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Old 01-20-2018, 09:41 AM   #1
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Safety in Government Campgrounds

Hi All.
Wanted to ask a question on camping in National, State and County Park Campgrounds.
We are leaving Mexico soon after a wonderful three months and are returning to the US for a while before heading back to Canada.
With the Federal Government problems a lot of folks have expressed concern about certain essential services being compromised. It made me think that in a lot of government parks lately there has not been a visible presence of Rangers, Police and even the Hosts which normally are around to keep an eye on things.
We have seen an increasing number of homeless and sketchy people in a lot of these Campgrounds and are concerned that crime may increase without proper security.
We really like these parks and prefer them but in the last year have seen a huge increase in junky and cluttered campsites along with living in cars and loud and inappropriate behaviour. We have been afraid that because we don’t want or possess any kind of weapons that we could be vulnerable to gun violence. We are always mindful of our surroundings and will avoid uncomfortable situations but when you are camping and that site is your home, what do you do?
It just seems that with cutbacks increasing, safety is at risk.
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Old 01-20-2018, 09:53 AM   #2
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we tent camped for 41 years not one time in any campground fed state or whatever did we feel threatened that includes camping in Canada in sort of roadside parks by roadways by ourselves I thought they were amazing by the way.

frankly we have never seen much in the way of any patrolling by anyone in any park.

I just don't think you need to worry

good luck


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Old 01-20-2018, 10:05 AM   #3
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To what cutbacks are you referring?
Three months in Mexico and you worry about our parks?
Try Yogi Bear's Jellystone Campgrounds, the ranger is incompetent but he does his best! They are nice safe campgrounds unless you are afraid of bears!
You might loose a pic-a-nic basket or two (or get a Boo Boo) but you should make it home alright!

Come north through the Midwest and sleep in heavenly peace in our clean and secure parks.

Unfounded worry won't fix tomorrow, it will just ruin today.
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Old 01-20-2018, 10:11 AM   #4
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We have camped in all kinds of campgrounds and boondocking in the west for over 50 years and have never encountered a dangerous situation with people, any uncomfortable situation was near towns but they were minor. Most Campground now have hosts or managers that oversee everything.
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Old 01-20-2018, 10:28 AM   #5
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Mainly desert Southwest not entire country by any means.

We had friends who just emailed us about a Riverside County Park Campground. We have all been going there for years but they have eliminated security and patrols. Cutbacks I would imagine.
Supposedly gate hours for access but these folks left at 2:30 in the morning. A number of vehicles came in. Heavy drinking and target shooting at cans etc. There were no hosts, Rangers or staff on duty. They were given a “In Case Of Emergency” card when they checked in. They called the number and it went to the Riverside County Sheriffs Dept. They were told “We are very busy and can’t make it out for 2-2 /2 hours. “If you feel endangered, you should leave the area immediately”.
In October, we were at an Arizona State Park near Tucson and there was an incident one night. Heavy Police presence with four cars. This park has no staff on duty after 6pm but have hosts on duty.
The next day I asked the hosts what was going on. They had no idea and didn’t even know the police were in the Campground!
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Old 01-20-2018, 11:20 AM   #6
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Hmmm... Wild West, eh?

We camp regularly in Arizona's state and county parks and have never felt threatened. I have seen trashy camps and questionable occupants while driving through boondocking areas, but we only camp in developed campgrounds with restroom facilities.

In the unlikely event of an incident, I can see response times being slow, so the advice given about leaving if you don't feel safe is wise.

We had a bicycle stolen 3 years ago at a CA state beach. In that case, response time by ranger staff was about 30 minutes for a non-violent situation (not that there was much they could do other than take a report).

You're much more likely to be injured or killed on our highways than our campgrounds.

Do what you feel comfortable with, but I'm not cancelling my reservation for Lost Dutchman State Park in March.
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Old 01-20-2018, 11:30 AM   #7
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I hear you Jon.
We were in Usery Mountain last winter and across from our site was a man camping by himself. My wife and I always noticed him looking at us for long periods of time.
He was on his own and tenting it. He would be in his tent singing at the top of his lungs for hours. Can handle it during the day but after 12:30am a little hard to take.
I went to the hosts who were fantastic! They said they were not permitted to intervene in these things but got on the phone with Maricopa Sheriffs. In under ten minutes the singing ended and the lone camper was gone at daybreak.

We are very wary of “lone campers”.
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Old 01-20-2018, 11:58 AM   #8
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The State of Wisconsin cut out all the funding for state parks, layed off Rangers and Park staff plus cut funding to local law enforcement . The State wanted local law enforcement to patrol the parks in place of the laid off Rangers. The counties said no , saying they did not have the funds to do there assigned duties plus additional duties .
So now one of our favorite State Parks is self registration ' and only has park staff during the day on Monday to Friday during the Summer plus no nightly patrols . Guess what , the park has now turned into party central for the local kids and the park facilities are slowly but surely going to HELL. When sometime in the future it is totally destroyed we can sell it to a private developer for 10 cents on the dollar
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Old 01-20-2018, 12:39 PM   #9
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no problems in US Gov't campgrounds today. Because of no solution to the budget, Federal campgrounds are closed. We left a COE campground today because of that.
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Old 01-20-2018, 01:09 PM   #10
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We are very wary of “lone campers”.
As a solo camper, this sort of thing makes me sad.
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Old 01-20-2018, 01:36 PM   #11
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First, we are responsible for our own safety. As others mentioned, when seconds count, police are minutes (many minutes) away. We can do things to make us less vulnerable. Some women travelling alone set out two camp chairs and place a pair of large men's boots outside their door. A men's flannel shirt or whatever is in season is a nice touch. Don't have signs or decals that suggest you are alone. A dog can serve several functions. Is all this sexist? You bet, sweetheart!
Back to you specifically, it is your choice not to carry a gun, where legal. Why someone wouldn't carry a knife on their belt, or bear spray is beyond me. Check out Wasp spray. It shoots a 20' stream.
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Old 01-20-2018, 01:46 PM   #12
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I was thinking about this last night. What would I do if I heard a burglar in the house? I thought about the knife in my beside drawer and came to the conclusion that if I was using it for defense, the much younger perp would disarm me instantly and then use it on me.
My Maasai spear, on the other hand . .
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Old 01-20-2018, 02:08 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Hmmm... Wild West, eh?

We camp regularly in Arizona's state and county parks and have never felt threatened. I have seen trashy camps and questionable occupants while driving through boondocking areas, but we only camp in developed campgrounds with restroom facilities.

In the unlikely event of an incident, I can see response times being slow, so the advice given about leaving if you don't feel safe is wise.

We had a bicycle stolen 3 years ago at a CA state beach. In that case, response time by ranger staff was about 30 minutes for a non-violent situation (not that there was much they could do other than take a report).

You're much more likely to be injured or killed on our highways than our campgrounds.

Do what you feel comfortable with, but I'm not cancelling my reservation for Lost Dutchman State Park in March.
You are so right Jon, if your gonna sleep in the road at least make it some back country road.
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Old 01-20-2018, 02:30 PM   #14
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When I take time off from work for vacation I prefer to take my Harley and tent if the weather allows. I am, for the most part a lone wolf(not really a wolf) but am not intimidating, actually friendly if approached, so I hope you're not stereotyping all solo campers. As usual it only takes one to ruin it for everybody else. Happy camping to all!
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:05 PM   #15
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First, we are responsible for our own safety. As others mentioned, when seconds count, police are minutes (many minutes) away. We can do things to make us less vulnerable. Some women travelling alone set out two camp chairs and place a pair of large men's boots outside their door. A men's flannel shirt or whatever is in season is a nice touch. Don't have signs or decals that suggest you are alone. A dog can serve several functions. Is all this sexist? You bet, sweetheart!
Back to you specifically, it is your choice not to carry a gun, where legal. Why someone would't carry a knife on their belt, or bear spray is beyond me. Check out Wasp spray. It shoots a 20' stream.
I am beyond you according to your definition
Thanks for the compliment
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:48 PM   #16
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Hello all and thanks for your fine comments!
First, I sincerely did not mean that all lone campers are a problem!
We have had a problem on two occasions with lone campers who we believe had some societal issues and were loners - in a bad way.
To us, who have camped for so many years, it used to be always understood that your campsite was like your castle. It was your space and people respected your space!
Today however, it seems that respect for your neighbour is gone. With so many social issues impacting so many people coupled with the economy and unemployment along with substance abuse it seems that many of these poor folks have been squeezed out of suburbia into many campgrounds.
For those of us who just want our space and privacy to enjoy nature etc it seems there is an overlap of people and their ways.
Ninety nine percent of folks are respectful and unselfish. What scares me is the other one percent!
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Old 01-20-2018, 04:23 PM   #17
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Hello all and thanks for your fine comments!
First, I sincerely did not mean that all lone campers are a problem!
We have had a problem on two occasions with lone campers who we believe had some societal issues and were loners - in a bad way.
To us, who have camped for so many years, it used to be always understood that your campsite was like your castle. It was your space and people respected your space!
Today however, it seems that respect for your neighbour is gone. With so many social issues impacting so many people coupled with the economy and unemployment along with substance abuse it seems that many of these poor folks have been squeezed out of suburbia into many campgrounds.
For those of us who just want our space and privacy to enjoy nature etc it seems there is an overlap of people and their ways.
Ninety nine percent of folks are respectful and unselfish. What scares me is the other one percent!
We had to do some business in our county and after took a drive to see have far the fires were . We were on the 101 and went as far as Carpinteria . We went and checked out the State beach campground there . Spent so much time camping there with the kids . Hadn't been there in years because noticed the camping fees had really climbed . Drove through the whole campground and still want to cry . The campground is dying . Vegetation is gone . Needs lots of work . Homeless are using the campground . Talked to a campground host and he said ranger just drives through . No security to speak of . None , you are on your own . So many maintence problems , bathrooms , beach taking over because ground unstable , some beach campsites moved back for safety. We won't be staying there any time soon . Pat
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Old 01-20-2018, 04:39 PM   #18
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Campground Safety

US National Park Service parks and monuments will be open during the Fed Govt shutdown, including entrance gates, concessions and patrols.

I wouldn't worry about safety in USNPS campgrounds, exception may be wild animals looking for food or solo hiking in bear country. Many parks campgrounds are operated by concessioners under contract with the USNPS. The reservation system is reported to stay open. If you're concerned, check with the individual parks.

State and County parks are operated by state and local governments. You can search various states at allstays.com.
Here is a list of Oregon campgrounds open for winter (not closed by snow):
https://www.allstays.com/Campgrounds...m-all-year.htm

I'd be interested to hear how you found camping in Mexico to be safe. Hope you will share the information.
,
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Old 01-20-2018, 05:30 PM   #19
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There's been a lot of misinformation in the news regarding the government shutdown. I take that to mean it's business as usual.

I have heard that at Rocky Mountain National Park gates are unlocked and no one is collecting admission. With snow in the forecast, there may not be staff to plow roads. Some roads are plowed by state employees. I hear many campgrounds are not open. I mean more than the many seasonally closed.

A news search shows widely varying reports in preceding days. This LA Times story lists some specifics earlier today:

With government shut down, so are many national parks, though some remain open - LA Times

With government shut down, so are many national parks, though some remain open

Visitors to the Statue of Liberty stand in line to board a ferry that will cruise the bay around the statue and Ellis Island. Both are closed because of the government shutdown.
Visitors stand in line to board a ferry that will cruise the New York Harbor around the statue and Ellis Island. Both are closed because of the government shutdown. (Photo-Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)

Kurtis Lee Kurtis Lee, Contact Reporter
If you’re thinking about enjoying a weekend outdoors, you might want to check to see if the place you’re headed is even open.

On Saturday, hours after the start of the partial government shutdown, dozens of national parks nationwide closed their gates and turned visitors away. Others have partial services with limited staff as part of a plan worked out in recent days by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

The National Parks Conservation Assn., a nonpartisan group that works to strengthen and protect federal parks, estimated that about a third of the more than 400 national park sites across the country are completely closed.

In addition, the group projects about 21,000 park service employees are being furloughed with the shutdown, leaving about 3,200 “essential staff” to manage 80 million acres of national park lands.

“Keeping parks open with virtually no staff is a risky situation, and the guidance park staff is being given is vague at best,” Theresa Pierno, the group’s president, said in a statement. “The only way to fix this situation is for Congress to come together, do its job and fund the federal government — including our national parks and all who work in them.”

In New York, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island were completely closed. Visitors were met with the same message on signs at the entrance to the parks and on social media: “Effective immediately and until further notice, the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island are closed due to a lapse in appropriations.” Nearly 4.5 million tourists visited Liberty and Ellis islands in 2016, according to Statue Cruises, the excursion company that ferries visitors to the sites.

In southwest Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park remained open on Saturday, and so too did other parks in the state, such as Rocky Mountain National Park and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. But while the gates were open, all visitor facilities were shuttered.

And in Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park, which in 2016 saw a record 6 million visitors, remained fully open — with the state’s parks and tourism departments stepping in to provide services.

The closure and partial closure of national parks due to the government shutdown ignited bipartisan anger from governors in some of these states.

“If Washington, DC won’t function. Arizona WILL. Don’t change your travel plans. Count on it,” Arizona’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey said on social media.

Colorado’s Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper said it’s “unnecessary political drama.”

“It used to be unimaginable that we would even consider shutting down our federal government. Coloradans know that our state government doesn’t shut down,” he said.

In 2013, during the federal government shutdown that lasted 16 days, all of the roughly 400 national park sites were completely closed.

On Saturday, Zinke tweeted several photos with National Park Services employees on the National Mall in Washington.

“Not all parks are fully open but we are all working hard to make as many areas as accessible to the public as possible,” he said.
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Old 01-20-2018, 05:47 PM   #20
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Hi Marilyn. Thanks for your inquiry about Mexico.
We absolutely LOVE camping in Mexico! The people are lovely and warm, the food and drink are fabulous and the weather can’t be beat!
It’s funny but all of the people we speak with in the RV parks share the same feeling in that “let’s not tell anyone about how good it is or they will all be here!”
At a restaurant for supper last night I asked our table neighbours how they were enjoying Puerto Vallarta. The table of ten resoundingly said “We LOVE it here and we feel so safe and really enjoy the people, food and atmosphere”!
They were from Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Boston. They said they never go out at night and have to be on their guard everywhere they go. So I asked the question: “Why do so few Americans come here but the ones who do just LOVE it”?
These very reasonable and kind people all feel that with high crime rates, violence of all kinds directed at good people and what it brings coupled with the media constantly reporting an air of “fear” has made people fear leaving home, fear to travel and fear to go out at night.
Interesting comments.
My observations in 50 years of travelling to Mexico, Europe and Asia have shown me a few things.
In Mexico as in Europe for example, everyone goes out in the evenings. For a walk, for a drink, for an ice cream cone, to see their neighbours and socialize. People are not fearful in these countries and really enjoy life!
We all know there are bad people everywhere. In Europe, in Chicago, in St. Louis, in Boston, in Philadelphia and yes, in Mexico also.
I have been travelling by RV in Mexico for fifty years and covering every part of the country. In all that time and tens of thousands of miles, have NEVER had any fearful or dangerous times!
To say that the entire United States is dangerous, to say that the entire states of Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are dangerous and to say that the entire Cities of Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Boston are all dangerous is ridiculous. It is no different in Mexico also.
I’m including some pictures of being out on the town last night. Everyone having a great time and no fear or danger in sight!
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