We are half way through our stay at Alligator Lake Park here in Lake City, Florida. We had agreed to stay for 12 months here as we wanted to get off the road for a little while and fix up our RV and hopefully build up my writing and craft items. So far, we haven’t been able to save any money towards the new RV motor but we have been building up our craft items we have for sale. Of course, we are still working on getting ready for being a vendor at the Florida Folk Festival at the end of May.
Now that spring has sprung we are getting more and more visitors as well as more animal and bird sightings all around the park area. The work is fairly easy until the weekends when we get the most visitors mostly birthday parties while during the week we get a lot of walkers and bikers. There has been a case or two of vandalism in the bathhouse sometime during overnight hours a time or two. I am thinking of digging out my brothers wildlife camera and set it up in the tree across from the bathrooms. But, as with any government agency there are rules that have to be followed. If it happens again then we will see how that one goes.
There is a pair of nesting eagles here in the park but I haven’t been able to spot them yet. The park maintenance people have an old pair of binoculars that I borrow from time to time and ride the trail hoping to get a glimpse of them before they head up north again. This place is really popular for the local Audubon group. Speaking of which, they just had their annual Spring festivals this past weekend. We didn’t have to do anything because the park drafted one of their employees to take care of their needs while they were there. We just had to pick up some trash around the park and empty out the trash barrels. There were quite a few people who came along with a representative from the Florida State Parks, Florida Wildlife Commission and the Florida Water Management people. There were only a couple a craft vendors and 5 or 6 empty vendor spaces. So, hopefully, next year they will do a better job of advertising and getting more vendors. There was a snack vendor and even a shave ice vendor. The highlight of the event seem to be the bald eagle exhibition and talk given by one of the local wild life rescue people. Below we have included some of the pictures we took during the festival.
Till next time!
One month at Alligator Lake Recreation Area here in Lake City, Florida has started out pretty good. We are still trying to establish a good routine that works for us and our volunteer coordinator. It’s not a hard gig by any means and the people have been extremely nice. The coordinator has been very open about some of the supplies we have asked for to keep doing our jobs as we think it needs to be done. For instance, we asked for a small blower to keep the rental pavilion clean between users, a nice long water hose and roller cart to hold it on so that we can keep the bathrooms and pavilion’s harder to reach areas cleaned and we asked for a battery powered inside light for our Gator so that we can see what we are doing at night while we are emptying out the trash barrels. We usually start about 30 minutes before closing to check the trash barrels, pick up any trash we come across and, hopefully, encourage our visitors to start packing up and head towards the gate. We also have to check the outer packing lot for hikers on the trails. For some reason people come into the park close to closing and start down the trails that are clearly marked as longer than the time they actually have to complete it.
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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.
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Our next stop in our workamping journey will be a little different that what we are use to doing. Alligator Lake Recreation Area is located in Columbia County Florida (Lake City area) and they offer a semi-permanent positions for workampings in both their Falling Creek Falls Park and this one. They have a stable parking pad here with water, electric and sewer on site. There is even a little shed next to it we can use as extra storage which we have gotten use to here at Olustee Beach Day Use Area. The only thing is they do not have a washer/dryer available for us to use nor an extra shower in the shop area which we like very much here. But, the coordinator stated that she would have no objection for us adding one if we like. They do offer FREE internet and Basic Cable and mom is looking forward to that. Finally, they stated that we can stay as long as we would like but would really like us to stay through next summer. It seems that their regular winter workampers are moving over to the Falling Creek Falls Park and we contacted them at the right time.
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Rain, rain and more rain! Over the last couple of weeks we have been getting hit with rain almost every single days. Some days we get at least a couple of inches at a time. Thus for the last week we have had large puddles of water all over our campsite and in the picnic area. One good thing is that we cannot mow. The bad thing is the grass grows faster when its wet. The temperatures in the evening and early mornings have been kind of nice too. But we still have temperatures in the 90s. Well, duh, it is August in Florida.
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