Parks and Rec

Park Host with the Most Gets Board Recognition

Retiring after 34 years as a maintenance supervisor, Denny Bosley couldn’t just sit around so he and his wife Diane started a new adventure.

Their children now grown, the couple left their past lives in Ohio and Georgia behind and came to San Diego County. No, not to live at the beach, but at a remote campground at Vallecito County Park in the Anza-Borrego Desert – and they couldn’t be happier.

Bosley is a park host and after only eight months in the role, he was honored Tuesday by the County Board of Supervisors as the Volunteer of the Month.

“It’s a shock to me to be recognized with something so honorable,” said Bosley.

Park hosts typically serve 20 hours a week in exchange for an RV site and full hook-ups. They help rangers and other paid staff by working to keep the park clean and well-maintained.

“Rangers rely heavily on park hosts to be the eyes and ears for them,” said Parks Volunteer Coordinator Cheryl Wegner. “Rangers may come by a couple of times a day to make sure everything is OK but if there’s a busy weekend, then the park host is the go-to guy.”

Vallecito is a 71-acre park located east of Julian with tent, RV and equestrian campsites. The park surrounds the historic Butterfield Stage Station where stagecoach riders once rested while the horses were changed.

Now campers, hikers and equestrians looking for a quiet campground visit Vallecito, the Spanish word for Little Valley, where Bosley personally greets each one. He opens the reconstructed stage station for tours, has been known to help visitors with car problems and has even searched for lost hikers. This on top of repairing the roof and walls of the adobe stage station, repairing a garage roof and helping with the installation of a new water well, tank and paving.

Bosley saved the day during the park’s busiest weekend of the year, the Vallecito Day Celebration, when visitors can get a taste of frontier life in the 1860s. During the event, the park’s water system malfunctioned. No small problem with dozens of people and their horses camping there for the  weekend.

“He’s that kind of guy, he’ll dwell on the problem,” said Wegner. “Then at 3 a.m., a light bulb went off, he got up and fixed the darn thing.”

He came around in the morning and made sure everybody had the water they needed for showers and for the horses and the weekend event went off without a hitch.

Bosley says he gets immense satisfaction from his volunteer work. He loves meeting the people who visit the park. His wife, Diane, says she loves the scenery. They both love to be outside enjoying the weather. She’s been hired on as a seasonal worker at Agua Caliente Park just four miles to the south.

Neither one was a regular camper before they came to live year round at Vallecito.    

Right now, both parks are closed for the summer except for the skeleton crew required for maintenance. The thermometer has already hit 117 degrees at Vallecito but Bosley says the temperatures are bearable.

He says he’s happy for the opportunity to act as a park host at Vallecito. As his wife, Diane, puts it “We don’t know how to sit and relax!” 

More than 29,000 people volunteered for the County in Fiscal Year 2012/13 providing $40 million worth of volunteer hours. If you’re interested in donating your time, visit the County’s Volunteer Service Program.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact