We have been Camp Hosts officiallly for 14 days now.  I am enjoying learning new things and wake up each day curious to find out who will be joining us for a night or two.  
The challenges have been our learning curve and the policies that the company we work for has written.  We work for a CONCESSIONAIRE and that means they got a contract to manage this camp site as well as many others in INYO as well as other places.   In order to get this contract you have to have so many systems in place to comply with what the Forest Service (representing “the people” technically) want done.
The bottom line is that the Forest Service and National Parks Service want men, women and children to get outside and enjoy the planet.  They have rules for guests that they enforce, not us.  We just pay attention to what is happening and make sure the sites are excellent to give the guest a really nice place to experience.
There have been a few rules I did not know about and I thought I’d pass them on to you so you don’t get a citation for $300 or more.  These might not all make sense but, believe me, after being here for over 2 weeks I can see they had forethought.
– Never leave a campfire unattended while hot or lit.  EVER.  

– Never leave your campsite with your pets unattended all the time.

– Never drip grease or food into your campfire.

– Never let drippings or food drop onto your bear box or table.  Clean up your messes immediately.  Bears will hunt the space down after you leave…not cool for the next guest.

– Don’t leave your children at your site unattended.

– Keep 100% of everything you bring that has a scent of ANY kind in your bear box unless you are using it.  Note to those of you that like to wear scented products: leave them at home.  

– Bears do not want to hurt people but if you surround them and make them feel concerned, they have a natural instinct to take care of business as nature would have planned.  You cannot reason with them or tell them you are entitled to that bacon you placed on the grill or the stringer of fish you spent all day catching.  Bears run 30-40 miles per hour and you cannot hide in your tent or truck.  Just respect that they are the boss of the food situation and you control your experiences by leaving as little presence as possible.

– Bears are attracted to more than the scent of food (crap!).  They have been learning how to survive!  Now they also notice bright colors (people with bright tents beware!).

– Plan to stay at a First Come First Serve place?  Respect the guests that are staying there and talk to the Host first.  Most likely they know the status of their guests and plans to stay and add time to their plans or leave.  Check OUT is noon and Check IN is 2pm.  That gives enough time to clean a site.

– Bring cash to pay exact change.  

– If you are Military make sure you bring your ID for a MAJOR discount in most places.

– If you are over 62 years old you need to get yourself a GOLDEN AGE PASS to get 50% off of each night you stay.  You have to have the ID on you and you have to have your ID to match it.  Don’t dillly dally on this.  Check it out here.

– Do not try to sneak things past the Camp Hosts.  They’re just the buffer between you and some major authorities you will have to negotiate your rule-breaking with (and you will lose).  The local police department, Forest Services, Sheriff and/or National Park Rangers will basically stare at you watching you dance and explain why you snuck more than the approved number of people on your site, why you are parking more than your allotted vehicle or disturbing your neighbors.

– Be nice and respectful to the hosts.  You never know when you’ll need them to bend the rules for you and if you are a jerk you can guarantee they will make sure every single rule is applied.

Ok that’s enough for now.

OH, and we have met some amazing other hosts that will be our friends for the rest of our lives!

We pigged out at Gomez’s (they have vegan options!!) and had so much fun learning about each other, our backgrounds, experience, plans and families.  This is Mona, Bill, Mike and Betsy.

Mona, Bill, me, Mike “aka Aladdin”, Randy and Betsy.
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