We have used state parks, commercial campgrounds, national park and forest campgrounds for 25+ years, but this is the first time we have seen what it takes to open a campground after it has been shut down for the winter. Just like RVs have to be winterized when they are stored for the cold-weather months, campgrounds at higher elevations (anywhere it freezes for several hours at a time) are also winterized. Now is the time all of that is reversed.
Water has to be turned on to all of the faucets throughout the campground. Everything has to be checked for leaks. Each shower has its own instant hot water heater. Those have to be reassembled. Toilets have to be checked, as do sinks. Vault toilet facilities have to be opened and cleaned and the lights that are controlled by an electric eye must be checked. Every electrical hookup box that was turned off has to be checked—does the 30 amp outlet have power? The 20 amp outlet? And does the GFCI work to prevent shocks due to improper grounding and other issues.
Fallen branches have to be picked up. They may be blocking campsites. Besides, they may be used for campfires, even if they are six feet long and the fire ring is only three feet in diameter.
The campground registration building has to be cleaned and opened and extra seasonal staff trained for campground registration and maintenance. Signs indicating the hours the Visitor Center is open have to be changed and notices of programs put out.
There are always problems, of course. The power went out just as the vault toilet lights were being tested and the shower house was being prepared. Today, a concrete saw was rented to allow access to a broken water pipe in the dump station.
Campground reservations begin today. Somehow, that must give everyone permission to come camping. During the first 16 days of May, no more than 5 to 10 campers were here in Mueller State Park at any one time. This weekend, all but two of our 110 electrical campsites are reserved.
It’s like someone has turned on the faucet of trailers and vehicles and kids and bikes. Thank heavens all the water is running in the restrooms and showers and water spigots and dump station.