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263 Campground Hosts 2010-08-04

Jenny Lake Campground registration

If you camp at a National Forest or National Park Campground you will soon be introduced to the Campground Host. With the budget cuts in Government, the volunteer hosts help keep the campgrounds running smoothly.

Through the years we have met a number of Hosts. Some we wondered what they did, we never saw them; and others it was obvious that they did more than was required. Regardless of their work ethics, we soon saw that it was important to establish a good rapport with all of the hosts; well those we could find.

The basic duties of the hosts are greeting campers, answering questions, checking camper registrations, cleaning sites, maintaining radio and or phone communications with dispatch, and frontline troubleshooting. There is still a Ranger in charge of the campground.

Notes on Hosts...

  • To help identify a host, some hosts wear official shirts or hats; but all hosts ride around the campground in a golf cart. They also stay in their RV, even in tent only campgrounds.
  • If you do not see the host on the first day (evening) you arrive at the campground, then they are not too concerned about the campground. Some hosts do a quick drive around the campground a couple of times a day, waving like they are campaigning for an election; but that might be all you see of them.
  • All campgrounds have rules; but not all rules are enforced. We really do not know why not. For example, all the campgrounds we stayed in this past summer had a "tents must be on the tent pad" rule; but only one campground enforced the rule. We believe all the rules should be enforced. Now, we also believe some of the rules should be removed from the list, but that might be another topic.
  • In the Tetons the hosts write warning tickets for too many cars at the campsites or leaving food, water, coolers, etc, unsecured in the campground. I have known several people to receive such warnings.
  • Campers complain to hosts. If the hosts cannot fix the problem, they contact the Ranger.

A great example of what we called a good host was when we stayed at Longs Peak Campground last year. The hosts walked (not riding in the cart) around the campground. We met them and talked to them at length, even though we only wanted to go to sleep. We paid for two nights at the campground; but knew we were going to leave the next afternoon after only one day. The hosts found someone who wanted our site, let them set up on the site, and they paid us for the site when we returned to our vehicle. It was amazing.

This year at Longs, we did not see the hosts (not the same ones) until the third day, and when we did see them, they were on their golf cart quickly driving by saying hello as they zoomed past. If you had a question, comment, or complaint you would probably have to chase them down.

What a difference.

The hosts play a vital role in the campgrounds. The good ones make camping more enjoyable. We appreciate their hard work. Who knows, we might even try to be hosts someday. Of course we could not live in a RV though, maybe we could live in a tent in a RV campground...


Happy campground trails.


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