Monday, December 01, 2008

Work Campers help maintain Everglades National Park

Retired Bell South training manager Dick Johnson stood in a remote wilderness campsite earlier this week , aiming the nozzle of a pressure washer at a wooden platform for a tent. A few yards away, his wife, Joyce, was scrubbing picnic tables, preparing for busloads of area elementary school students who soon will begin arriving for two-night stays through the winter.

The Johnsons are Everglades National Park seasonal volunteers, among a wave of retirees who play a growing role in operating the nation's park system as budgets are squeezed.

They also are self-described "rootless vagabonds," who spend the winter months in the Everglades, leaving the heat and mosquitoes in late April to drive their motor home to another national park for a May through September assignment. They recently volunteered as camp hosts at Olympic National Park in northwest Washington.
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