Beware Massachusetts DCR Camp Hosting
I signed on to be a camp host at Harold Parker State Forest late in the 'hiring' season; considering that most host camper positions are filled before the camping season opens, I should have been suspicious that the job was still open.
I started when my application came through six full weeks after it went into HQ; cleaning two bath houses twice daily was fine until the holiday weekend when two families well known to staff came for their two weeks.
Staff warned me of these families as well as telling me stories of two previous host campers who had been deemed PIAs (pains in the ___) and were the last host campers they'd had.
The common denominator in this story is the staff:
I became fully aware of problems among the staff and was immediately subjected to bizarre attention by the two rangers assigned to the park. They spread rumors that I was a large scale drug dealer (I was very recent ex-military in excellent standing) and approached me with odd demands such as not using ground-picked firewood, as it was reserved exclusively for headquarter's use in the winter, and I was not to socialize with other campers. That seemed strange.
Both admitted to spreading the rumors and one apologized - the other, more aggressive in her harassment, was told to apologize, but I decided to have no further contact with them and went to their superiors. Her schedule was changed so she would be supervised by the head of the park.
When the staff supervisor tried to teach me how to clean a bathroom (ex-army, remember?), I handed in my keys and quit as host camper. That night they unceremoniously unplugged my rig at ten at night, without warning, blowing out a good part of the electrical system in the trailer.
When I approached the supervisor and her crony, he came out of the booth and stood 2 feet outside my truck sucking on an ice pop like a four year old and taunted me until his supervisor called him inside.
The whole ordeal ended with me at Boston Headquarters being apologized to by the head of personnel, who told me they had a continuing problem at that location. When I looked into the DCR camp in Salisbury I learned that the wife of the man who was supposed to be running Harold Parkers was running Salisbury Beach. I couldn't really expect much better from that, could I?
I traveled south to three other DCR parks; one had a host camper who came out in boxer shorts to guide me into a site too small for my rig. I moved on when he decided to put me on a site with no water or electric hook ups, though I'd paid for them. Next stop had no shade or hook ups, though they had told me they did when I called ahead of my four hour drive. Then they got angry that I wouldn't stay (I have dogs- no shade + 90 degree heat = dead animals).
Last place I tried had sites for 35 foot rigs that wouldn't accommodate my 30 footer.
Run, don't walk, far, far away from DCR locations in Massachusetts. (DCR = Dept. of Conservation & Recreation.) Steer clear of DCR-run parks
Julie, Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I'm really amazed to hear how unprofessional these DCR rangers were - sounds like they might have been trained at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles, which is where I tend to find people like that. I hope you finally found a good park!