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Old 07-31-2009, 02:02 PM   #1
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I'm on a super extended summer trip and I'm currently in Vermont and it's raining so I thought I'd bitch a little.

1. The $8.00 reservation fee tacked on to Federal and state parks and the vanishing number of walk-in sites.
2. The day use fee in addition to the camping fee charged by many state parks.

The reservation fee must generate obscene amounts of money for every little investment. Most of the parks in this system don't supply full hook-ups and the state parks with the tacked on fees can approach $40/night.
The federal parks are still a good deal but it's getting harder and harder to get in without a reservation and if you do get in, there's a good chance you will be kicked out of your spot for someone with a reservation.

These additional costs are really impacting my budget for the summer. I budgeted $2.50/gal for fuel (ok there so far) and $25.00 per night for camping (not doing so well there). I find myself staying at a lot of truck stops, Walmarts, and Cracker Barrels while traveling between destinations. During the week, these parks are like 20% full and the State's solution is to shut them down. California recently shut down over 200 state parks.

Am I just nuts or is there something screwy going on here
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Old 07-31-2009, 02:28 PM   #2
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Parks were once considered a necessary part of society to provide recreation for all citizens. They used to be free to enter and had low fees for campsites. More and more state and federal budgets do not provide sufficient funds to them to operate without high fees.

In Colorado state parks are almost entirely funded by fees. There's a $6 entry fee per day (or you can get an annual pass), fees for the campsite, an $8 fee for reservations, and $1 for 4 minutes for a shower. At the state park we were at the other day, it was $18 for an electric site, $22 for full hookups. If you had an electric site and two of you wanted to take a shower that lasted 8 minutes each, it would cost the same as full hookups. No fee for the dump station yet. I am told they are considering raising the fees next year. I had thought Reserve America set the reservation fee, but the state sets it. Each state park encourages locals to start organizations called "Friends of _______ State Park" to do volunteer work and raise money. It takes a bunch of hours of such work before a volunteer gets an annual pass free. In Colorado, state universities and colleges are so underfunded the state ranks 49th, so the problem is not just parks.

So, if you want to spend one night, have full hookups, make a reservation and don't have an annual pass, the cost is $36. There were a fair number of sites available during the week, so you can take a chance without a reservation. The parks are well kept, but at a private campground for the same price you often get wifi and maybe cable and they don't have volunteers doing some of the work. The sites are smaller and not as pretty. You don't have to pay for a reservation, in fact they are happy to get them. State parks are more like a destination in many cases. Last year we stayed at a Utah state park and if you paid for a campsite, there was no entry fee. I don't recall if there were a shower charge.

Gene
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Old 07-31-2009, 02:59 PM   #3
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Before Ike I felt the same way. I'v learned my wheels don't roll without a reservation. Although it's irritating how the fees keep going up, I don't mind as much now. The parks here don't charge shower fees, but do have the daily use fees along with the camping fees. During our evacuation, we found that the parks provided free sites for evacuees from the storm. Since, even though the prices keep going up, I do all I can to support the parks system. I have the annual parks pass, and have parks and wildlife license plates to help in some way.

The state park fees here aren't as high as up there.

It's a shame to see the parks going down, especially the closings
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Old 07-31-2009, 03:03 PM   #4
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Corps of Engineers Parks

Have you tried Corps of Engineers campgrounds. I made a reservation in May for a long 4th of July weekend and was only charged $9 per day for a water & electric site using my America the Beautiful Senior Pass. No additional fees were added using the recreation.gov web site.

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Old 07-31-2009, 03:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pop Rivet View Post
...

California recently shut down over 200 state parks.

Am I just nuts or is there something screwy going on here
Pop Rivet,

Actually, that was only a proposal from the Gov in his budget negotiations. Now that they have passed an interim, revised budget, the potential closures are much lower.

Bill
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Old 07-31-2009, 03:37 PM   #6
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Oddly enough, I never make reservations and they always "find" me a spot. It has happened three times now at full campgrounds. As soon as they say sorry we are full, I say, you can't squeeze me in somewhere and point at my trailer. Must be that shiny 1962 Aluminum, for they somehow come up with a spot. Last time it was a super prime handicapped spot. The parks have to hold them till 8 at night and they often go unused.
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Old 07-31-2009, 03:55 PM   #7
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We feel your pain to a point.. but luckily we rarely have to pay much if any to camp, between the fact that most military posts have campgrounds and our TT membership, we are usually able to find a low costs spot close to wherever we are headed.

A lot of the problem with the fact that camping used to be provided free, or nearly so in state parks was that tax money was actually being used "for the good of all the people" and now so much of gets shunted off to "other" uses... that don't benefit "all the people". .. ...
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Old 07-31-2009, 04:31 PM   #8
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Have you tried Corps of Engineers campgrounds. I made a reservation in May for a long 4th of July weekend and was only charged $9 per day for a water & electric site using my America the Beautiful Senior Pass. No additional fees were added using the recreation.gov web site.

Dennis
I have long felt the "Corps" ran the best parks in the country and a real bargain for seniors but, and it's a big butt. The Corps is getting out of the camp ground business by either hiring contractors to do the management or turning the recreational grounds over to local and state governments. Just one more sad situation for us campers.
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