Jim is our head of maintenance, having done or supervised just about every improvement our guests have seen over the last dozen years. He’s dropped trees, insulated buildings, corralled painters, roofers and backhoe operators—not to mention framers, electricians and plumbers.

His signature is obvious in his attention to detail: Hand-crafted, Western Reserve style white shutters on every building, a red hay wagon with a step-up for safety, furniture quality construction of shelving that is almost too beautiful to hold store merchandise.

That’s Jim. He sets the standard for excellence. No matter who inspects the pool, sewer system or the RV sites at the campground—from the local health department to the EPA, Jim impresses officials with his knowledge and capability.

If he builds it, it is solid and timeless. Often I catch myself saying, “You don’t need to build the Berlin wall, Jim.” Neither you or I will be around 20 years from now.”

Might as well be talking to that big red barn over there. It’s still standing because Jim placed every rock under the foundation to preserve what a century of Ohio weather does to a historic barn boasting an original hay rail in the rafters.

If you get a summer job at Lock 30 Woodlands, not only do you have to pass muster with Jim. You better be on good terms with his dog, too.

Missy or Mutley– depending on whether the mongrel is being a queen or a devil– is either in Jim’s arms when he is on the tractor, or by his side when he’s driving a golf car. She’s nearly deaf now and moves pretty slowly across the drive, but if you are a squirrel—be on the lookout. Her bark is as bad as Jim’s coffee.

Want to know exactly how many gallons of water we use every day at the campground? Ask Jim.

Every morning—including Saturdays—he patrols the property, reads meters in the well house and club house and he meticulously records what he finds. He’s wide-awake when it comes to infrastructure; he knows when a tree is about to bite the dust or when the weather is on its way to threatening. In fact, if you ask him what’s the name of this shrub or berry or nutshell on the ground, he’ll identify it for you and throw in a tale or two. You’d be wise to pay attention.

He also knows where to find a good fish fry in Youngstown and who makes the best pizza. If you need directions anywhere—he’ll tell you the best way to get there. If you are among the potluck guests raving  about a jar of pickled peppers or salsa, chances are Jim has grown and canned that treasure.

This East Palestine native and father of four remembers the way it used to be and isn’t timid about calling out a speeding camper or a rude guest.

If he shows you how to use or maintain a chainsaw or a zero-turn mower, you can count on his instructions to be on the money. If you mess up, you’re going to hear about it.

It is no secret that a campground is only as good as the people who work there.

I can say that every person who has worked at Lock 30 Woodlands has taught me something valuable. Every staff person has left their footprint.  But it is Jim who wears the big shoes. It is hard to imagine the place without him.

Karen Brucoli Anesi