July - August 2002
We are presently located at Ft. Stevens State Park, located about 15 miles west of Astoria, Oregon. This is a very large park with 539 camp sites, miles of beach, a historic
old fort, a shipwreck, a fresh water lake, and miles of hiking and biking trails.
There are evening programs at the amphitheater, and much more. The park has about 3500 acres, a paid staff of 35 and 27 host couples.
While we stayed here for two months, Oregon state parks ask for only a one month minimum stay. This park has ten host positions in the winter and twenty seven host positions in summer. They use by far the most volunteers of any facility we have visited so far. In this park all tours at the historic site are led by volunteers, some mowing, all firewood sales, litter pick-up, recycle station, general maintenance, gift shop, and junior ranger program are examples of what is available to volunteers. We served as Information Volunteers, which means that we were one of the couples who operated the information booth, located at the center of the six hundred site campground. Our job consisted of spending four hours per day, five days a week staffing the booth. When busy, both of us would work, but when things were slow only one was expected to be there. Volunteers are expected to do litter patrol in the area of their campsite as the 27 host sites are scattered through out the campground. This was a very unusual social location for a volunteer due to their large number. The park held at least one social event for volunteers each week and as many as three some weeks. The park has two staff members who's primary responsibility is to run the volunteer program. Teri and Barb did an excellent job as our hostesses. No cleaning of facilities is required of the volunteers, as the park manager considers seasonal positions to be there to take care of any job that volunteers do not wish to do. While host sites are in the general campground, all have sewer and telephone lines were being added to them, although you do have to pay the bill if you wish a phone. If you wish to have a lot of social life as a part of your volunteer experience, this is the place!
The Oregon State Parks department is by far the best organized of the facilities that we have visited, when it comes to volunteers. Your stay begins with an orientation meeting of all new hosts and the park staff. Some jobs and equipment do require training, but Oregon has computer files for each volunteer so that training will carry over to any other Oregon park in the future. When you first make contact the state will mail you a catalog that lists each park and each position in that park as well as the duties and amenities that go with the position. Each host also receives an annual pass to Oregon State Parks. You are given free camping in route to and from your host position at any other state park. We were also given free entrance to many of the local attractions.
If you have any interest in visiting this park, check it out at : www.prd.state.or.us/index.php