Our Osceola National Forest Wrap-Up post for our assignment as day use park hosts. We enjoyed our six months within the Osceola National Forest and hope that more of our fellow full-timers will give them a chance next summer. The campsites provided in the day-use area are very nice with full hookups, a washer and dryer to use and even great showers in the bathhouse next to the beach. There are only 2 day use park hosts at Olustee Beach and we could have used another couple during our stay to help with the opening/closing, cleaning the bathhouses and restrooms, keeping the Group Landing area cleaned between camping groups as well as mowing the grass, weed-eating, and blowing off the sidewalks, roads and parking lots. Since we were the only volunteers in this area we worked 7 days a week. However, only about 2 or 3 days were spent doing the actual mowing, blowing and cleaning. All the other days we just opened and closed the gate and picked up trash around the park.
The boat ramp area is opened to the public pretty much all the time so that bathroom we checked every morning and evening. The main bathhouse we just checked in the evenings when we closed the gate. There is one trail called Trample Tract that we tried to keep blown off and free of debris about once or twice month. Yes, the yellow flies were a nuisances at the end of spring and into a few weeks of summer. The mosquitoes took over after that but if you get most of your stuff done in the morning and keep moving after the sun goes down they weren’t too much of a problem.
The staff all seem very nice and keep an eye on you during the week and try their best to make sure you have access to your supplies and the equipment is fixed when it breaks down. Also, this summer we had extra helpers with fire personnel from other national forests who were working in the area but were not able to do all their controlled burns so they mowed our grass, did some weed-eating and blowing for us a couple of times. They also had a crew going around chopping down dead trees that might cause problems in public areas during the coming stores. There were also a few CCC Youth volunteers during this summer but we didn’t get to see them very often. Sadly, the Recreation Manager was unable to get the beach/swimming areas cleared of intruding grasses. They park rangers and fire rangers tried to do it but they ran into a nest of snakes and didn’t have any of the required machines to take care of the rest of it. It would have been great to have a grass free swimming area. Oh, well maybe they will get cleaned out during the winter months. We cannot tell you about being a campground host at Ocean Pond Campground but there were 6 different couples there when we went through over there this past week so one of them is bound to be on a Full-Timers, RVillage or Facebook and can let you know about that.
We didn’t take the time to explore all over the National Forest but we did hit the highlights. We will be making a video of the various areas within the Osceola National Forest and post it on You-Tube. Keep checking our Facebook page for a link when we are done. Till next time…
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