Sunday, August 5, 2012

Park Manager Daniel Gambrell Explains Volunteering and Camp Hosting, and Updates us on Developments at Sesqui State Park

During a visit to Sesquicentennial State Park in late July, I was able to corner Park Manager Daniel Gambrell for another interview. During earlier conversations Daniel had mentioned the importance of volunteers and camp hosts at his Park. So I asked him for some more detail.

He said Sesqui attracts about 150 volunteers a year. They work on everything from trail maintenance to operating the fee station. A wide variety of jobs. To apply, just drop by the Park, describe your interests and talents, and work out a mutually agreeable schedule. The only general requirement is a desire to work out-of-doors in a State Park!


Click this button to hear Park Manager Gambrell explain volunteering at South Carolina’s State Parks.

Sesqui, and many other South Carolina State Parks, has a special category of volunteers: members of “Friends of Sesqui.” Sesqui’s friends group has become considerably more active during the past year or so. Like the Park System’s other friends groups, Friends of Sesqui is a 501C3 non-profit corporation. Which means contributions are deductible. They also have their own Facebook page. Click here to access that.

Friends Group volunteers help with advertising and fundraising. They also help with special events. Like Sesqui’s wildly popular summer night family movie series. And they’ve recently made a big difference in the Park’s trails.


Click this button to hear Park Manager Gambrell describe the Sesqui’s newly energized Friends Group.

Those of us who camp at South Carolina’s state parks regularly appreciate the importance of campground hosts. Those folks who seem to appear magically when we need help. Or just need information about the Park or surrounding area.

Somehow Sesqui has been able to attract crackerjack campground hosts over the decades I’ve been camping here. A few return year after year to help out. You’ll see them set up on Campsite # 1 as you drive into the campground.

I’ve had a number of inquires here about becoming a campground host. So I asked Daniel how one might apply, and about their role at his Park. He described campground hosts as a variety of Volunteer. Interested folks should just fill out a volunteer application, specifying their interest in hosting. And be willing to donate 20 hours or more a week to the Park. In return, they get a free full hookup campsite while serving.


Click here to hear Park Manager Gambrell give more details about campground hosting at Sesqui.

Sesquicentennial State Park is just a stone’s throw from Downtown Columbia. So it attracts a lot of day visitors. Folks who aren’t camping, in other words. Many of those day visitors come to Sesqui for picnics.

They keep Sesqui’s picnic shelters and picnic pads busy year-round. The Park accepts picnic shelter reservations all year, but If you plan to come during warmer weather be especially sure to call for a reservation. Note that these picnic tables have been made wheelchair-friendly. Nice to see.

ClickToListen4I asked Daniel about his fancy new picnic table groupings on concrete slabs. Here’s his reply.

For the past seven years or so, Sesqui has sponsored a huge fenced-in dog park. I think it’s the only one in the whole Park System. Here your dog can have a good off-leash run in a safe environment. Use requires registration, payment of a small annual fee, and presentation of vaccination and neutering records.

This is a great facility. The Park personnel “interview” your dog for friendliness and snap a photo. You get a numbered tag for each dog and a key to the dog park gate. Excellent system!


Click here to hear Park Manager Gambrell describe his dog park and how it operates.

So, there you have it. We’re out of time. I hope to see you during your next visit to Sesquicentennial State Park here in Columbia.