Select Page

a season as BC Park Operators at Morton Lake

January 22, 2022

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work for BC Parks? We did, and so we applied for the job at Morton Lake Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, BC. We were lucky enough to be employed as a BC Park Operator for the summer of 2021. The park is in the heart of the Sayward Valley, which is one of the more popular area on the Island with lots of trails to hike, lakes to swim in, and spectacular views to enjoy. It was a fantastic experience, and we loved every minute of it! This blog post will share some of our highlights from the season.

“We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees.”
– Qwatsinas

Cliff is ready to work

Our home from home 

We wanted to learn more about managing a campground, so we started our journey at Morton Lake Provincial Park. As well as meeting many amazing people, we learned about the area and wildlife surrounding us. In our spare time, we went swimming in the lakes, fishing, boating, kayaking, and taking walks with our dogs; this job offered so much more. Despite cleaning outhouses, removing garbage, enforcing park rules, and dealing with difficult campers, it was an enjoyable experience that left lasting memories. Even if it isn’t always glamorous, when it’s all said and done, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being able to say, “I worked on a campground!”

The campground on Morton Lake has a large day-use area with 2 beach change houses and a sandy beach perfect for picnics, swimming and building sandcastles! Twenty-four cozy campsites are situated, lakeside and provide a truly “back-to-nature” camping experience.
There are outhouses and a freshwater pump but no other services are available. Your cellphone will collect dust out here as it will not work ( only mountains and nature no cell towers in sight anywhere) A shock for many when they first arrive, but it’s amazing how quickly the device loses its interest.

Our campsite is located in the maintenance yard between the boat launch of Mohun Lake and Morton Lake, which is great because we had some privacy. There was also our own outhouse in the yard for us to use if needed! In addition, the outside shower Cliff built was great for when we returned from a day of work and play. After setting up our campsite, Cliff and I took out our boat and fishing rods right away and tried our luck. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch any fish at all. We realized that it was too early and the fish weren’t biting as well as we were not experienced enough yet. Later in the season and after many tips from campers on how to fish we did get lucky and finally enjoyed fresh-caught trout cooked over the fire Mmmm! 

Just a regular day

I live in a beautiful part of British Columbia, and I run through the rainforest. I do have to look over my shoulder to check for a cougar or a wolf though, so sometimes it’s not the most relaxing. Ruth Otzeki

At 9 AM sharp our day starts up. We first tour the campground and collect overnight fees from those who came late the night before and haven’t paid yet.
Then we empty all the garbage and recycling bins.
Next, we check all the campsites to ensure they’re clean and garbage-free, wipe the picnic tables, check the fire pits and make sure the fire is entirely out. Then, finally, we rake the site for the new guests.
The Outhouses are cleaned and wiped down, checked for garbage left behind, and toilet paper and sanitizer refilled. We Sweep floors and mop. Dust spiderwebs and any other natural debris as it is an Outhouse in the woods after all. I found frogs, nasty spiders, striking caterpillars, lots of slugs and even a garter snake( I am terrified of snakes, Yikes!)
We Greet all visitors to the park, whether they’re camping or not, and help them navigate the facilities if they need it. Offer advice on any hiking trails in and around the park that they might be interested in visiting, advise them if there is wildlife in the area ( Bears, Cougars, etc.) We also cut lawns, prune back vegetation and do lots of weeding.
When most campers have arrived in the afternoon, we tour around to check everyone in, collect money, and check out how everyone is doing, whether setting up their campsite, cooking on their stovetop, or just sitting around and visiting with friends. This way, we can offer help if needed and give us a chance to get to know all the campers if any issues arise later.
When night falls and the campfire is roaring, everyone congregates around it. We make sure no one’s site is getting too rowdy and that everyone is safe.We also sell firewood. Some people want to chat about life in general, while others want to ask questions about the park, what they’re allowed to do or not do.
Last but not least, we enforce the rules in the Provincial Park, which is not always fun but essential to keep British Columbia Beautiful.

Mohun Lake Boat Launch

 Morton Lake campground Fall

 Morton Lake campsite 

what did we learn?

 The forest is blanketed by the greenest ferns and moss and bonsai-like trees, a wild majesty that beckons hobbits and pixies and elves and dreamers. – Author: Shannon Mullen

 Fly Amanita (poisonous)

Cauliflower mushroom ( eatable)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What most surprised us was how creative campers could be with nature and how once people disconnected from technology, the human spirit rose to the surface. It was like finding treasures everywhere. We saw art through rocks, sticks, and sand as if the campers were reconnecting with nature and finding their inner self. It was a magical place where everyone could see wildlife, discover mushrooms, see plants and enjoy the most spectacular sunsets. In addition, for us, being in nature constantly offers a sense of peace and serenity.

 

We loved every minute of living in the Park, getting to know all the amazing campers and exploring some of Canada’s most beautiful nature. It was with mixed emotions that we departed from Morton Lake Provincial Park after the end of the season. But don’t worry! We will be back next year for another fantastic summer as your park operators. Until then, if you are ever out camping or fishing on one of our lakes please stop by and say hi!