Podcast Episodes

Park Ranger Emily Kohl describes a Napa Valley opportunity at the USACE project at Lake Sonoma in Episode 103

Today, I am going to talk with one of our friends at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about Workamping opportunities in central California.

Emily Kohl is the park ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project at Lake Sonoma, near Geyserville, Calif., which is about 25 miles north of Santa Rosa in the heart of wine country.

She describes the property as a gem located at the end of dead-end road. Very few people venture that far down the road, but those who do are treated to a natural wonderland. People can drive in or boat in for camping and I understand the views are tremendous.

The project has a fish hatchery that grows steelhead trout and releases them to migrate to the ocean. The fish return inland as adults to spawn, with some growing as large as 5 pounds.  Fish of that size attract eagles and other big birds to the area.

Emily needs Workampers to serve as camp hosts and to help out in the visitor centers by selling merchandise and leading people on tours of the hatchery. The volunteers also provide maintenance and landscaping services as well as serve as gate monitors by interacting with guests and ensuring fees are being paid.

In exchange for a free full-hookup site, the Workampers donate at least 24 hours of time per week and commit to working at least three months. Because it is so rural, volunteers get access to a telephone landline as well as a limited internet connection.

Because the park is open year-round, the volunteer opportunities are available year-round as well. That means that Emily is continually accepting applications from potential Workampers.

The project is in a beautiful part of the state. It’s about an hour from the Pacific Ocean, about an hour and a half from San Francisco, two hours to Sacramento, and less than an hour from the world-famous Napa Valley wineries.

Emily is recruiting Workampers for this summer, fall and next winter. Interested volunteers can simply send Emily a resume outlining their experience and things they are interested in doing. Because it is federal job on a military-managed recreation site, volunteers will have to be fingerprinted and submit to a background check.

If accepted for the job, Workampers are trained to lead tours. They are also given more information about the project, its history and the role it plays in preserving fish.

Working a minimum of 24 hours a week ensures that volunteers have time to enjoy all the park amenities, such as boating, fishing, horseback riding, archery and even disc golf. The whole project area is 17,600 acres, so there are plenty of things for Workampers to do, especially knowing they generally have four days off in a row.

If you love being outdoors and are a connoisseur of fine wine, you will love this Workamping opportunity at Sonoma Lake in central California. To get the ball rolling, send an email to Emily Kohl at Emily.T.Kohl@usace.army.mil.

Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is a former journalist who covered the recreation vehicle industry since 2009. He started podcasting in 2014 and enjoys interviewing people about ways to live, work and play in their RVs.

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