Michigan DNR seeks volunteers for 2014 state park and forest campground host program

Author's note: When my wife and I eventually retire, this is something I'd definitely consider doing. 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking volunteers to serve as hosts at Michigan state parks and state forest campgrounds for the 2014 camping season, giving people the opportunity to spend summer enjoying Michigan’s great outdoors while providing a valuable service.

Hosts will handle a variety of responsibilities, including directing visitors to their campsites, answering questions about the park or state forest, arranging campground activities and performing light maintenance and other services (depending on the host’s talents and interests). In return for their volunteer service, hosts are allowed to camp in the state park or state forest campground at no charge.

Both individuals and teams (couples, families, etc.) may serve as hosts. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, provide 30 hours of service per week (including weekends and holidays), serve a minimum of four consecutive weeks and furnish their own camping unit, equipment and personal items. Some host assignments begin as early as April and continue as late as October.

Hosts are chosen by park and forest managers, who may require an interview or request additional information. Selection is based on the individual's familiarity with the state park or state forest system, his or her camping experience, special skills, availability, knowledge of the area and the needs of the specific park or forest campground.

Host training for the 2014 camping season will be held June 4-5, 2014, at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon. Special arrangements can be made for anyone who cannot make those training dates.

Information and applications about the host program are available from the DNR's website at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers. For more information on the campground host program in state parks or state forest campgrounds, please contact Miguel Rodriguez at 517-241-4129.

The Recreation Passport is an easy, affordable way for residents to enjoy and support outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan. By checking "YES" for the $11 Recreation Passport ($5 for motorcycles) when renewing a license plate through the Secretary of State (by mail, kiosk, online at www.expresssos.com or at branch offices), Michigan motorists get access to state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, nonmotorized state trailhead parking and state boat launches. The Recreation Passport is valid until the next license plate renewal date. Nonresidents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($30.50 annual; $8.40 daily) at any state park or recreation area or (annual passes only) through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore.

Learn more about this creative way of sustaining Michigan's outdoor recreation and natural resources at www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport.