February 18, 2010

"Retirees Trade Work for Rent at Cash-Poor Parks."

Well, that makes it sound kind of pathetic. But look at the video, and it seems quite lovely. We want to do it!

41 comments:

Class factotum said...

Hard to tax and it doesn't reduce social security benefits. Lovely!

Deborah said...

Where do I sign up? If they will send me to Fort Pulaski on Tybee Island, I'll start packing.

knox said...

Wow. I agree--that seems just awesome.

We've always looked forward to getting a camper. Great for traveling with kids, and we also hope to do a lot of it when we're retired.

AllenS said...

What is needed is people like this going through every inner city, and painting over the graffiti.

rhhardin said...

The IRS hasn't noticed it yet, is why they can do it. The rent and utilities are surely income.

Staying at home seems like the perfect deal to me, by the way.

David Walser said...

The IRS hasn't noticed it yet, is why they can do it. The rent and utilities are surely income.

Well, no, it most likely would be excluded from taxable income as a working condition fringe benefit. If, for the convenience of the employer, employees are required to live on site and to take their meals there, the room and board are not taxable. Like virtually all things tax, there are exceptions and requirements, but that's the general rule.

Meade said...

Woo hoo! I'm checking out Sprinters!

Titus said...

I read this and thought about Althouse and Meadsy Poo doing this. It does seem cool. The retirees seem to enjoy it.

My parents would dig this I think too.

I love the British retiree-so cute.

Are you thinking of retiring Althouse?

Titus said...

BTW-stories like this is why I do love the NY Times-I know very bad but I do.

David Walser said...

By the way, I'm not sure this story is newsworthy. Out here in the West, our state parks have been staffed by retirees for as long as I can remember. The situation varies from park to park, but it's not uncommon for each campground to have one senior couple resident there for a month or more at a time. The couple checks in campers, collects fees, enforces park rules, cleans the restrooms, etc. The couple keeps in touch with the "real" park rangers via radio.

It seems to be a system that works well for all concerned. Each camp ground has someone to oversee and maintain it. Campers have access to someone to answer questions about park rules and where to go for supplies. All it costs the state is the lost revenue from one camp site per campground. All in all, not a bad deal. Its something my wife and I have discussed doing when I retire. The downside is it may be a fairly lonely job for much of the week when the campground is empty.

Donna B. said...

My husband and I would enjoy doing this, but separately -- NOT together. While we love, respect, and appreciate each other, not having to live in close quarters makes it so much more lovingly lovely.

peter hoh said...

Meade, we've got Sprinters at work. They are pretty sweet.

Mark O said...

So, you don't barter chickens for class lectures?

michaele said...

I have South Dakotan friends in their late 60's who have been doing this for the past 5 years. They are perfectly well off but they love the way this allows them to experience some of the great Nat'l parks. They usually commit 3 months in late summer/early fall. It's always a treat to get their yearly Christmas card and find out where they did their "tour of duty".

Irene said...

Bears.

Paul said...

"Woo hoo! I'm checking out Sprinters!"

Much too small to live in. Having owned a few RVs I've found you really need something close to 30 feet long for two full grown adults to be comfortable. Otherwise you sacrifice something...couch, dinette, etc...that you will wish you had after a while living in your house on wheels.

Methadras said...

Yeah? Well, let's see how long that lasts when the IRS doesn't get their cut.

edutcher said...

Wait till this is one of the few ways a lot of people can live.

And it's coming.

Opus One Media said...

And the difference is what?

Want to?

Have to?

I love it when the conservative ilk does or considers volunteer work or work in trade...it is just sooo kewl...and ya' know what? at the end of the day you can go home and tell others about it and the end of lot people's day, they go home and get up and do it again...

SteveR said...

Here in NM where there are numerous smallish BLM campgound/recreation areas, this is very common. Typically a couple with an RV mans the visitor center and does grounds and facility maintenance in exchange for a free place to stay and a small salary. Keeps costs down and they are always very friendly. Win-win-win.

knox said...

Bears.

Irene, you party pooper!

Irene said...

@knox I spent many summers as a kid in "Grizzly Territory," so that's the first thing that comes to mind!

(That and the smell of the outhouses.)

Irene said...

(Returns to knitting.)

jimbino said...

Yep, just like the national parks and forests I know: never a black, brown or red face to be seen anywhere. They could have at least borrowed a photo of Oprah or Bill Cosby from AARP.

We live in a great country where inner-city blacks and poor chicanos support White country clubs and White retirement communities in the form of national parks and forests!

EDH said...

King of the Road

Trailers for sale or rent
Rooms to let...fifty cents.
No phone, no pool, no pets
I ain't got no cigarettes
Ah, but..two hours of pushin' broom
Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
I'm a man of means by no means
King of the road.

Third boxcar, midnight train
Destination...Bangor, Maine.
Old worn out suits and shoes,
I don't pay no union dues,
I smoke old stogies I have found
Short, but not too big around
I'm a man of means by no means
King of the road.

EDH said...

David Walser said...
If, for the convenience of the employer, employees are required to live on site and to take their meals there, the room and board are not taxable.

I think that's the problem. Living there isn't for the convenience of the employer. They only have to work 20 hours each week and, as these people readily admit, the imputed rent is the compensation.

Look for a Winnebago to go crashing into an IRS office.

PatCA said...

If they do it in CA, go for Crystal Cove! Right near Laguna Beach.

cokaygne said...

Jimbino, agree with you about the dearth of Latinos and African Americans in national parks, but then what? Would everyone be better off if those retirees did not volunteer? Suppose the govt. sold off the parks, how long would the revenue last?

Be thankful that the parks are there for us and those who come after us to enjoy. Be thankful that there are volunteers willing and able to help maintain those parks for the respectful enjoyment of this and future generations in exchange for a few weeks' stay in a campground.

In other words, get a life.

Salt Lick said...

"Grizzly Territory,"

The Park Service says just attach small bells to your shoes to warn the bears you are in their territory. You will know when to do this because you'll see bear spoor with little bells in it.

Ed Brenegar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ed Brenegar said...

There is a large contingent of Habitat for Humanity volunteers that spend a large part of their year traveling between projects. They live in a motor home, and they travel as a group six or eight weeks at a time.
I met a woman during the Katrina recovery from Florida who, along with her husband, had committed a year or more to helping manage the recovery efforts along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She told me that when they were done there, they were headed to Alaska.
Pretty cool!

joated said...

This is not new. It has been a solution to temp help in the parks for decades. I recall speaking to a visitors' guide--a retired school teacher--back in 1976 in Grand Teton who was on his third year of working in the parks.

The Times headline makes it sound like either the retirees or the parks are really, really hard up. (Okay, maybe the parks are in need of low cost help.) In reality the only ones who are truely hurting in this arrangement are the overpriced unions like SIEU. Is that bad?

Shanna said...

This doesn't sound much different from people who work part time at an appartment complex to get free rent. Just more scenic.

JAL said...

Funny how something that has been going on for years is just getting noticed. (A small lake near us has a flock of folk who motor in and run the place.)

I don't understand why it doesn't have an Obama tag. Isn't this the stuff he wants to mandate people do?

Don't be surprised if it doesn't show up on one of his acheivement lists.

Fred4Pres said...

I see these retired couples in their RVs at state campgrounds all over the place (not just Texas). I assumed they got free rent or a modest stipend for running state camp grounds or park. Often they collect camping fees, sell bundles of wood for campfires too.

It looks like fun and beats the heck out of staying at home.

k*thy said...

I read this the other day. Two summers ago we stopped in Glacier NP - my husband retires in the next couple of years, and with that trip, already has his eyes on driving the park shuttle for a summer.

JorgXMcKie said...

cokaygne, you just don't understand lefties. If it appears desirable, unless *everyone* gets an equal share, *no one* should get any share. [Well, except for the Lefties and bureaucrats in charge, and the nomenklatura and children of Party members and so on. For the American equivalent, see Carbon Footprint, AlGore's vs the average American. Also, celebrity and politician Carbon Footprints. All animals are equal, but some are way more equal than others.]

Irene said...

@k*thy When I thought of "bears," I had Glacier National Park in mind.

Eagle1 said...

Why on earth is this a story?

There are several websites where such worker/campers are solicited - and encouraged. See here for example.

About as exciting as finding out many NYTimes reporters work for food and rent money.

Tucanae Services said...

Must be a REALLY slow news day when this gets a mention. Fulltimers (term for people live in their RV all the time.) have been doing this for decades. It is a quite common practice. Both sides win. The park fills a space that might go vacant. The fulltimer reduces their expenses by trading some time for the space.

What's not to like??

Xmas said...

Coyoteblog talks about this stuff all of the time.

That the State and Federal parks are breaking the law exchanging free campground space for labor. They should be paying those workers at least a minimum wage. And paying payroll taxes for those same workers.