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Old 10-03-2014, 08:48 AM   #57
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Snow

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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
Steve, do you have snow already??
We have not had any snow so far this Fall but they are predicting snow for next week in our area. We have a camping trip planned to Perrot SP over MEA with our grand kids (Middle Of October) and the long term forecast is for snow in southern Wisconsin . On the bright side the cooler weather has cut way back on the bugs and the deer are starting to move. I am not a fan of HOT weather so Fall is my favorite season . Daytime highs in the 50's or low 60's and nights in the 40's
Plus soon it will be ice fishing season!!
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:52 AM   #58
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[QUOTE=Byron Kinnaman;485588] (clip)
Campgrounds at one time were free, then fees came in, then reservations, then reservation fees, prices have gone up and up and up. QUOTE]

At least in CA, state park campsites haven't been "Free" in about a millennium. I remember, in the very early 50's, when we camped at Grizzly Creek Redwood State Park every year, that those tenting campsites were $1 a night (about $9 in 2014 $$$), and RV sites didn't yet exist.

The recent big jump in campsite prices in many areas has come as a result of demands that state services, that serves specific groups, be more self-supporting.

But still, many Federal facilities are available at $10/night, (about the same as the 1950's) with 50% off for seniors, and Yellow Post campsites in National Forests are still free.

And don't even mention the prices that peeps pay to stay at many private facilities, especially near more popular venues.

Camp sites just aren't being added as the population grows. Reservation systems at least give a lot of families the ability to enjoy parts of America on their hard earned vacations, that might otherwise be extremely difficult, if not impossible to visit otherwise.
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:55 AM   #59
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San Simeon is Hurst Castle State Park and there is a State Beach with camping directly across the hiway from the entrance. Allow a full day, if not two.
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Old 10-03-2014, 09:33 AM   #60
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Campground reservations?

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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
Now that you've reserved some spot or another, you've exempted somebody else from having the vacation you're dreaming of. Seems to me reservations are a bit selfish.

Going to have to respectfully disagree with you on that one, Byron. Judging by looking at the campground maps, only about half of the sites are reservable, and many of the most desirable spots are off the list. They are available (without reservation fees) for folks who want to show up early in the day and wait in line hoping for a vacancy, and if not, to park on the street or a WalMart parking lot.

My reservation only prevents someone else from using one site on the nights when I will actually be there. I have never cancelled a reservation, and if I did, I would not object to paying a substantial penalty because it would a real emergency. In any case I do not see how planning my very limited travel time in advance makes me less deserving of access to the space.

As far as escalation of cost, it's really matter of supply and demand. How many new public parks have been opened in the last 20 years? They were never fully funded through user fees; they've always been subsidized by taxes. As a whole society is less willing to continue that subsidy. So costs will go up and/or access will be limited. Reservations were introduced as one way to manage that access and level the playing field. It's not a perfect system, but until we come up a better I will use it with a clear conscience.
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Old 10-03-2014, 09:43 AM   #61
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I believe Byron was referring to DOUBLE or TRIPLE booking for the same day, then cancel the ones not going to be used, at the last minute. Meanwhile, when someone else is trying to book a spot way in advance,
in a park that is "full", it may ruin their vacation plans.
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Old 10-03-2014, 09:54 AM   #62
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And if so, then I would have to agree: it is selfish, and needs to be addressed by park operators, as is already happening in Washington state.
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:53 AM   #63
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I didn't realize what a can of worms I was opening, ha ha ha. But it's a great discussion and has opened my eyes a little. Don't have a lot to contribute since I have little experience but what I have tells me, it comes down to the same issue over and over again. People being respectful of others. Working people NEED to have a plan vs those of us who are now retired and traveling like gypsies. That is what I have done in the past since that is what I was.....a working person with limited time. Making reservations assured me that our week off would be spent where we planned....don't have control of weather, or neighbors, but at least I know I'm where I wanted to be and not in a parking lot. NOW...I have the luxury of a meandering lifestyle, hense, the need for people's experiences traveling in the other world of "no reservations". I'm looking forward to going serendipitously through my trip...with an occasional reservation as needed. I feel lucky to be able to do that now. As for fees, everything has gone up so I guess it follows that these would too. Being a budget minded person, I like staying at national forest campgrounds which are peaceful, beautiful and inexpensive. Then I think I don't mind paying more a few nights for some luxuries like laundry, pool and hot showers... I'll be happy to post back my experiences when I'm on the road.


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Old 10-03-2014, 11:29 AM   #64
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One additional thing to consider is the difference between finding a spot and finding a GOOD spot. All campsites are not created equal. The more desirable ones tend to get reserved quickly.
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Old 10-03-2014, 11:46 AM   #65
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To do that you would already have to be familiar with the campground or depend on the sites that provide actual pics of sites and a bit of description etc.

In more preferred campgrounds, think Yosemite Valley, Zion Watchman, Grand Canyon, or any of the inner Yellowstone Campgrounds, just getting a campsite when you want one is a significant victory.

About the only time I search out campsite "Quality" is when there are a lot. The poorest, smallest and least desireable campsite usually trumps three nights at 3 different WalMarts.... LOLOLOL

That said, at SoCal campgrounds that I frequent, Such as Casper's Regional Park, near San Juan Capistrano, CA I do keep a map in my files with good, better and best sites marked.
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:09 PM   #66
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I fully understand the need for those who are still working to make reservations to ensure they have a place to stay on their limited time schedules. I did it when I was working as well. I still make reservations when I know I need to be at a certain location on a certain date and its in the middle of prime camping season or if I want to stay at a very popular year round camping location at a set time.

There are two things though that I am not over thrilled about in regards to reservations.

One is the big differences in cost associated with the reservations. Funny enough many of the states and provinces are using the same 3rd party for their reservations systems - yet the cost of the service are very different. Suggest to me that either some states/provinces are using the system to generate additional funding or they had poor contract negotiators or perhaps both ;-)

When I talked to one of the powers that be in our Province about the high reservation & camping fees in BC I was told they need the revenue to pay for upgrades at the parks. My thoughts on that were that our trees don't need any help upgrading they do it all on their own - no fertilizer required ;-) I was informed that tourists come to camp in our province are not happy to find that most of our Provincial parks do not have power or water at the camp sites so those are slowly being introduced at some of the popular camping spots. Oh and the tourists want wifi as well! Seriously! Our tourism departments slogan is "Super Natural British Columbia" Next thing you know they are going to be spending more money to rebrand themselves as there will be nothing "Super Natural" about camping in BC

The other thing I do not like about the reservation system is that it use to be that a certain % of the camping sites in BC Parks where not reservable and if one arrived early in the day they had a good chance of getting one of those spots. These days many of our parks are 100% reservable & I have noticed some of the Washington State parks have gone in the same direction as well. Thats a real bummer! As it makes it impossible for someone who suddenly has free time to take their family camping in a Provincial park. They will find they don't have a chance of getting into many of our Provincial parks from June through August and early September on a week-end if they didn't book well ahead of time - its a good bet they will not get in to many of the more popular parks on a week day either.

While I understand why reservations are for many a good thing I do see why others may not like them.
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Old 10-03-2014, 01:11 PM   #67
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In Michigan the reservation system and number of sites and which sites can be reserved has changed over the years.

The change I noticed the most was the "Park Pass" requirement. Started out as a fee for day use areas as a paper tag on the windshield, like a parking pass. Then was included in the campground fee, eventually becoming it's own fee for use in all Mich. State parks, to be purchased as a day pass or an annual pass. Annual pass cost was about the same as 3 or 4 day passes. Now we have the option of having it added to our license plate at a significant discount. Residents get a good deal, the tourists pay more of their out of state money into the system.

We used to call the parks to make a reservation, a couple of really popular parks had a lottery. But there were still non-reserved spots if you wanted to take your chances. Show up on a Tuesday fairly early and there was a decent chance you would get a spot. Often the most popular sites where NOT available for reservation. There were a few times when we showed up with a reservation for a site, and on arrival switched the site to one of those non-reservation sites since it was available.

Some municipal parks have implemented the same pass based system, Metro Parks in SE Michigan have day and annual passes good at all the day use parks.

Here is what annoys me. We switch to "user fees" that started out as a supplement to the tax support to provide extra revenue to improve the parks but has gradually replaced the tax support. And the parks don't really seem to improve much. Michigan gets a lot of tourist income and having good parks really helps. Seems to me we are mostly milking the past investments in park infrastructure.

Combined with the outsourcing of the reservation system which was supposed to "save" money but since the cost continues to rise I'm not convinced it actually costs less. I do miss being able to call the park ask a human that actually knew the park about sites, pest concerns, and availability. Now the campers do all that for themselves and pay more for the privilege.
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