Buffalo National River is now accepting applications for volunteer campground hosts at five National Park Service-administered campgrounds—Steel Creek, Kyles Landing, Ozark, Tyler Bend, and Buffalo Point. Campground hosts assist National Park Service personnel in welcoming visitors, providing park information, ensuring camper registration and payment of fees, promoting the use of Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics, maintaining campground facilities, and reporting issues that require immediate attention.
Campground hosts traditionally live on-site in their RV or camper and serve for at least 90 days during the camping season (March 15 – November 15). Host campsites include water and electric hookups. Most of these sites also include sewer. Duty location descriptions are as follows:
Steel Creek Campground is located about 3 miles east of Ponca in the park’s Upper District. This campground has 26 walk-in tent camping sites and 14 drive-in horse camping sites. Steel Creek Ranger Station is staffed seasonally and offers park information and trail maps to visitors. A research learning center is also located on-site, serving as a field station for researchers and university groups. Steel Creek is a very popular location for paddling, hiking, and horseback riding, with peak visitation in the spring and fall.
Kyles Landing Campground is about halfway between Ponca and Jasper in the park’s Upper District. The entrance road into Kyles Landing is gravel and very rough, so a 4-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle is recommended. The campground has 33 tent camping sites available on a first come, first served basis. Kyles Landing is a very popular river access for springtime paddlers, and many hikers and backpackers use it as their basecamp.
Ozark Campground is a few miles north of Jasper in the park’s Upper District. The campground has 31 sites available on a first come, first served basis. A beautiful pool at the base of Briar Bluff attracts swimmers and anglers in the summertime, and hikers access the Buffalo River Trail here in the spring and fall. The campground also has a pavilion that can be reserved online, so the host in this location will work closely with park staff to manage reservations.
Tyler Bend Campground is about 6 miles south of St. Joe in the park’s Middle District. The campground has 10 walk-in sites, 28 drive-in sites, and 5 group sites. The campground provides flush restrooms and shower facilities. A pavilion can be reserved online, so the host in this location will work closely with park staff to manage reservations. Tyler Bend Visitor Center, located up the hill from the campground, is regularly staffed and features interpretive exhibits and park information. Tyler Bend is particularly busy during the spring/summer paddling season.
Buffalo Point Campground is the largest campground in the park, with 83 drive-in sites, 21 walk-in sites, and 5 group sites. Buffalo Point offers the most visitor services and amenities of any campground, including electric and water hookups, shower houses, a picnic area, multiple pavilions, a swimming beach, and consistent summer programming. Many of Buffalo Point’s sites and facilities can be reserved online, so campground hosts will work closely with park staff to manage reservations. Buffalo Point is busiest between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but the campground has steady use during the entire camping season of March 15 – November 15.
Volunteers interested in enhancing visitor experiences while performing meaningful work that protects Buffalo National River and its resources are encouraged to apply online at www.volunteer.gov. The application period will remain open until these positions are filled for 2019.