Myakka River so far has been a great experience. The weather has been pretty volatile with cold days, wet days, wet and cold days as well a bright sunny days too. There are a lot of campground host volunteers here during the winter months of January to March. Most are from up north with some of those as far as Canada. This is a very social occasion for these volunteers and they have pot luck dinners, movie nights and bomb fire game nights. Most of these people have been volunteering at this park for years. Being as they have so many volunteers quite a lot can and does get done during these months for the park rangers. There is cleaning of the huge park including all the public restrooms; campground cleaning; volunteers manning the main entrance taking money from new comers and the north entrance on weekends; working in the visitors centers; bird watching teachers; as well as mowing and clear cutting of the surrounding woods to prepare for the annual controlled burn and all the special events. This year the volunteers have agreed to host a weekly morning social hour with coffee, tea, juice and assorting snacks being available for just a $1 donation per person. It is a great chance for our fellow campers to get to know each other, meet the campground hosts and some of the ranger who drop by and listen to some music from some very talented volunteers. This is such a large park with so many things going on that they really need all these volunteers to keep things moving.
The campground hosts who stay in the campgrounds are given a campsite with water, electricity and sewer. In addition, they can get all the ice that they want from the shop area, discount on purchases at the Myakka River Friends Gift Shop and access to internet wireless provided by the Myakka Outpost concessionaire. They just clean the bath houses, clean the campsites and surrounding grounds and visit with their fellow campers. This is the first park where we had to pay to wash and dry our clothes. They have a Volunteer village with campsites in and around the maintenance shop area and 4 RV campsites located across the street from the main entrance called Stop-Gap. This use to be a youth camp and has a large communal kitchen, meeting area, washer and dryer and two little log cabins, which I’m not sure what they are for now. We have all of our volunteer get-togethers and meetings at Stop-Gap. Each new volunteer as offered a back country tour of the entire park and we have access to the entire park when the gates close. Seeing wildlife, hiking the miles of trails, canoeing along the river and taking pictures of the local flora and fauna seem to be the main things to do. The big attraction every sunny day is to go down the road to the bridge over the river and watch the alligators sun themselves. During the early mornings and late afternoons you can see lots of deer and wild hogs besides the abundance of birds.