From our perch alongside the entrance road to the campground we get to watch sneaky people. They really are fascinating. Sometimes they’re homeless, other times they are travelers (as in road tripping, not as in gypsies), and occasionally they are just cheapskates. But there are people who sneak into a campground late and leave early in the hopes that they won’t have to pay for their night’s stay. New cars, old cars, beat up cars shiny cars — seems to make not difference.
We aren’t enforcers. That’s one thing that government volunteer agreements are clear about. And if there’s staff on duty we can report ‘problems’ to the rangers, or we can nicely remind people what’s expected of them. But late night activities brings to mind the whole issue of volunteer safety.
When we were in Oregon working for the Forest Service we were in an area where violence was an issue and volunteers were specifically told NOT to interact with campers or anyone for that matter after dark. The Forest Service would their own law enforcement people out in two’s even when there weren’t many of them whenever there were potential problems.
Here, not much is said about security, and it’s kind of a non-issue. There are no armed rangers. Half of the staff are student interns (not exactly interns — they are hired by the Corps but they are still in college, and getting experience for their future careers). We see regular patrols by the county sheriff. That happens at a lot of Wisconsin parks, state, federal and county. That’s a good thing. But problems at this campground generally don’t happen. As for us, even if something does happen chances are that we won’t know about it. The last time we were here there was one event where a camper was stoned and a little noisy — his neighbors called 911 and because we are out on the entrance road and not near the campers we didn’t know about it until the next morning. (OK by me!)
As a note in passing, I have to say there is a difference in how different agencies approach personal appearance. We noticed that at the Oregon Dunes the attitude towards uniforms was very, very laid back. Aside from the USFS Law Enforcement, uniforms were a by-guess-and-by-golly affair. All of the CORPS campgrounds we have ever camped at were staffed by personnel who took pride in their personal appearance and wore their uniforms without wrinkles and looking pretty spiffy. I’m not so much the clothes horse and sometimes I feel a little out of place with my volunteer polo shirt and regular slacks — as if I’m not towing the mark. But then we don’t make the Big Bucks either so I guess they make accommodations for us laggards!
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here tomorrow to chat. Why not stop by?