Half Way at Alligator Lake Park

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!

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Free North Florida Springs – Part 4

Free North Florida Springs – In our forth and final episode in the series we will be listing a couple of the free springs left on our list and relisted a few of the websites you might want to “favor” or “bookmark” for future reference. Again, please remember that all of the springs we have listed are located somewhere along one of rivers, have a tendency to flood several times a year and do not have the same amenities as the ones in our Florida State Parks. Also, please do not harass the local wildlife, bring mosquito repellent, wear water shoes to swim and always bring along someone who is a better swimmer than you are. The buddy system works for a reason. Most of these places are in the middle of a wildlife and/or wilderness area and you do not want to swim alone. Finally, please be kind and take your trash with you or at least use any trash cans that may be provided. Leave only footprints and take only pictures.

Resources

Checking River Levels: http://www.srwmd.state.fl.us/index.aspx?nid=253
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Spring is Trying to Be Sprung

Spring is really trying to be sprung here in north Florida. In the last 7 days we have had almost 90 degree weather and highs in the 60’s. We have had mostly sunny days and mostly rainy and cloudy days. Nothing really seems to faze our visitors here at Alligator Lake Recreation Area in beautiful Lake City, Florida though. They come every single day to walk to trails, ride their bikes, play on the playground, picnic at one of the pavilions and every single weekend their are lots of birthday parties. Generally, the big screened in pavilion is only rented on the weekends and is reserved all the way into August, I think. So we have lots of trash cans to empty on Saturday and Sunday. The other smaller open but covered picnic pavilions are first-come-first-serve so we get quite a few people here first thing in the morning to stake out their favorite ones. Other than picking little pieces of confetti string and candy wrappers the visitors have been fairly good about cleaning up after themselves by putting their trash in the cans. We still have to chase down the occasional piece of tissue paper or paper bag that ends up the surrounding wooded areas.
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One Month at Alligator Lake

alr10302016-6One 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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Osceola National Forest WrapUp

onf09202016-6Our 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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