Do The National Parks Try To Discourage Campers? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-06-2012, 05:07 PM   #1
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Do The National Parks Try To Discourage Campers?

Years ago, when we used to tent camp, I thought that the lack of showers, places to wash dishes, and poor restrooms was a plot to encourage self-contained RV users instead of tenters. When we were in Yellowstone a few years ago there was only one place in the entire park where you could get a shower, and there were no shower facilities in Zion that same year; and bathing in the streams and lakes was strictly forbidden. Now that I have a self-contained trailer I think they don't want any of us to stay for very long. If state parks and private campgrounds can have full-hookups, air conditioned and heated restrooms, laundry facilities, and nice showers, (at least in some states' parks), why can't the national parks? Okay, they might have to charge more for full-facility users, but wouldn't you be willing to pay more to have a more convenient stay in one of our beautiful national parks? Are they afraid of getting overrun with the demand, or that the surrounding commercial facilities would raise a ruckus over the competition? It seems that if budget concerns was really the issue they could actually make a profit like the private campgrounds do.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:19 PM   #2
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I think a lot of it has to do with fresh water availability and waste disposal. Most of them seem to be built where water is an issue.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:39 PM   #3
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Actually it is more complex than that.
The mandate of municipal parks is recreation.
The mandate of State/Provincial Parks is a mix of recreation & preservation
The mandate of National Parks is preservation. Period. (regardless of whatever their PR stuff says!)

They would be happiest if no one, ever, were allowed in. Under any circumstances. At all.

However, they are also savvy enuff to realize that they would get NO support from the politicians - who have to get themselves elected somehow and would not be thrilled to ask taxpayers to fork over their $$$ for a park if no-one is allowed in, so they grudgingly allow people in. All the blather and propaganda about how the parks were established for all to enjoy tends to get interpreted as "how can we assure that future generations will be able to enjoy the parks if we let people in to use them now?"
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:40 PM   #4
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Dave is correct - had chats with a number of rangers at a few National Parks this year on that topic. They will tell you that any move to build new buildings or increase the RV spaces or update anything is usually objected to by people waving a big preservation flag. In order to put it electrical and water they may have to dig or remove trees - which is not a welcome thing. Feeling by many is that RV's leave to big of a foot print in the parks. Yellowstone does have an RV section at Fishermens Bridge area - the sites are very close together and it was not the best camping - but I was told that there is great deal of objection to the RV section to start with so little chance of more park land being used to make the area larger and nicer to camp in. In fact I was told there is currently a big push on to have some or all of that RV section closed down.

When camping at a National park due to the small size of our trailers at most they will let you camp at tent sites which have no power or water but they are often way nicer spaces than the RV sites. Just use the trailer shower or bring a portable camping solar shower works for me. Here in BC few Provincial parks have hook ups of any kind so I just think of it as good old camping. :-)
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:52 PM   #5
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John Muir would be appalled at the amount of visitors to Yosemite/Sequoia NP since they opened. I think that the restrictions in place are there for the simple reason that civilization encroachment was destroying the parks. Some of the original roads were cut right thru the giant trees. Macadam and asphalt were poured haphazardly throughout the forest meadows. Upon realization that this was destroying the natural wonders caused the change in emphasis to preservation. The result means restricting the public.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:17 PM   #6
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For those not familiar with the "camel's nose" fable, it involves a camel who asks his Bedouin master to let him keep his nose inside the tent as it os so cold out here and his poor nose is freezing. Then, can he put his head in as his ear are freezing. After a while the whole camel is in the tent and the poor Bedouin is stuck outside in the cold.


WAY back when I was in University, I read a paper called 'Wilderness and the Camel's Nose. (This was back in the days when documents had to be hand copied by monks, working by candlelight with quill pens on parchment! )


It went something along the lines of:
An area is being set aside for preservation, but people protested and demanded to be able to see it.



However, this was not fair to families with small children, so roads were put in so families could see it too.


Nature paths were put in so more people could explore the whole area.



But this was obviously unfair to the folks who couldn't walk on unpaved areas, so the paths were paved.



However, this was deemed unfair to the handicapped so paths were "improved" to be accessible.


The whole thing was then deemed unfair to ..... and to .... and so more roads and paths and hotels and motels and restaurants were added.


And subdivision into condoms (that IS the abbreviation for condominiums, isn't it?), townhouses, shopping centers and office complexes followed - but then, who cared? It wasn't wilderness anyway!
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:54 PM   #7
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There are some excellent observations in this thread. If you want to get a real feel of what we are losing read The Man Who Walked Through Time by Colin Fletcher. It is an account of two months the author spent walking the floor of the Grand Canyon in 1963.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:42 AM   #8
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Canadian Parks are all Chiefs and few indians. Constantly changing expensive and whimsical ideas have to be paid for by campers and dayuse. Visitation is down? Lets raise the rates again (at the same time the provinces have dropped their entrance fee to zero. Now they have a $400,000 contract for someone to figure out how to get the people back to the park.
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:23 AM   #9
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I think if a daily shower is that important to you you will figure out a way. The National Parks are there because someone thought it was an area so [ beautiful, unusual, gawk-worthy] that it should be preserved for future generations
If you've ever been to Yosemite or Yellowstone in the summer you would think there is plenty of visitation! It's gridlocked daily. Like big city traffic jams and the wilderness be damned. I suspect the powers that be see no reason to encourage even more visitors. Most of the parks have private campgrounds just outside with all mod cons if that is what floats your boat
Personally I'd rather have fewer people and vehicles and be able to enjoy some peace and quiet and the scenery

YMMV
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:13 AM   #10
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Don't get me wrong. I spent a decade working in National Parks. Development can occur anywhere outside of the park; wildlife populations can only live where there is the correct habitat.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:43 PM   #11
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Not in my backyard

I am amazed how people love parks and wilderness but not in their back yard.
Minnesota and Alaska had huge fights over parts of their states being declared as protected wilderness and the so called loss of revenue . Yet 30 years later the tourism to see these areas has yielded great financial benefits
(See the PBS special on the Alaska Wilderness Area ) Today we have the same arguments and conflicts IE: Drilling in the tundra of Alaska for oil yet watching BP spill oil all over our southern coast in search of cheap energy . The St Croix River on the Minnesota ,Wisconsin border was one of the first rivers protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and is a national treasure . 30 some years later Minnesota has a Congresswomen who wants to remove this designation from the St Croix to spur development along the river. The dreams of John Muir are under attack everyday by people who's only concerns are monetary and whatever directly benefit them.

Syeve Dunham
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:05 PM   #12
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Steve, your correct that often protection of wilderness areas is protested but in my area it is not due to financial benefits or loss of benefits. Most of the protests are due to the areas becoming known which will result in a big increase in people into those areas. A big increase of people into special areas on a yearly bases is not always a good thing as Jim IMHO is correct what has happened in Yosemite, Yellowstone, Sequoia etc due to volumes of people in them is not all good.

Here in BC we have what is known as the West Coast Trail. For years you could go and do it any time you wanted, now that is well known around the world, you need to sign up for a pass well in advance. Doing the trail is a really amazing experience but if there are too many people camping along it and hiking it, it really takes away from the whole experience that those of us who got to do it prior to it becoming so popular got to enjoy.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:04 AM   #13
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Angry National Parks & Forests

I would like to get into this conversation before it is shut down as being too political. Our U. F. Forest Service is the same way as far as using OURLAND.
You see, our land belongs to them!!! and they don't want anyone treading on it. No wood cutting, no camping, no anything or the US Forest Service cop will be turning his red, white and blue lights on you and you'll be sorry you tried to use your land for recreation of any type. Marg
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:42 AM   #14
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It's a money issue too

If you look at most of the infrastructure in our National Parks (such as the lodges, for example), it dates back to the 1930's. These were Depression-era federal projects to put people back to work.

Sadly, since that time, spending on our National Parks has been sporadic and overdue when it occurred at all. Growth in use and access has greatly outpaced spending. Contracts to operate the concessions in the parks are awarded to private companies which neither the requirement nor the interest to upgrade facilities.

When I look at the campgrounds in our National Parks (and I have seen about a dozen in the past 24 months), I see that neither Congress nor the concession companies have been motivated to spend the funds to upgrade facilities.

This, coupled with the PRESERVATION motive discussed in this thread, explains why things are in the state they are in.
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