When Jackson County Parks closed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, much of the staff was reduced. Thankfully, volunteer Camp Hosts have stayed on-site throughout the county to maintain the parks and ensure they are ready for the public once they reopen. “Volunteer Camp Hosts are the heart and soul of our parks system here in Jackson County,” says Steve Lambert, Parks Program Manager. “We could not operate our parks without them, and we are very grateful for the dedicated services that our hosts provide. Even during this challenging time, they are working behind the scenes to ensure our parks look their best when our guests return to our parks.”
Camp Hosts have been providing valuable operational assistance to over 20 Jackson County parks since the 1990s and have continued this work while the facilities are closed. “We’re just doing our part. The county has other places they need to focus on,” says Pam Yeoman, Camp Host at Cantrall Buckley Park. Pam and her husband, Bill Yeoman, have been Camp Hosts with Jackson County since 2015 and have been maintaining the land and cleaning the bathrooms for the entirety of the shutdown. “The community around here really loves this park,” says Mrs. Yeoman. “We want to make sure that it looks good for when they are ready to come back.”
Jackson County also maintains the Southern Oregon RV Park, which provided out-of-town essential health care workers with a place to stay while assisting our community in the COVID-19 crisis. Roy Burk, who has been a Camp Host since 2014, has been working hard alongside his fellow Camp Hosts to keep the facilities clean and the health care workers healthy and happy. “Jackson County Parks has been doing a great job of giving us the tools we need,” says Burk. “They did an excellent job of designing and building this park. We are excited to open it up again.”
As the parks begin to reopen, the Camp Hosts urge the public to be respectful of the parks and take things slowly. “There will be some new rules, and we just ask that the community follow them,” says Bill Yeoman, who encourages Jackson County residents to get a seasonal pass to the parks in order to reduce person-to-person contact at the park entrances.
Pictures of the maintenance work being done by Curt Cobb and Connie Palanuk at Cantrall Buckley Park are below: