Archive for the ‘national forest campgrounds’ Category
Finding a level campsite is a rare and wonderful thing. For appliances in recreational vehicles being level is necessary, and for occupants there is this feeling of either climbing up hills and listing to one side.
We have seen, and used, a number of methods to determine if we have achieved a good level but my broom is possibly the most reliable.
We missed that “sweet spot” this time.
Last month we got an email from a camper who was disappointed by the conditions at a national forest campground. As is our policy, when someone send us a complement or complaint we forward it to the ranger district office for whatever action the forest wants to take. In the case of this particular message we were copied on the response. The District Ranger explained the reasons for the conditions and than stated (and I paraphrase here) the Forest Service will never have the “quality” of a private campgrounds.
We have just spend more than a week camping in private campgrounds traveling across this great country. Rarely did we have things like trees or privacy, campfires or quiet, and campsites were close enough to know what the neighbors are having for dinner. There were chlorine laden swimming pools, two sunny playground, and a Sunday morning pancake breakfast served in the Club House. In a Forest Service campground, you have hours of shade from big old trees, spend time hunting for firewood, and exploring the surrounding woods. For entertainment, there sitting around a campfire, telling stories or singing, watching the moon and stars rise, and listening to the night-time sounds of the forest critters. During the day, there might be a swimming hole available for an afternoon dip and most often playgrounds are what can be found in forest and hillsides. True, a national forest camper may enjoy a plate of pancakes for breakfast, may be even with fresh picked blueberries, and it is made by the camper.
Don’t forget there are a lot of campsites posted at ForestCamping.com so you can find your own quality campground.
Whether a tent, car, and rv (recreational vehicle) camper, a tool box is important to pack. I’m not talking about an assortment of tools you might need to rebuild engine but some basic stuff to correct small problems like a tear in a tent, hanging a line to dry wet swimsuit, or change out a blown fuse.
Here are tools I think all campers should have in their toolbox. Make sure all tools fit your hand and are comfortable to handle. IMHO, weight isn’t important but balance is.
Hammer – 16-ounce curved-claw model. It’s lightweight and effective.
Screwdriver – a multi-bit ratchet screwdriver is best. It will save you weight (won’t need more than the one), money (no need to buy any others), and time (no need to reset the tool after each turn).
Pliers – slip-joint for tightening or loosening nuts and bolts and needle-nose pliers for twisting wire and reaching into tight places.
Hardware – a variety of nails, screws, eye hooks, and cup hooks along with wire and/or lightweight durable string. S-hooks and clothespin can be useful, too. I like to use S-hooks as much as possible since it means less chance of harming live trees, bushes, etc.
Adhesives – Carpenter’s glue for wood and paper, Super glue for almost everything else, but a tape such as masking, duct, and electric, well be useful. Duct is my chosen preference. It’s good for everything from a tear in a tent to blisters on your feet.
An rv camper will find a socket and ratchet set useful, too.
ps – The ratchet screwdriver came in handy our first day out. *All* the cabinets handles needed to be tightened down.
Here’s a tip for camping families – keep things the adults might need while the children are sleeping *outside* the travel trailer, motorhome, tent, or cabin. This includes jackets, firewood, coolers, drinks, books, lanterns, camp chairs, etc. That way you can let sleeping babies lie and the adults can enjoy some quality time together.
As our departure date approaches, all the big decisions have been made. By big, I mean we have a departure date, selected the national forests will be visiting and surveying, our route is mapped, and that stuff. I have my lists of what we need to take like laptops, medicines, and files. Now, it’s time to focus on the little things such as what clothes do I take for six months on the road? Don’t laugh cause it isn’t so easy.
Remember, we are leaving when the temperatures are likely to be hovering around 100 degrees and tornadoes are still skipping across the middle of the country. Our return will be somewhere around late October to early November, hopefully before the snow starts to fall but we will probably be dealing with frosty mornings and may be some nights with freezing temperatures.
My first consideration is weather. We’ll have to deal with the heat and humidity of the east for the first part of our travels. I still remember six weeks of rain and overcast skies that had mildew growing in closets and I taking *all* our clothes to a Laundromat. It wasn’t to wash them but to dry them out! And, of course, there is a real possibility of fairly cool weather which is likely for the latter part of our travels.
Next is business and social commitments where neither shorts nor blue jeans are appropriate. I can’t take a different for each occasion so must maximum the look of one same basic outfit. I have a delicious black, wool-blend pantsuit and a light brown linen skirt and jacket but which one? Would a “summer-weight” wool be bearable for Washington, D.C. in midsummer? But on the other hand, how do I deal with the wrinkles linen seems to automatic produce? And do I have to wear panty hose, I mean really! And I don’t even want to think about shoes.
And than there is my annual weight loss to consider. I usually start our travels wearing size 12 but by the time we return home I’m in size eight. But this year with all that has been happening, I’m already swimming in my size 12 clothes. So should I leave those 12s behind? What if I put weight on and need them.
Frankly, it is enough to make this gal ready to head for the hills and stay there.
This year’s research will include a stop in Washington, DC for a meeting with the Forest Service per our Memo of Understanding. We try to get back and touch base with the Washington Office every two or three years. We find it enlightening as well as discouraging. Few people, even within the Forest Service, seem to realize the importance of camping to not only our national forests but also the health and well-being of the American people.
Maybe ten years ago we thought it might be good if we visited some of the “makers-and-shakers” on Capitol Hill. After knocking on about a half-dozen doors, one staffer remarked to us, “But no body cares about national forests.” What did he know since his office represented a state and district with no national forests? I tried to set him straight.
We haven’t been back to the Hill since that day, focusing our efforts more on the users of national forests.
Can I tell you how thrilled I was to come across this piece on the internet by Congressman Glenn Thompson. Maybe someone on the Hill is listening and does appreciate national forests. Well, I can hope.
More campers will be seeing this poster on fee boards at national forest campgrounds this year. As the bear population increases so must our awareness of the dangers. One thing I like about the poster’s message is in the upper right hand corner – a bear and a squirrel. Yes, bears are a serious worry but that little graphic in the corner should remind us, little critters are always on the look out for an easy, free meal.
There is a question I don’t understand. There is some much to do in any national forest, national grassland, or in you backyard. Allison McDonald, author of the No Time for Flash Cards blog, has provided a great response to the question, ”Is these anything my children can do at the campground?” Click here to see what you and your child can be outdoors.
Based on several different posts, it looks like we have a lot of people on National Forest Community forum, who have either done campground hosting or thinking about it. I know that once we “retire,” we’ll want do it too!
To have a successful campground host experience, what questions should one ask? What kinds of traits and experiences should one have to increase the chance of being successful?
After reading the comments and advise of others, here is some of the the questions I have gleaned to help others get started in determining if Hosting is for them:
- What training will I receive?
- What are my responsibilities?
- What tools/equipment will we be provided?
- What kind of campsite is the host provided?
- What are the number of work hours expected each week?
- What are the typical the busy times?
- What communication equipment are we provided?
- What is the typical response time for help? (Law enforcement/Rangers/first aid)
Suggested traits a host should have:
- Love of the outdoors
- Very comfortable working with all kinds of people
- Patience and the ability to keep situations calm.
- Basic maintenance skills
These are traits every campground host should have and questions to asked of either Forest Service or commercial campground management.
This is one of my first blogs and, I thought, since Thanksgiving is coming up, it would be nice remember how this whole adventure began.
After our 1994 trip to Canada, I was back in the woods and my husband enjoyed being there, too. Could it get better than this? Well, it did.
After several camping sojourns, Fred and I discovered a wonderful new camping experience in our Washington, D.C. backyard – Beartree campground in Virginia’s Jefferson National Forest campground! We had used commercial, privately owned campgrounds but weren’t big fans. And, although camping in a National Park was better, they crowded and we felt separated from the whole nature thing.
Beartree campground was large but it had a secluded, intimate feel. There were lots of other campers (the campground must have been half full) but we didn’t have to deal with any crowds. Huge (big enough to hide a pick-up truck!) rhododendron plants provided natural privacy screens and must have been amazing in the Spring when their cream-colored, dinner-dish-size flowers were in full bloom. (My children call these blossoms “Lady’s Nightgown” for the way the petals ruffle in a breeze.) Flush toilet and hot shower plus some of the best hiking trails we had seen in eons – we were hooked. (For more details about Beartree campground and camping in Jefferson National Forest click on here.).
While driving back from Beartree campground the idea of a U.S. National Forest Campground Guide effort was conceived. Some research, some letter-writing, and a meeting with the Forest Service at their headquarters in Washington, DC and we had a mission. We would provide the public with a place were they could go to for complete and comprehensive National Forest developed campground information.
It must be said when we started our adventure back in 1994, the Internet was a toddler in its development and the Forest Service thought “web sites” were the corners of rooms where spiders hung-out. We have seen a lot of changes since those early days.
Today is December 21, 2005 and weather in most of the country is, well, wintry. In front of me are a small collection of Forest photographs we have taken over the years and my thoughts turn to adding to my collage in 2006. It should be another great, fun-filled adventure, this time the focus will be on the national forests in Oregon. Hope you’ll join me while I plan and prepare for our 2006 adventures. Until we departure in mid-May, we’ll continue our work on our web sites and Guides (the latest is for Southern California’s National Forests).
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