When you travel, it is a safe bet that you will visit at least one park during your adventure. There are so many types of parks from national parks to theme parks, but we are going to focus on state parks. The maintenance workers who take jobs at these types of parks are the real heroes, but there are still some things they want you to know.
When you catch a glimpse through the eyes of a maintenance worker, it is easy to spot the problems. These usually lie with the visitors themselves as their demands or actions reflect poorly on the people who work so hard to make the park bright and beautiful. Keep reading to learn ten things a park maintenance worker wants you to know!
10 Areas Are Closed For Your Safety
When an area is roped off or a road is shut down, the workers are doing it for your safety. Many times they host events, such as runs or craft fairs, that restrict the flow of traffic. There are other times when the park has to be shut down due to bad weather, which can cause things like flooded roadways, avalanches, and so much more.
When things like this happen do not cut across the grass they work so hard to keep in great condition and don't disobey their orders. They may not be the law, but usually, the roadblocks they place are due to orders from park officers.
9 They Don't Have All Of The Answers
Some visitors like to play twenty questions with maintenance workers. This is fine, as long as you understand they don't always have all of the answers. If you grow visibly upset because they couldn't answer your question, it doesn't help anyone in the situation. It is quite common for these workers to be told the bare minimum, and kept in the dark about decisions until it is finalized.
The only exception to this rule is the maintenance supervisor or manager, but they will still probably refer all of your questions to the manager of the park itself. They are paid to clean up after you, not make decisions that would change the way the park is ran.
8 Many Are Underfunded
This is especially true of state parks because the state itself determines which parks are given the most funds. If a park looks like it is in disrepair, do not blame it on your maintenance workers. They usually make do with what is given to them, which includes utilizing old cans of paint, digging through drawers to find a screw, and coming up with DIY methods on the fly to fix things.
If your park isn't up to par then you should consider starting a fund specifically for that park to upgrade it in some fashion. Your focus could be on redoing the bathrooms or expanding the summer flora, but the point is you can do something about it.
7 Seasonal Workers Do The Grunt Work
Parks are notorious for hiring seasonal workers once the summer hits. There are plenty of jobless college and high school students lying around looking for an opportunity, and these are one of the best. Guests should understand this and be willing to work with these newbies who probably have no idea what they are doing.
It is not uncommon either for these seasonal workers to need help navigating the park itself due to their inexperience. If they don't have the answer then consider asking them for a full-time worker or call the park office. The individuals in other positions are trained to know the answers you seek while screaming or berating a seasonal will get you nowhere.
6 It Is Usually Minimum Wage
The other thing to note about many of these seasonal workers who make up the majority of the summer workforce, is they are usually only paid minimum wage. Many state parks hate paying top dollar for maintenance employees and usually end up hiring several part-time workers to avoid paying them more than they have too.
If you tell them that your tax dollars are paying them to make the park look cleaner, they will probably just roll their eyes. They are being taxed the same as you and every other employee in the state, so in a sense, they are working to pay themselves a measly and unlivable wage.
5 They Help Out The Park Officers
If a park officer isn't in sight while you are doing something against park policy, chances are a maintenance worker will report it. They usually have walkie talkies, and some parks have implemented a practice where they can get in touch with the officer on duty if they see anything suspicious.
Parks are usually understaffed in terms of law enforcement, and people generally don't care if a maintenance worker is loitering around. They sometimes see more and hear more reports from visitors about pedophiles, drownings, stalkers, illegal substances, and so much more. If you have something that needs to be reported either call the police or if you don't have cell service, tell your closest park worker if there is no ranger in sight.
4 They Usually Fix Everything, Even If They Don't Know How
It is not uncommon for park maintenance workers to be employed as unskilled workers and learn as they go on the job. They are usually responsible for fixing things like plumbing and electrical, as well as dabbling in woodworking or tree removal from time to time.
It costs money to call in a contractor, so these workers, whether they know how to or not, are tasked with repairing whatever is broken. They might not have the right tools or the knowledge of how to do it safely, but part of their job description is to take a crack at it, which sometimes can make things even worse.
3 Broken Amenities Are Usually Caused By Other Park Visitors
If something is broken at the park, you shouldn't be pointing a finger at the maintenance worker. Instead, you should point it at the other visitors around you because they are the ones who usually break things within the park. This could be anything including toilets, water fountains, windows, and even broken pieces of the sidewalk.
You would be amazed by the lack of respect some people have for things that are not theirs and the lengths they go to make sure no one can have any fun. Many of the rules and regulations you might find silly are in place because uncaring park visitors have done exactly that and made it harder on everyone involved to have a good time.
2 Asking For Help Isn't Always A Bad Thing
We stated earlier in this list that maintenance workers don't have all of the answers, but that doesn't mean you can't ask for help. Many of them are very knowledgeable or at least versed in the basic questions that are frequently asked of them at the park.
If you want to know where the restrooms are or how to reach the entrance to a certain trail, that's fine, just don't expect them to be able to identify the tree fifty paces away.
1 Summer Holidays Are Their Busiest Days
The busiest days for park maintenance workers come during summer holidays like Labor Day and the Fourth of July. These festivities usually require their complete attention and dedication as much as a week ahead of time as they rush to mow the grass, fix any major issues, and ensure it looks in shape before their managers show up.
The day of the event these workers are usually focused on filling the restrooms with toilet paper and soap, as well as taking care of trash. If a worker offers you a trash bag and you think you might need it, then take it. Their goal is to keep the park clean and minimize the number of days it takes them to ring it back to its former glory.