Kathy and Gene Ford

Kathy and Gene Ford

Gene and I have been full-time RV'ers for five years. We love volunteering for National Wildlife Refuges and were thrilled when we got the call from Fran to volunteer the summer of 2010. The very first day we arrived we found out how accommodating the staff is. Our motorhome is 40' long and they were concerned that we might have difficulty making the turn from the highway to the RV site, so Jesse was using the dozer to enlarge the corner of the entrance! Needless to say, we made the corner and when we got to the RV sites we were stunned to see large concrete pads with full hookups with 50 amp electric. The RV sites are out in the woods and we had excellent satellite reception for our television, good Verizon cell phone and computer coverage. A washer and dryer is available about a mile from the RV site in one of the many properties the refuge owns. We had all sorts of wildlife visit our "home in the forest" the entire summer. We had deer, turkeys, raccoons, birds galore and even "Old Joe", a limping older bear.

Our primary responsibilities were to maintain the hiking trails, hunt parking areas, canoe access parking lots and mowing and weed eating the many properties the the refuge owns. One of the greatest things about Wallkill River NWR is that anything you need to do your job is provided! The riding mowers, weed eaters, chainsaws and anything else you need is available and in tiptop shape. There were special projects as well........including taking apart a steel and wooden bridge, trailblazing the new Timberdoodle Trail, and working the very popular Refuge Days Event. 

The entire staff of Wallkill River NWR is appreciative of everything you do for the refuge and the lunch hours were a great gathering of staff and volunteers. Everyone genuinely cares for each other and it shows in the operation of the refuge! If you want a volunteer job where you are told what needs to be done and you are given the proper tools for the proper job, this is the place for you! This is one refuge that we were truly sad to leave at the end of our summer... we never had the dreaded "hitch itch" that can occur when you get towards the end of a volunteer experience. We highly recommend Wallkill River NWR to all our fellow volunteers! I imagine down the road there will be a waiting list to volunteer here.