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 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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