Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Humbug Mountain State Park

Location:  Three miles South of Port Orford, Oregon, on the Southern Oregon Coast
Dates:  May-Sep 2012
Duties:  Brenda and I conducted the Oregon State Park’s “Junior Ranger” program and gave a program on Seals and Sea Lions of the Oregon Coast each Friday.
Hours:  Junior Ranger started at 10:00 and lasted one hour, not including project development and prep time.  The Friday program was one hour plus setup.
Humbug Mtn BeachHumbug Mountain SP is one of Oregon’s best kept secrets.  located behind the tallest mountain on the coast, it’s shielded from the marine layer and much of the rain and wind that is common along the coast.  The park is relatively small, with two loops and trails, beach access, and amphitheater.  Uncommon on the Oregon coast is that each loop has a large, treeless center where kids and adults can enjoy the sun. 
Making the SalamanderThe Junior Ranger Program was a joy for both of us.  Five days a week (Wed-Sun) we gathered children throughout the campground, taught a subject on nature and the environment, and finished by making a “craft” corresponding with the day’s subject.  We made hummingbird feeders, beaded Salamanders, and Harbor Seal visors, and led expeditions into the stream where we thrashed around the water trying to capture invertebrates.  It was all great fun, and made possible with the support of a great Interpretive Ranger.  He gave us the freedom to be creative and supported us throughout our stay.  He and the park staff were one of the best groups we’ve ever worked with!
Catching Creek Critters
Port Orford from Humbug MountainPort Orford doesn’t offer much, just a few restaurants and a few stores.  Brookings and Coos Bay/North Bend are both located 50 miles in either direction and have the usual variety of shopping and restaurants.  There’s plenty to see along the coast, and you can pick mussels off of the rocks or fish from the shore. 
Humbug Mtn SiteThe host sites are outstanding:  full hookups with 50A power, a large paver-brick patio, large table, and fire ring.  It was a little tough getting our rig into the spot, but well worth it – what a great stay with great people!

D.C. Booth Historic Fish Hatchery

Location:  Spearfish, SD
Dates:  May-Aug 2011
Duties:  This is a big operation, with 10 volunteer couples.  Men give tours of the museum and historic railcar, while women give tours of the historic superintendent’s house and work in the visitor center/gift shop.
Hours:  3 days on/3 off, approximately 24 hours/week each.
Hatchery EntranceThis is the US Fish & Wildlife’s “Historic Fish Hatchery and Archives”, and is on the grounds of an 1899 hatchery.  Although no longer operating as a hatchery, there are ponds with “show” trout, and a large viewing area at the visitor center where visitors can feed the up to 30-pound Brown and Rainbow Trout.  MuseumThe hatchery grounds are beautifully maintained by local volunteers, and the work is relatively easy and enjoyable.  Volunteers work either an early or late shift, as the hatchery buildings are open from 9:00 to 7:00 PM. 

Booth HouseThe Volunteer Village is one of the best we’ve seen; ten paved sites are located in a separate area of Spearfish Park with a trout-filled stream directly behind.  The sites are roomy, with grass and trees along the stream.  There’s a large community area with a 20-foot trout-shaped fireplace, tables, and outlets for the frequent potlucks.  The park is located across from the hatchery, just a short walk to work.
Gift Shop & Viewing PondSpearfish is a prime example of small-town America.  Friendly people, excellent library and hospital, and adequate shopping, including a Super Wal-Mart and Lowe’s.  The town is located the foot of Spearfish Canyon, a stunning area that leads to the heart of the Black Hills.  Rapid City, with a Mall and all of the usual box stores, is less than an hour’s drive by interstate.  Mount Rushmore ViewRushmore, Crazy Horse, and Custer State park are an easy drive, and Devil’s Tower is only 60 miles away.
The staff is friendly and easy to work with, and the working conditions are very good except that the historic home is not air conditioned and can be uncomfortable.  Overall, this is an excellent place to spend the summer and explore the area.