if a president-elect dies or cannot take office.
    Because the “Lame-Duck Amendment” addresses procedure, it is long.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-School-Fashion.jpg Fashion show to feature local teachers

    A fun fashion event that will provide funds for one lucky area school is coming up next weekend.
    Local teachers and students have until Tuesday, July 22, to sign up for the Teacher and Student Back 2 School Fashion Show at Arrowhead Mall in Muskogee.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-actress.jpg TV’s ‘Mistresses’ has second local tie

    Tahlequah has at least two ties to the TV drama “Mistresses.”
    Local florist Josh Cottrell-Mannon designed the flower arrangements for the show’s season finale, and Arriane Alexander, daughter of local resident Sharilyn Young, is portraying a television news reporter.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Stark-Sequoyah.jpg Stark enjoys making a difference

    Kristin Stark, Sequoyah Elementary Teacher of Year, loves teaching, and has a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of children.
    “I love making a difference in the lives of children; it is a wonderful feeling to make a positive impact on a child,” said Stark.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • sr-19thAmendment.jpg Women got the vote with 19th Amendment

    During its first 140 years, the United States Constitution underwent a series of changes intended to extend voting rights to those who were not white or didn’t own property - but as the American experiment entered the 20th Century, half the adult population still had no protection to vote.
    Though they certainly had political opinions, women could not cast a ballot in most states. That changed with passage of the 19th Amendment.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • renee-storyteller.jpg Cherokee, Tlingit storytellers to share their craft during special NSU event

    Two Native American cultures will be represented during a storytelling workshop featuring Cherokee Gayle Ross and Tlingit and Cherokee dancer and storyteller Gene Tagaban, of Seattle.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1-ts CN opt 1.jpg Cherokees commemorate Act of Union

    Cherokee Nation dignitaries met on the historic courthouse square Tuesday to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Act of Union following the end of the Trail of Tears Removal.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-vol-July.jpg Firefighting fills a big role for Kimble

    Community service is both work and volunteering for Cherokee County 911 Coordinator/Director Marty A. Kimble.
    Kimble is also fire chief for Gideon Volunteer Fire and Rescue, president of the Grand View School Board, and northeast regional vice president of OklaNENA (National Emergency Number Association).

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-artist-July-2.jpg Fulk discovered art talent after retirement

    It’s not unusual for retired folks to turn their hand to the arts. Count George Fulk among that number.
    The former optometry professor at Northeastern State University and bird-watching enthusiast has found he also has a talent for watercolor painting.

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel
Stocks