DNR seeks volunteer campground hosts


The state is looking for volunteer campground hosts to fill vacancies at state park and forest sites for a minimum of 20 hours a week from now through October.

In return, the Department of Natural Resources offers free camping at the locations.

"We’re trying to fill out our rolls," said Jody Heaston, the DNR volunteer coordinator. "We’re always accepting new applications."

The volunteer program seeks hosts for a minimum of two weeks, though the average requested stay is a month with a few locations offering positions that last longer.

With this current appeal, the DNR is seeking between 20 and 30 hosts to fill in spots around Indiana.

Experienced hosts began reaching out shortly after the new year. There are many regulars who enjoy participating and are early birds with their applications.

"They’ve done it before or applied for it before," Heaston said.

Heaston said some volunteers have worked at the campgrounds for 20 or even 30 years in a row. Others are shorter-term regulars, and some people come from other states to volunteer in Indiana.

Often, campground hosts during the summer months are teachers who are out of school on seasonal vacation; however, September and October are busy months for DNR. Volunteers during that period may be retirees, Heaston said.

One general criteria for those considering volunteering expressed in a statement from the department is that they be people who are "dedicated campers who enjoying working outdoors, with the public and with DNR staff."

The list of volunteer host responsibilities can be found at on.IN.gov/DNRCampgroundHost. A note reads, "Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, discover new things and do something good for Indiana’s natural and cultural resources."

Among the tasks a host might perform is to serve as a receptionist at an interpretive center, help with program preparation, deliver programs as a guest speaker, write grants or brochures, identify and catalog plants, animals or artifacts and care for live animals in the interpretive centers.

A volunteer information form is available to fill out on the website. Background checks will be undertaken.

Heaston urges applicants with a desire to volunteer at a specific park or forest to investigate the needs of the property directly online.

Hosts who return for repeated stays at campgrounds become valued partners with DNR.

"They’re like an extension of our staff," Heaston said. "They become part of our family."

No posts to display