Privatizing National Park Campgrounds? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-02-2017, 06:57 PM   #1
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Privatizing National Park Campgrounds?



Interior Secretary Calls For Privatizing National Park Campgrounds - RV Life
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Old 07-02-2017, 08:45 PM   #2
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Dumbest idea ever
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Old 07-02-2017, 11:13 PM   #3
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I am sick....

we have privatized Provincial Park campgrounds here in BC....IMO it stinks.... for a variety of reasons...

on a broader level....

I am sick of politicians that get elected to GOVERN (i.e. administer/run the peoples assets) and then turn around and sell the assets or farm out the running of them......

If they can't "do the job" they should not have applied for it....they should have gone and started their own railroad, highway maintenance business.....or private campground.....
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Old 07-02-2017, 11:23 PM   #4
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We hear about alot of the frustrations and problems associated with the privately operated BC provincial parks over on the Escape Forum as well.
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Old 07-03-2017, 01:47 AM   #5
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We hear about alot of the frustrations and problems associated with the privately operated BC provincial parks over on the Escape Forum as well.
Like what?
The only issue I've read about is too few spaces for the number of people who want to camp, and those people gaming the reservation system. The province has added several hundred new campsites this year and is attempting to make the reservation system work better and fairly.
I've encountered no problems with privatized management. They basically collect fees and sweep the sites and police idiots when necessary. They don't make policy.
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Old 07-03-2017, 04:41 AM   #6
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In the Green Mountain National Forest the forest service runs the campgrounds. In New Hampshire the White Mountain National Forest campgrounds are run by a concessioner. The campgrounds in either forest have a picnic table and a fire ring at each site, with outhouses and water spigots strategically placed. There are no dump stations and only one campground in each forest has showers. In Vermont you will pay $10 for a site, in N.H. $20-$24. I'm unclear where the savings is?
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Old 07-03-2017, 05:48 AM   #7
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It's not selling the campgrounds, it's having someone else run them. Stay at a NP Lodge, eat in a NP restaurant, and you will more than likely be served by a private contractor, not a park employee. It's been that way for decades. Xanterra and others are the operators.

The NP system is greatly underfunded, either they get more funding or they close facilities. Campers will not benefit from lower prices, the benefit will be in campgrounds staying open and possibly expanding.

NP campgrounds are an incredible deal price wise right now. Rates could double and still be cheap.

NH residents save by not paying income tax. I would gladly pay more to camp in NC in return for no income tax.
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Old 07-03-2017, 06:56 AM   #8
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Here is my 2 cents and admins/moderators please forgive me if this is too political but I feel my comments here are very relevant to the specific topic at hand. Kind of a gray area if you ask me.

While the Interior Secretary is calling for the privatization I should point out that he was appointed by Trump (I am a Trump supporter) but that doesn't necessarily mean Trump agrees with the privatization even though overall he thought he was the right person for that job since he appointed him.

I personally don't think privatization is a good thing and here is why: For it to be privatized means it will be run or subcontracted to a for profit company, where the government (and I say this with a grain of salt) is a not for profit agency, so for what the government can do at their cost the private company must do at cost plus a profit and pay taxes on top of that, so I believe it will increase the cost either to the taxpayers or to the users of the park/campground by increased fees or both. Now whether that increase comes with better quality services or lesser quality services is another question entirely and would only be seen after the deal is done, and may be irreversible or at the very least difficult to do so. I say if it ain't broke don't fix it, I'd rather see them drain the swamp in D.C. and leave the parks alone.

Locally, our county government tried to privatize the county ran EMS system by contracting out to a private EMS company, which was a bad idea as the private company make revenue by doing medical transports for hospitals, which meant it was very likely the ambulances could be tied up with a transport when a real emergency arose causing delayed or abnormally long response times for critical emergency care. Not to mention the same thing I said earlier which was the private company has to make a profit which the government can operate at cost so rates for ambulance services were predicted to increase and the county was going to pay the for profit company a subsidy to operate in our county (how stupid is that) not much off from what the county EMS budget was to begin with.

Now with that said, that is not to say that a government will not use a service to generate revenue (in a way similar to how a private entity profits) to pay for other government services rather than just operating that particular service at cost. We have seen our local city sell power to us citizens at inflated rates which goes into the general fund and then gets paid out to other budget items, when across the city limit lines in the unincorporated county the local EMC sells power to its customers at a fraction of the price for similar usage.
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Old 07-03-2017, 07:17 AM   #9
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I can understand the rationale for using concessionaires for restaurants and lodges within our federal lands - But not so much for campgrounds. Those within the National Parks and Seashores here in NC are generally staffed by volunteers or seasonal employees. Hard to see how privatizing them is going to save much money or make for a better visitor experience.

We frequently camp for an entire weekend without seeing a full time NPS staff member and, when we do, its most often in a LEO capacity. I can't remember the last time a ranger stopped by our campsite to chat about our visit and offer suggestions for things to do/see.
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Old 07-03-2017, 07:37 AM   #10
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I can understand the rationale for using concessionaires for restaurants and lodges within our federal lands - But not so much for campgrounds. Those within the National Parks and Seashores here in NC are generally staffed by volunteers or seasonal employees. Hard to see how privatizing them is going to save much money or make for a better visitor experience.

We frequently camp for an entire weekend without seeing a full time NPS staff member and, when we do, its most often in a LEO capacity. I can't remember the last time a ranger stopped by our campsite to chat about our visit and offer suggestions for things to do/see.
Agreed! Another thought, for any of you that work camp or host or are considering it, what do you think is going to happen to those opportunities if the parks go private? I am willing to bet the vast majority of those opportunities will go away.

I also saw it mentioned as a comment by another on the OP link that one person said:
“With fees set at the proper level, the owners can keep the lower classes from trashing everything in sight by making it too pricey for them to enter. And use the money to make massive improvements, like more RV parks, higher quality hotels and restaurants, more shopping without driving miles to some ‘park boundary’.”

While I have seen trash left behind by others, I don't think this has as much to do with money as it does with disrespect. Lots of families on middle class or low incomes enjoy camping and the great outdoors and are stewards of nature and our natural resources. And I would say most of your park service volunteers are not wealthy either (in the monetary sense). Any I have seen folks with large 6 figure diesel pushers or toy haulers who obviously have money trash a site with beer bottles after a drunken weekend. Jacking up the price I believe will just unfairly push those out of opportunities for low cost camping, sometimes it could be a hard working families only vacation opportunity.

Not to mention, when I go to a campground I want it to be getting back to nature, hookups are welcome, but a parking lot of concrete pads 20 ft apart intended for diesel pushers no thanks - I can do that at Walmart, I'd rather have well maintained campgrounds in a more natural setting
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Old 07-03-2017, 08:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Franswa View Post
we have privatized Provincial Park campgrounds here in BC....IMO it stinks.... for a variety of reasons...

on a broader level....

I am sick of politicians that get elected to GOVERN (i.e. administer/run the peoples assets) and then turn around and sell the assets or farm out the running of them......

If they can't "do the job" they should not have applied for it....they should have gone and started their own railroad, highway maintenance business.....or private campground.....
Contracting concessions to a for profit company could still be a cost savings to the end user.
One thing is still pretty clear in most cases...
There is nothing you can do for a dollar that politicians can't do half as well for a thousand!
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Old 07-03-2017, 08:35 AM   #12
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Camp hosts are very common in privately owned campgrounds. It's easy to see for $30 campsite you can get $100 worth of work or more.
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Old 07-03-2017, 09:00 AM   #13
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On most issues I come down clearly on one side or the other, but this one has alot of valid arguments on either side. I've spent alot of time at government operated parks as well as several that used to be and are now private. My general impression is that the privately run parks have slightly better amenities, but at a higher price.
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Old 07-03-2017, 09:42 AM   #14
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JohnnyM - I didn't see this comment originally - thanks for quoting it
"With fees set at the proper level, the owners can keep the lower classes from trashing everything in sight by making it too pricey for them to enter. And use the money to make massive improvements, like more RV parks, higher quality hotels and restaurants, more shopping without driving miles to some ‘park boundary’.”

And I'm in full agreement with your response. I'd gladly forego any hookups for campsites with greater separation and more privacy. Let the private sector have that spectrum of the business.
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Old 07-03-2017, 10:01 AM   #15
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I'm not sure I understand. These are federal campgrounds. The cost has nothing to do with the state they are in.

I toyed with moving to N H. No income tax and no sales tax. But they more than make up for it in fees and the property taxes will curl your toes. No free lunch there.
If you read the posts above, mine was in response to the person who stated Vermont state park camping was a lot cheaper than NH.
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Old 07-03-2017, 10:34 AM   #16
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I for one appreciate water and electric so we can run the air and don't have to fetch water. Aside from that I don't need cable or wi-fi, and we have our own shower/toilet. Give me a fire ring, picnic table, and a lake or stream and I am a very content. And for that reason I really enjoy campsites like Lake Russell Recreation Area in NE Georgia as it is a U.S. Forest Service campground with a permanent camp host and the same for Lake Sinclair Recreation Area (a few w & e sites). Russell is not heavily used like some (probably because of no hookups) and the fees are very reasonable/low cost, Lake Sinclair sees heavier use but is still not hard to get into as it is a small less popular CG and is on a major lake in GA. My wife on the other hand likes all the amenities including a pool and hot tub...I realize you pay for those amenities but also note in GA state parks they all are the same price, some are worth the extra cost for they have added amenities like a pool but many not so much and I can stay in some private rv parks with really nice amenities for what the state parks charge.
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:27 AM   #17
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Don't know what to think of this. Why I posted the link.

I do know Big Southfork National Park, TN/KY which is not very old at all has really gone downhill. Funds were cut on it the last administration. It did have a pool but a budget cut shut it down. Park seems more rundown now.

Sounds like a private company may run a campground not clear if that would be any sort of improvement. May cause many Park Service layoffs.

Most certainly the fees would go up.
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:52 AM   #18
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J,

With your wife on this. I want pampered in my old age. Far from the beginnings of sleeping on the ground first in a pup tent. Don't ever want to go there on dump stations. Need a full hookup.

I doubt seriously after a privateer takeover if there would be any improvement in the NPS accommodations. Big Southfork NP here in TN only has dump stations.
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Old 07-03-2017, 01:06 PM   #19
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It would appear New Jersey has introduced a program to increase the occupany of private campgrounds as we speak.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie quips that beach photos are an 'incredible scandal' - ABC News
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Old 07-03-2017, 02:26 PM   #20
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I'm ambivalent on this one. While it does make me nervous, it's not like the land itself is being transferred, nor is the entire park being privatized, nor are the concessionaire contracts in perpetuity. I suspect that privatization would only affect some of the most heavily-visited parks, at least at first.

I have stayed at El Tovar, the historic concessionaire-run lodge at Grand Canyon, and felt it retained the clean but simple and rustic character appropriate for the historic building and park setting. It seems to get regular renovations, but I'm pretty sure the NPS has to sign off on any changes. The price was somewhat higher compared to off-site options, but not excessively so, and the right-there location more than compensated for the price and lack of amenities. If you want a more typical chain hotel experience, there are plenty of options just outside the park.

A concessionaire already runs an RV park in Grand Canyon, more a full-hook-ups campground than anything like an RV resort, so I wouldn't expect the campgrounds to change drastically any more than the hotels. On the other hand, updating restrooms and other small improvements would be more likely to happen on a regular basis when they don't require, literally, an act of Congress. Again, if you want an RV resort experience with pool & hot tub, there are options outside the park.

The reservation system used by the lodge concessionaire was easy to negotiate and allowed for advance planning as well as a last-minute booking by a family member who elected to join us, taking advantage of a last-minute cancellation. There was nothing silly like logging on at exactly 8am on the first of the month to jostle with thousands of hopefuls to snag a reservation for seven months out, with a whole month opening all at once. I suspect one thing that will go away are same-day, first-come, first-served sites. On the other hand, at least during off-peak season, I expect you will still be able to book any remaining available sites on relatively short notice, for those who like flexibility.

Really, I don't think the sky is falling.
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