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Archive for June, 2013

STAUNTON RIVER STATE PARK RANKED #1 IN CUSTOMER SATISFACTION


by Gary Waugh, Public Relations Manager, Virginia Department of Commerce & Recreation

Visitors ranked Staunton River State Park the best Virginia State Park for overall customer satisfaction, according to results from Virginia State Parks’ Your Comments Count surveys. The park recently received a certificate recognizing their accomplishment from the Office of the State Park Director in Richmond. It was presented to park staff by Craig Seaver, state parks district operations director for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.


“Both permanent and seasonal park staff should be congratulated for their dedication in attaining this top ranking” said Tim Vest, district manager for state parks in Southern Virginia. “A lot of training and dedication goes into providing the level of operations and customer service for which Staunton River State Park is noted.” According to Vest many of the park’s part-time seasonal employees return to the park to work year-after-year maintaining continuity and excellence in park operations.


Virginia State Parks emphasize customer satisfaction in all areas, including camping and cabins, nature, hiking, biking and equestrian trails, swimming, restrooms, bathhouses, programs and customer service. Park visitors are encouraged to offer feedback on their experiences by completing the Your Comments Count surveys available in every park. The surveys are tabulated and an annual report produced by Dr. Vincent P. Magnini of Virginia Tech’s Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management.







(Photo – Courtesy of DCR) Left to right: Craig Seaver, district operations manager for Virginia State Parks; Adam Layman, acting park manager; Keith Morrison, Corey Rosche, Brent Shepherd, John Hatcher, Eric Glass, park rangers; Stephanie Allen, office manager, and Katie Snead, contact ranger.

In 2012, a total of 8,466 visitors completed the paper-and-pencil surveys.  The annual report offers detailed information regarding user profiles and preferences with specific suggestions for operations needing improvement.


In addition to the overall ranking, Staunton River topped the list for satisfaction for activities and programs, cultural and historic programs, gifts and souvenirs, and park signage.


“These surveys suggest that visitors to Staunton River State Park are enjoying their stay,” said Adam Layman, acting Staunton River State Park manager. “We hope these results, along with word-of-mouth, will encourage their friends and neighbors to come join in the fun.”


Staunton River State Park is one of Virginia’s six original state parks opened in 1936, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.


Virginia’s 35 state parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. For more information about Virginia State Parks activities and amenities or to make reservations in one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-7275 or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.

Posted in: KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW- Staunton River State Park

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KLPW ISSUES IMPROVEMENTS LIST FOR NC KERR LAKE RECREATION AREAS


KERR LAKE PARK WATCH has developed this list in cooperation with many of its members, citizens and staff and is providing this list as requested by state parks Operations Manager Mike Lambert and North District Superintendent Dave Cook.  This list is a continuing work in progress. From this point forward, this list will be compiled annually.


The following list is a true compilation of comments, emails, suggestions, complaints and ideas expressed by a wide assortment of users of NC Kerr Lake State Recreation Areas.  Where items apply specifically to one park, it will be denoted. There are more comments regarding Hibernia because that park is the one toured by KLPW and state parks officials.  Some items were left unedited to assure conveyance of the writer’s thought, thus, there may be some overlap or duplication.  We have decreased that as much as possible. 


MORE SPECIFIC ISSUES/NEEDS



  1. Hibernia, with the largest number of campsites has a disproportionate number of electric and water sites.  Many of those sites that are E &W are “undefined” being unlevel, without timber borders, & sub-standard electric service. As the largest park, Hibernia has prime opportunity to grow more electric and water sites by converting approximately 30 totally unimproved sites in Area 1 which is generally on higher ground.  This was viewed on the recent tour.

  2. Hibernia SRA – Heat is provided in the closed restroom in Area 3 that is only open June, July and August.  The Area 2 bath open from March – October has no heat.  That should be reversed.

  3. On the recent tour with state park officials, sites 98 and 99 in Area 2 of Hibernia, “improved” two years ago, still have potentially damaging and dangerous stumps throughout the sites.  (IMPORTANT NOTE:  Since the preparation of this document, the stumps have been ground and removed.  However, it is such a quick fix that is one of the problems with the management thought process.  The stumps were ground and a little gravel spread.  While the equipment was on site, a few timbers, some leveling and site definition would take those sites from “undesirable” to almost prime.  Sometimes Band-Aid solutions are more timely and costly than completing the whole job at once.)

  4. Tree limbs over roadways don’t get trimmed until someone on a really nice motor coach tears off an AC cover.  It is noted that for years MS Corey and maybe others have trimmed as high as possible using a trimmer & dump truck.  The shop doesn’t have the equipment to trim high limbs, but the job could be contracted.

  5. When there is trimming by power companies or their contractors or state personnel many times trimmed limbs are thrown beside the road into the woods.

  6. For the boat ramps that are overseen and operated by state parks, it should be against the law for Christmas trees (or tree debris) to be dumped at those ramps.  For instance they are stacked from the lake side of the boat ramp dock at Hibernia.  With water at normal level, it’s not an issue until some dives off the dock. But when water gets low, hulls, lower units and props hit the debris.

  7. Park employees (rangers and summer help) ride around all summer long and seemingly never turn their heads towards the woods to remove trash.

  8. Drainage pipe blocked and nonfunctional adjacent to Area 2 (author means at Hibernia) sites 90, 91, and 92, has been an issue for 20 years.  Other culverts in this circle have not drained properly for years.  Why have no funds ever been allocated to correct this issue?

  9. Area 2 sites 93 and 94 (author means at Hibernia) (and several other adjacent sites) have been eroding away for years.  No one has even as much as dropped a load of gravel and leveled…why? 

  10. Pavement crumbling and falling away from the boat ramp access circle and has been for several years.  Also, pavement is not wide enough for wide turns and most boat trailers.

GENERAL ISSUES/NEEDS



  1. Hydrilla threatens every waterfront SRA that North Carolina leases on Kerr Lake.  It is not enough to spray, but that is a start.  Making the owner of the lake, the US Army Corps of Engineers, take responsibility is paramount.  The citizens who use and many who have grown up with the lake expect nothing less from the Division.

  2. Why aren’t campers emailed or involved in Kerr Lake park decisions and improvements?

  3. The Division of State Parks needs to remember that recreation areas are totally different from state parks.  People visit, picnic, swim, boat, fish and a host of other activities because of the water.  They want to be at it, near it or in it and they want amenities.  They are mostly in RV’s and travel trailers, but those in pop-ups and tents want water and electricity in these technological environs.

  4. When campsites are “updated” and sites are framed with timbers…designers gave no thought to fact that the center line timber is right in the middle of the awning space where people live and sit. 

  5. Again shown on the recent tour regarding dump stations: when designed and installed, the elevation is such that the camper leans away from the dump hole which makes it impossible to completely empty holding tanks. Another common error is that the dip at the dump station is for only one wheel.  Most trailers and many RV’s now have tandem wheels.

  6. Regarding the Hibernia Area 1 bath house:  It is an embarrassment, if not a danger to citizens and to our state park system. Why has this facility not been replaced in the largest NC campground on Kerr Lake?

  7. I totally agree with day use fees. If I have to pay to camp, day users should pay too.  However, with all the money spent on the guard houses, they should be manned daily during park hours to recoup any/all funds possible rather than just random times.  North Carolina State Parks spent about $250,000 building entrance stations to each Kerr Lake park with some parks having multiple entrances; that is eight or more at $2 million dollars for expenses that do nothing for park visitors.   Just across the border in Virginia at Occoneechee State Park, the rangers, not carpenters, but the rangers renovated that park’s portable entrance station two years ago for only $1,100.   Our park officials do not even have enough operating funds to staff those expensive entrance stations except on a very limited basis.  Let’s fund those positions or contract them out at one fell swoop and collect that money with it earmarked for Kerr Lake park improvements. 

  8. We have no knowledge that any camper who visits Kerr Lake was asked about new boat ramps at Nutbush.  Within the last two years, $2.6 million dollars was spent to build boat ramps, walkways, parking lots and restrooms at Nutbush Park. When asked several weeks ago on the tour with KLPW and state parks officials, the Kerr Lake Superintendent replied that there is no regular system of the collection of ramp fees from groups, tournaments or individuals.  It all depends on whether or not someone is working in that entrance booth, thus no systematic method of recapturing the investment.

  9. Regarding the new generation rangers:  As a park user, I fully support Rangers being gun carrying certified law enforcement.  However, that does not excuse them from properly managing the parks. As a taxpayer and campground user/customer, I feel they should also be “certified common sense park managers” who don’t just cruise around in their trucks apparently doing nothing but pointing out wrong doings by campers or visitors.  They should be doing things such as identifying issues for the maintenance staff and walking the campsites to meet their “customers” (campers) showing themselves friendly and happy that campers are using the parks that keep them in a job (like Bill Nelms, Gene Daniels and John Speed used to do).  Instead, they cruise through the campground seldom acknowledging campers.  Most campers feel that the rangers dislike all campers and will be glad when Labor Day gets here so they can go back doing whatever they do during the off season. It appears that Rangers no longer do any physical maintenance activities like previous rangers did, they no longer manage reservations, they are seldom seen in the campground and camp hosts assist campers for afterhours issues…just what does the modern day Kerr Lake Park Ranger do?

  10. The KLSRA management should be begging the state parks leadership, particularly those state office people in recreation to help foster special events for charities:  walks, runs, bike rides and the like.  The SRA’s could get a donation from the sponsoring organization if not a low fee, money that could be put back into park improvement and/or upkeep.

  11. Anything that impacts Kerr Lake State SRA’s negatively also impacts negatively Kerr Lake area businesses and a much wider area of citizens and businesses than normal state parks.  State parks management should always be aware of that and be proactive with that truth in mind.

Posted in: KLPW - Campground Facilities and Improvements, KLPW - Camping Safety, KLPW - N C State Recreation Areas

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