Archive for the ‘national forest campgrounds’ Category
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).
If we have been asked once, we have been asked a thousand times, “Are dogs allowed in national forests and /or campgrounds?” With only the forest around Salt Lake City, Utah the exception YES dogs are permitted in all national forests and campgrounds. But any pet, be they dog, cat, bird, or whatever, must be leashed or kept under control at all times. (Personally, I think this is a rule more to keep the pet safe than any other reason.)
However, there people putting the Forest Service’s “Dogs are permitted” position in jeopardy. There are people who bring dogs who may be a danger to other campers either because they have not been properly socialized and have been trained to be aggressive or protective. (I don’t believe any dog breed is naturally this way but taught to be this way.) The result has been certain breeds are banned from some campgrounds.
Then there are those people who have no consideration for how their dog’s action might impact others. Did I say that in a nice way? If not, I’ll restate. There are people who let their dogs poop anywhere and never pick up afterwards.
Some Forest Service campgrounds will post a request on the fee board asking campers to pick up after their dogs. Some don’t bother, relying on a camper’s good sense. A few campground hosts/managers will hand out poop bags to campers with dogs with a request they be used appropriately. But my favorite method requesting action is found in the Tongass National Forest. The pictured poop bag dispenser is found at the Estuary Life Trail trailhead in the Starrgavan Recreation Area campground. Maybe more forests should invest in this approach.
Came across an article at Family and Camping titled“Five Space Saving tips for Family Camping.” Since we are planning a long weekend camping trip with our daughter and her family (husband, 8-yr old son and 2 ½-yr old twin girls) the article immediately caught my attention. In summary, Eric, the author, suggests campers:
1. Leave the food.
2. Use collapsible cooler.
3. Leave the suitcases.
4. Take less clothes.
5. Small games are best.
I will concur with suggestions 1, 3, and 4 but am not so sure about 2 or 5.
Eric might consider small games, such as hand-held electronic games, “best” but the tried and true are what I will take. A ball, deck of playing cards, jump rope, stack of paper and crayons are just a few things I’ll pack for the grandchildren. And I have a whole box of crafting projects possibilities to pull out when needed. A collapsible cooler sounds like a good idea but why would I switch from my old faithful cooler? I use my cooler to store all sorts of things along with bricks of frozen homemade-for-camping-adventure food. Plus I know how long my gallon jug of frozen water will last in that old cooler. And what kind of seating does a collapsible cooler provide?
We are going to a campground only about an hour from their home. So, while I agree that you might as well leave the food behind and buy it when you get there, this weekend for me the grocery stores are further from the campground than home. Why bother with a run for groceries?
A backpack is a great substitute for a suitcase. For our long weekend adventure, we are packing one backpack for each person over the age of three with all the clothes they will have for the whole time away. The twins aren’t completely potty trained so we’ll take “just in case” outfits plus night-time diapers. A school backpack will hold all of the toys the children want to take.
Eric has good ideas but like everything related to camping “one-size-does-not-fit-all.” Read his article and, like me, make your own adjustments. I think it will get you thinking.
Did you know 33 national forests have full hookups? Even more have electric only hookups, very popular with tent campers as well as rv campers. Just type “Full Hookups” in the search box on the left side of the Welcome Page at US National Forest Campgrounds Guide to for a list of which and where those 33 national forests are.
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