Sunday, September 11, 2011


Derek and I are Park Facility Operators (PFOs) for British Columbia Parks (BCP). Essentially we are the managers of two campgrounds - one we live at the other is approximately 20 kms up the highway. The job lasts for the full season that the parks are open - April 30th until September 30th. We work 7 days a week because we are a couple. Technically we work 5 on 2 off but that really doesn't work so well when you are married. So we just settle in and work the 159 days straight.

As PFOs we are responsible for a great many tasks - everything you could imagine needed to manage a campground from cleaning and maintenance to registering and accounting to security and being tourist reps. In the days before privatization of the parks our job would be divided up among several people with specialized jobs and the government wages/benefits to go with it. Those days are long gone and now we work a lot for a little. What else is new - right?

As with most jobs there are advantages and disadvantages. The pluses include living and working in such a beautiful  place, we can manage our own schedule, we live rent free and Cassia is with us 24/7 and grows up in a natural setting. On the other side most people would be surprised at how challenging and stressful this job really is. This comes from the fact that we work with the public and anyone who also works with the public knows what I am talking about. The fact that we clean up after people and attempt to ensure that they follow the rules that they don't want to follow is difficult indeed.

Thankfully there are a few wonderful campers that help to keep the frustration from building up too much. I will mention a few names of the friends I have made this summer - Mark & Sandi, Carol & Jack, June & Chuck, Mike & Margo, Ron & Linda, Harry & friends, Randy & his wife and a handful of others. I could be having a bad week, day or night - and when I visit their site it all disappears.

After working 2 seasons now at BC Provincial Parks (in 2006 we worked another park) there are things that we wish the campers would do or not do.... If you visit campgrounds please consider these points on behalf of all the operators out there.
  1. Please please please stop and read the notice boards when you first arrive - they hold valuable  information that you need to know and follow.
  2. If there is a self registration system in place - "use it" - I will still visit you, but if I need to fill out your registration, it drastically increases/complicates the time schedule that I need for cleaning washrooms, emptying garbage, picking up garbage, loading, hauling and selling firewood..(you get the gist).
  3. The fire pit is not an ashtray or garbage receptacle - we really don't like having to dig out your butts, dental floss, insulin needles, garbage of all types and some unmentionables.
  4. Pets must be kept on a leash' means on a leash all the time. Yes, we know that your dog is a good dog but the rule still applies.
  5. Pay fee campgrounds are not "picnic grounds" - unless it specifically says that you can use the park as a day use area.
  6. Provincial Parks are protected areas - please do not collect from the forest - wood for your fire, flowers for your vase, pine cones for your crafts. The reason people come to parks is because they are beautiful. If everyone pilfers from the forests they won't be so beautiful anymore.
  7. When you pull out of your site - please get our of your vehicle and go back and check to see if you left garbage laying around your site and take it with you.
  8. And please remember....we don't make the policies that are in place in the parks. If you have issues with the rules or how things are run contact BCP. Yes, things are different then they were - yes, wood used to be free, yes, the prices used to be a bit lower - but hey - it is 2011 A LOT has changed. 
  9. If it is partying you are after for the weekend - don't come to a provincial park. This is not the place. This is a place to enjoy the peace and tranquility of nature - not the place for loud music and hooten and hollering until the wee hours of the morning. Do us all a favour and find a logging road.

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