Well, we are at the end of the tourist season, and everyone who works in the park is worn out and beat up like always. We had a full campground this weekend with a lot of the miami crowd, and they are nothing but trouble. They make noise all night and disturb the other campers. The young juvenile criminals go in the restroom and trash the place over and over again, and one kid ripped a knob off a shower stall that will need to be replaced. We will probably have to knock out the tile to replace that fixture. I wish we could charge these folks a security deposit.
Sunday night there were still campers in the park and we were two-thirds occupied, but it was a different crowd. Lots of kids, but they weren't causing trouble. I don't mind kids riding bikes or playing games in the field. When we have the ones who cause trouble and break fixtures in the restroom, then that makes it difficult.
The bluegrass festival was a great success. After expenses paid, we made about $3k, which was okay for a first year gig.
Our guided canoe trips and hikes were so successful, and we made about $9k with almost no expense. So we will expand the program next year. A festival that has a lot of work put into it with little pay off, compared to canoe trips with no expense and a large pay off, tells us what we might consider doing in the future.
Since we got the sewer hooked up last year, the water and sewer utility bill has increased ten times. Our water/sewer utility bill for February was $6k. We have had no increase in budget, so the park has really taken a hit. The $20 a night for camping doesn't even begin to cover expenses, and we think it should be at least twice that rate. But that is up to Tallahassee.
Our volunteers were a great group this year, and we hate to see them leave. Our last ones in the campground will all be gone in the next few days. So we are back on our own until next winter.
We didn't have many wildlife sightings or reports this year. Only one report of panther tracks that I know of, and no panther sightings. Bear sightings were few or none. The big animals took some road hits last year, so we don't have them around. There was a manatee with calf who was hanging around the boat basin for a few days.
The Mexican bromeliad weevils are hitting hard in the park. The university has released a fly that preys on the weevils, so hopefully that will put them under control. It is really sad to see all the beautiful bromeliads wither and die because of the weevils.
We had no idea that a few campground improvements would make the reservation system go down until this past week. That is almost 9 months. And the day we started it up again, the hard drive crashed and we were without it again for another 10 days.
Hopefully it will go smoother the next season.