How to live on a campground: BLM wants volunteers for 2023 vacation season
For people who wish their annual camping trip would last forever ― or at least a season ― the Bureau of Land Management wants to make that wish come true.
The agency is looking for people to fill volunteer positions at campgrounds throughout the United States, including Shasta and Trinity counties, according to BLM Northern California district spokesman Jeff Fontana.
"We still have BLM staff who attend to those campgrounds. We rely on hosts just to be a friendly face" and help guests, Fontana said. Hiring a volunteer means "there's always someone there."
While not a nationally run program, most BLM camp sites use volunteers to man campgrounds ― a practice in Northern California for at least three decades, Fontana said.
Each field office hires its volunteers and trains them to work their particular campground. You can serve as a camp host for one season, or make it a lifestyle.
Some people go from one campground to another around the country, taking sequential host jobs, said Outdoor Recreation Planner Stan Bales at the Susanville BLM office. They spend the summer in the North State, then move to BLM lands in the Southern California desert, Yuma, Arizona or wherever the BLM needs a host for a winter camping season.
Hosts greet campground visitors when they arrive and provide information ― from fishing rules to where to find water. They clean camp bathrooms and keep them stocked with supplies, and post information on camp bulletin boards.
Hosts live in their own RV or camper throughout the season. In Northern California, that's usually from mid-April to mid-November, depending on the weather, Fontana said. The BLM provides a free place to park, free power, water and sewage hookups, and a small stipend to help with living expenses.
Some hosts rough it with just a sleeping trailer and no hookups, Bales said. Some arrive with tricked out RVs with solar power and other amenities.
As with camping, there are other challenges to living in the wilderness. Services are limited at some sites, Fontana said. The Pit River campsite in eastern Shasta County doesn't get cellphone service, and almost all sites require people drive some distance to buy groceries and other supplies.
Here are volunteer host positions open in the North State for people who love to camp.
1 camp host position open in Shasta County
The BLM needs a host at the Pit River Campground near Fall River Mills.
This eight-site facility includes a day use area. The campground features a kayak launch site, swimming access and a fishing pier accessible for people with disabilities.
To apply, call the BLM Applegate Field Office at 530-233-4666 or email email@example.com.
3 camp host positions open in Trinity County
In Trinity County, the BLM needs campground hosts at sites along the Trinity River including Douglas City, Junction City and Steel Bridge campgrounds.
- Douglas City is popular with anglers and boaters; it has 23 tent and trailer campsites, showers and vault toilets.
- Junction City has 21 tent/trailer sites and offers potable water and vault toilets.
- The Steel Bridge facility has 13 tent/trailer sites, and is popular with anglers and boaters; it has access to rapids popular with white water rafting and kayaking enthusiasts.
To apply, call the BLM Redding Field Office at 530-224-2100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on volunteer opportunities with the BLM, go to volunteer.gov.
The BLM manages 245 million acres of public land, mostly in 12 western states, and 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate. Its mission is to "sustain the health, diversity and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations," according to the agency.
Jessica Skropanic is a features reporter for the Record Searchlight/USA Today Network. She covers science, arts, social issues and entertainment stories. Follow her on Twitter@RS_JSkropanic and onFacebook. Join Jessica in the Get Out! Nor Cal recreation Facebook group. To support and sustain this work,please subscribe today. Thank you.