Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Park Volunteers Offer Helping Hand

Knoxville News Sentinel - Knoxville,TN,USA
As officers for the Georgia State Highway Patrol, Fred and Laura Ellis weren't typically sought out by motorists.

As volunteer roadside assistants for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the couple are in high demand. They're among several kinds of volunteers in the park during the summer season.

They carry battery cables and a little gas, park maps and brochures and a two-way radio that puts them in instant contact with law enforcement and emergency crews. Their park service uniforms and distinctive Toyota Prius make them easy for visitors to spot.

In return for the couple's aid - both give about 35 hours per week - the National Park Service provides them a space for their Pace Arrow motor home, complete with electricity, sewer and water hookups (not offered to national park campers).

Campground hosts, usually couples who volunteer at the park's larger campgrounds, fall into another category of volunteers who also are rewarded with a place to park their campers.

Linda and Charlie Montgomery of Oak Ridge volunteer six months a year at Elkmont Campground, their summer home in the Smokies for the past 14 years.

The pair spend 35 or so hours per week conducting volunteer duties, mainly at the campground check-in station.
Full Story...
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