May – Sep 2018
We were amazed at what this park had to offer – 4000 acres of forest and meadow, 45 miles of trails, 4 campgrounds with 230 sites, a museum, a beach, a marina, 5 disk golf courses, and a “tree to tree” obstacle course. On arrival we were welcomed by our volunteer ranger, an incredible lady – energized, funny, helpful….and willing to let experiment! We were in charge of evening programs on weekends, a Junior Ranger class on Saturday, and the development/posting of the activities schedule.
Getting ready for the season, we helped clean and organize the museum (the park was a WWII Naval training facility), became familiar with the facilities/trails, and worked on our evening programs. We also helped prepare a new room in the museum, the “Junior Ranger Station”; a place where children could learn and have fun under the direction of our fellow interpretive host, a retired teacher. She did an incredible job of turning a bare room into a wonderland of challenging puzzles, games, nature displays, and projects. At the end of the year, her effort resulted in over 4000 visits from children!
We were very, very happy with our site. We were on one of six sites hidden in the trees away from the campgrounds. The sites were huge, landscaped, and had a table and fire ring. We quickly became a little community that came together frequently.
The volunteer coordinator had the difficult job of managing over 40 volunteers – camp hosts, interpretive hosts, kiosk hosts, project hosts, cabin hosts….quite a group. But it all worked and people all got along well. We enjoyed pot lucks with both volunteers and staff, evening fireside get togethers, and informal restaurant meet-ups.
We settled into a routine of evening programs that started with the audience participation followed by a video or movie. Friday became “Bill Nye the Science Guy” night, and Saturday was our family movie night; nature films like “My Life as a Turkey”, “Leave it to Beavers”, and others. We averaged well over 1000 attendees a month!
The only negative during our stay was the smoke from wildfires in Oregon and Washington. While we had no fires nearby, the air quality became poor by mid-August, but was not in the unhealthy range.
Another positive aspect of the position was that Coeur d’Alene, with great shopping and dining, was only 30 miles away via 4-lane highway.
Overall, our stay at Farragut SP ranks as one of the best we had, and we plan on returning for the 2019 season.