Our gate staff are frontline heroes of park operations.
(If you’ve ever checked into a bustling park on a busy Friday afternoon, you already know exactly What are we talking about!)
The gate staff works very hard to get you into the park as quickly as possible, while balancing many priorities in a hectic environment.
Here are five things they would like you to know about working at the gate:
1. The front door is an information center.
Camper registration is only part of what happens at the checkpoint. Many important facets of park operations pass through the front door.
The main gate supports the rest of the park by listening to all incoming radio messages. If guards need to inform the door about the arrival of an ambulance, or if maintenance personnel have a plumbing emergency, it is a priority that the door is listening for and receiving those transmissions.
This is important for both the safety of our visitors and their overall experience in the park.
All of this happens while providing excellent customer service to a high volume of visitors who arrive throughout the day.
2. It’s a busy environment
Our door staff are experts in multiple tasks.
At any given time, they may be checking in campers, selling firewood or ice, taking radio calls, or helping other visitors with emergencies.
Please understand that your attention may change depending on the calls you receive. Although they are pulled in several directions, we promise they will help you get into the park as quickly as possible.
If you have a question for our gate staff but see a line, consider returning to the gate at a non-peak time or searching the park tabloid to see if the information you need is there.
We love answering questions, but we need to be aware of lines that get jammed and cause congestion.
3. It’s loud!
You may hear our door staff say this frequently!
A busy environment brings noise. Sometimes it can be difficult for our staff to hear you through the front door window.
If you are requesting a campground reservation, you can help make the process easier by preparing a list of the names of everyone staying at your site. Remember: staff must collect this information and confirm it is accurate!
Don’t forget that you can also pre-register your information in your online account before you arrive to speed things up.
4. Weekends are always busy
When a line forms, it is not because our staff is not doing their job.
We understand that no one wants to be stuck waiting in line, however, there is no escaping the fact that some arrival times are busier than others.
To optimize your front door experience, consider arriving before or after peak times. Our busiest times during the summer are around 4:00 pm on Fridays and between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
You can avoid lines by planning your camping or daytime arrival outside of these hours. If you arrive before your campsite’s check-in time, you can enter and enjoy the park until your site is available. as long as there is space and the park is not full.
5. We hate to disappoint our visitors
The most difficult part of the gate staff’s job is when they have to inform our enthusiastic visitors that the park is full and we cannot accommodate them. It’s never fun to be the bearer of bad news.
To avoid disappointment, make sure you have planned as much of your trip in advance as possible. Remember that you can reserve your campsite up to five months in advance in our online reservation service.
You can also reserve your daily vehicle permit in advance at many parks.
The door staff are humane and do their best to help our visitors in any way they can. If you are frustrated with your experience, please do not take it out on our staff.
What you can do
Coming prepared helps ensure a smooth check-in at the park.
Have your campground number handy and do your research in advance about the park you will be visiting.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on your park’s social media channels and alerts page for important updates.
Our staff is as passionate about the park as you are, and they can’t wait to welcome you!
The next time you arrive at the front door, we hope you practice patience, kindness, and understanding.