Archive for the ‘national forest campgrounds’ Category
“In season on-site RV storage” is one of the suggested proposals in the American Recreation Association (ARC) “Modernization of Recreation Sites” plan. The concept is that the U.S. Forest Service would give concessionaires operating Forest Service campgrounds the authority to permit, for a fee, the parking of unoccupied recreational vehicles on an active campsite for an extended period of time. According to industry sources, this would allow campers, especially from urban areas, to travel back and forth without having to haul their rigs each time they want to spent time in the forest. This, according to an ARC representative, would be easier on the environment and reduce fuel consumption. The assumption is both would be a good thing. And getting more people enjoying time in the out-of-doors would be good, too.
According to ARC, the number of people enjoying the out-of-doors, specifically in national forests and grasslands, is steadily declining. Although this representative admits obtaining accurate and comprehensive numbers for the number of people who are enjoying national forests and grasslands is nearly impossible, he suggests the decline is more a function of “working mothers” not having the time or energy to perform the logistics necessary for a family to spend time in the out-of-doors. My response is that’s nonsense!
I have been camping for a long time, before children, with children, working outside the home, and now, in “my golden years” when it is just Fred and my dogs heading for the woods. It is always a challenge planning, packing, and preparing for any trip, and trip camping is no different. However, there are techniques and methods that make it easier and possible to, at-the-drop-of-a-hat, head for the woods. Plus, many working mothers have a helper known as the “dad.” (And by the way, Mr. Recreational Industry Representative, EVERY mother is a “working mother.”) Don’t blame declining numbers on “working mothers.”
There are many factors likely influencing the possible decline of people using national forest campgrounds. Deteriorating infrastructure in campgrounds and the ever increasing influence of concessionaires could be reasons. An infrastructure where the vaults are not maintained or there is an absence of drinking water would discourage many potential campers. Fees for having pets in a campground, restrictions on collecting dead and down wood so campers must purchase firewood from the concessionaire, and closing of campgrounds as soon as schools are back in session, voiding the possibility of camping in the less crowded “shoulder” season, are likely to contribute to the reduction in people camping at concessionaire-operated campgrounds. Perhaps ARC and others in the outdoor recreation industry should look at other factors contributing to the alleged decline in national forest and grassland campground occupancy before pointing their finger at the “working mother” or suggesting “in season on-site RV storage” would miraculously improve campground occupancy.
At least, that’s my opinion. What’s yours? Please, tell us how you feel about this proposal.
Just heard about a movement by private industry to “modernize and upgrade national forest recreation sites, particularly campgrounds and marinas.” Full hookups, wifi, yurts, and the list goes on. Sounds good, but it means the campground or marina would be privatized, meaning handed over to a concessionaire, for upwards of 20 years. FYI: One of the suggested “improvements” is for “year-round storage.”
Here is the presentation used in the initial meeting between American Recreation Coalition and the Forest Service. The Forest Service has had a follow-up meeting but haven’t heard of any results.
My question – Does any one care if concessionaires take over recreating in our national forest? Your comments are appreciated.
When we research a campground, we always ask about things to do near that campground. Vermont Country Store, in Weston, VT, is close to the Green Mountain National Forest’s Hapgood campground and a must. This is a store you could spend all day browsing through and still feel like there is more to explore. Wood floors polished by thousands of shoes walking across it. Doors that lead to another discovery. Smells of cheese, coffee, candy, leather, shaving lotions and more. So much to see, smell, touch, feel, taste – reminded me of my visits to a little 5 & dime store when a child. Here are just two photos of the interior.
There are other things to do but a visit to the Vermont Country Store when camped at Hapgood campground is a must.
The Green Mountain National Forest doesn’t have as many modern facilities found in other national forests but it does have an over-abundance of natural beauty, quiet, and peace. Vermont is a unique place with people just as special. In my opinion, Green Mountain National Forest reflects the people and land perfectly.
Friday, July 13, 2011, USAToday ran a story titled “More people visit national parks but spend less time in them.” Meghan Hoyer, author of this article states, “While the National Parks have seen an uptick in visitors over the past two decades, the time spent per visitor has dropped nearly 15%. Officials say a decrease in overnight stays is partly to blame. ”
The article confirms what we have felt. Quoting Avery Stonich, communications manager for the Outdoor Industry Association “People are still making outdoor recreation a priority in their lives. While they aren’t going to the national parks, they certainly are spending more time outdoors.”
From what we have seen and from our email, people are discovering national forests as an alternative to national parks. Fred thinks it because of the entrance fee charged by the national parks. I think that fee is up around $25 for prescribed period. It could be because national forests offer more freedom to do things and campgrounds have fewer campers.
Whatever the reason, I say national forests ROCK!!!
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.
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