24 Jun Where’s the Bathroom? and Other Visitor Center Musings
¡Hola a todos!
When I am not giving interpretive programs, you can most likely find me at the visitor center answering visitor questions and trip planning. I hadn’t realized this before but working a visitor center desk, you need to know a LOT of information. Like an encyclopedic amount of knowledge.
My first shift at the desk, I did not know much about anything at all. I barely knew where I was on the map (which I had to read backwards btw). And I was kind of worried about it! No one likes not knowing the answer to questions, especially when you’re supposed to be an expert!
But I soon realized the secret to why I didn’t have to worry.
Each visitor had the same questions! Mostly it’s “I just got here, what should I see?” or “where’s the bathroom” (despite passing it on the way in haha). So it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be!
There’s still a couple people per day that ask me very specific questions like “If I have a 32.5 foot RV can I camp at Death Valley National Park?” or “Can my dog go fishing on National Forest land or does he need a fishing license?” Ok so maybe the questions aren’t so ridiculous but sometimes I have no idea how to answer them. Thankfully, I have the very knowledgeable staff consisting of the Sequoia Park Conservancy and the National Forest Service that I can ask for help!
Besides questions, manning the visitor center gives me the chance to interact with a variety of people. From swearing in Junior Rangers to giving directions to retired elderly couples wearing matching T-shirts, most people are very nice and grateful for the help. I have also translated a few times for Spanish speaking visitors. I’ve realized I don’t know a lot of camping/nature words in Spanish so I need to practice!
So far I’ve had fun talking to all the people at the visitor center and look forward to a summer full of questions!