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Categorized | Outdoors

Hosts needed at state parks and forest campgrounds

The Department of Natural Resources is offering free camping this summer for outdoor lovers who volunteer as campground hosts at Michigan state parks or state forest campgrounds. The Campground Host Program, established by the Department of Natural Resources, allows individuals to camp in a state park or state forest campground at no charge, in return for providing visitor assistance in the campground.

“Being a campground host combines the fun of camping with the satisfaction of helping fellow campers,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “Campground hosts stay as our guests and, in return, help welcome other campers to our beautiful state parks, recreation areas and state forest campgrounds.”

Campground hosts direct visitors to their campsites, answer questions about the park or state forest, arrange campground activities and perform light maintenance and other services, depending on the host’s talents and interests.

Campground hosts can be individuals or teams. Retired couples, teachers and students, as well as families, are just a few who have enjoyed volunteering as campground hosts. Interested parties must be at least 18 years old, provide services five days per week (including weekends and holidays), for a total of 30 hours, serve a minimum of four consecutive weeks and furnish their own camping unit, equipment and personal items. State park hosts must also attend a two-day training session in May 2010 at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon. This training is not required for state forest campground hosts.

A background check will be required on all applicants, and may also require an interview or requests for additional information. Hosts are chosen by state park and state forest managers based on their familiarity with the state park or state forest system, their camping experience, special skills, availability, knowledge of the area and the needs of the specific state park or state forest campground.

Rustic campgrounds found throughout Michigan’s state forests, located in the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula, are in need of hosts. Campground hosts are especially needed during the busy camping season at Michigan’s state parks, which can begin as early as April.

Although some of last year’s campground hosts will be returning this year, vacancies and a need for more hosts still exist at state parks and state forest campgrounds located throughout Michigan.

Persons interested in becoming a campground host volunteer can obtain more information and an application on the DNR’s Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers. Persons interested in being a campground host at a state park should apply directly to the park of their choice. For more information on becoming a campground host, contact Pamela Ames at 517-467-7401 for Michigan state parks, or Ada Takacs at 989-275-5151, Ext. 2049, for Michigan state forests.

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