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Old 09-03-2018, 04:49 PM   #1
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1968 26' Overlander
Eugene , Oregon
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 18
Campground shortage

Iím lucky enough to live in Oregon, there are lots of great campgrounds here, but Iíve noticed a trend: more and more people camping with massive trailers. Campgrounds are full at the coast all summer during weekends. Campgrounds are nearly full during the summer in most other desirable locations on weekends. More and more trailers = more kids, dogs, stereos, generators. Itís become far more peaceful at my house than at a campground. But we go camping to ďget awayĒ

So here are my questions:
1: is it possible to (or does it make sense) to petition State or local governments for the creation of more campgrounds to relieve the pressure on existing campgrounds?
2: As a group is there anything we can do to reduce the amount of barking dogs and running generators in a campground at any given time?
3: Am I alone in thinking that the supply and size of campgrounds is out-of-whack with the demand?
4: What if, (dare I suggest) we increase the cost of a site by $5 a day and throw that $ into a fund to help stay on top of supply?
5: How much does it cost to develop a campground, and then to maintain it?

Please feel free to chime-in to any and/ or all questions.

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Old 09-03-2018, 05:03 PM   #2
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What an interesting notion to expect any public sector entity would even consider investing in increased campground availability when money can't be found to fix more widely used, existing infrastructure!

There is a better chance a commercial enterprise might meet the growing demand but it still takes a million plus to start up a little place. The price tag increases exponentially when the ground is in a highly desirable location.

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Old 09-03-2018, 05:20 PM   #3
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Expect more of the same.

Environmentalists will, no doubt, discourage any more Campgrounds to be developed on Government Land. Even 'hunter's camps' access become more difficult when the road grader plows drainage alongside the road and puts tall ridges to the two ruts to campsites that have been there for decades.

The ATV and OHV is now the American Dream of those under 55. Get use to it. Families are out there and love it. They do not mind the neighbors, who also have kids and ATV's. We make note of those areas and you avoid three day holidays and weekends. Monday to Thursday for you... then find a more remote location. If possible. This trend has been happening for the last ten years. Lots of triple axles.

If you prefer Developed Campsites. So do the ATV campers. They do not mind you and they do what they all have been doing. At 10,000+ feet in the Manti/LaSals in western Utah, we observed twenty or more Toy Haulers. They were scattered for miles on the flat tops with room for another fifty... to spare.

The ATV ages were youth to parents. When we encountered them descending to the East, they all yielded by pulling off onto the sides of the mountain... and we all waved and I commented to the kids... THANKS! Some I passed within inches of their handle bars without any problem. (I am also a very good Off the Grid road traveler.)

We encountered fifty or more in 15 miles of descent... no one was upset that we were there. If we had kids at home... we would be out there ourselves.

ATV's are now for two, three, four with a storage area in back. It is amazing of all of the varieties.

We are now more selective where we go. Easy access to lots of mountain roads will be busy near larger towns and cities.

The Forest Service and BLM have all they can handle already. By adding more campgrounds the congestion will become worse. Much like City Traffic.

The 2016 Wyoming Adventure has a number of off the main traffic campsites to pick from. But... like I discovered, many people say they want to get Off the Grid... they did not want to be 'really' Off the Grid, just near it.

Many campers want convenience, pit restrooms, water and a Wet Bar supplied by the US Government.

Get out your atlas and find campsites of your own choosing. The pay to stay sites have been known for decades. Hunter's camps do not provide the same comfort.

You will have to change with the times. A $100 a day RV Park will have plenty of space to offer. Free or for very little cost... the competition is stiff to get there.

Good luck. We are leaving for a Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico to Nevada Boondocking trip. Find our tracks and you are welcome to camp next to us, if you do not mind our two Blue Heelers.
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Old 09-03-2018, 05:21 PM   #4
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You certainly can pressure your state to create more campgrounds. You will need a fairly large voting block that it behind the idea. You also should be ready to "play politics" in a very real way. That includes fairly extensive work analyzing the positive local economic and social impacts of campgrounds. It also includes a lot of "I'll back your idea if you back mine" sort of horse trading .....

Given a few decades, you probably can get somewhere .....

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Old 09-03-2018, 06:00 PM   #5
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On our last trip lasting about 5 weeks and the first real long trip we've taken, I was trying too hard to line up campsites. I thought like you that the campground book up very quickly. I decided wrongly to book the first 3 1/2 weeks ahead of time (two months before we left).

Well, I learned my lesson as we had to pass up wonderful historic sites in Virginia as we were keeping to our schedule; full speed ahead.

When I booked our first campground site in Laury Virginia the lady told me she had two sites available for the 5 days we wanted to stay. Booked it.

The next campground was in Newport NC. Only one site available for the 4 days stay we wanted. Booked it.

Well, this went on and on and the same response either when I went to book on their web page or on the phone.

You guessed it, the Lauray campground with 65 sites housed me and one other camper the whole week with a vacant trailer on one other site. The campground was along a river and was gorgeous.

Newport with "only one site left" had about 12-14 sites we could choose from.

Our stay in Mt. Pleasant near Charleston was at a KOA. We booked the last site
available for the next few weeks. When we arrived there were plenty of empty sites throughout the park.

I realize that we were not in state parks and national park and we did this purposely as we were traveling in the south with 100 degree days. Our "loud barking dog" Maddie needed the AC to survive and so did we! (Our dog does not no never ever Bark ever!!!)

So in the east, we were had by the many campgrounds and their conspiracy to book empty sites by misleading the lack of availability.

I realize I answered none of your questions, but I got the opposite experience that you and most have.

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Old 09-03-2018, 06:12 PM   #6
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As far as states and localities creating new campgrounds, that is as hard to imagine as them creating new state and county parks...which you just don’t hear of.

In my experience, there isn’t a shortage of campgrounds/campsites except in very popular areas during peak season.

Also, campgrounds off the beaten path (away from major highways) are more likely to have vacancies.

Calling ahead in the morning for a site later in the day nearly always is successful, but keep ones holding tanks empty and fresh water/propane full as there is always the chance there is nothing where you are headed and finding a spot to dry camp must do for any given night.

But, being small also has advantages in that smaller sites tend to be the last to go.

Always good to make reservations ahead of time for weekends, too, when any campground seems most likely to be full.

🏡 🚐 Cherish and appreciate those you love. This moment could be your last.🌹🐚
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:31 PM   #7
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The RV trailer world has taken off like crazy; Thor Industries is selling every trailer they can build like crazy, with people wanting bigger TVs (and also bigger tow vehicles), Stainless steel fridges and as many slide outs as they can.

Should we build more campsites to cater to this crowd? Whatever..... I try and boondock as much as I can....even approach churches and offer to pick up garbage around the church if they let me stay the night.

This was the last place we camped; I did run a generator in the morning to make coffee and toast my toast....that's it.

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Old 09-03-2018, 06:37 PM   #8
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Recreational vehicles production has increased tremendously in the last decade and is expected to ramp up even further with so many more retirees and young people embracing the lifestyle.

I believe that if the recreational vehicle industry expects to have a healthy number of future customers, they will need to step up and invest in new and renovated campgrounds. Otherwise, the lack of places to camp will overpower the desire to buy RVs.
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:47 PM   #9
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I Should clarify... this is my experience primarily in Oregon. I Made a 3 week loop thru Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Montana, 3 years ago and found next to no campgrounds in Idaho, but still found one that was beautiful and free, on a lake and still vacant. Plenty of vacancies in Wyoming and Montana. Once back in central to western Oregon there are campgrounds everywhere, but they were generally full. Seems like there are a lot of us trailer campers out here in Oregon. I donít even bother trying to go to the coast without a reservation or heading out on Monday thru Thursday.
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:54 PM   #10
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We just spent 3 nights at Newport Oregon and I was lucky to get a site booking a month out. (South Beach SP). Should we have opportunity to go back we will try for after school is back in session as it seemed that majority of campers were families.

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Old 09-03-2018, 07:01 PM   #11
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The recovery from the Great Recession is mostly over in many areas of the country (though not certainly many others) and people are buying RV's. People have more money to travel and the last few years have been busier. We have had to make reservations ahead of time more and more. We hardly ever made reservations 10 years ago.

Real estate prices have also gone up. Campgrounds take a lot of land and that land is now worth more than the CG business in some places, especially when the CG is close to the middle of town. States and counties have had budget problems and are not interested in opening CG's. Here in Mesa Co., Colorado, the Commissioners built a CG at the Fairgrounds, but no one can use it except for an event—they don't want to compete with private CG's. Most of the local CG's are not very good and so I suppose what the County is doing is chasing people down the road. Some states closed parks from 2008 onward and I don't know whether they have all reopened. The Feds have no money for such things at parks, monuments or other public lands. In the last decade, the Forest Service here started closing campgrounds and leasing others to concessionaires who would add electricity and concrete pads. Cost more than doubled at what was left. Prices at all CG's have gone up quite a bit in the past two years (15-20% or more) making it more expensive to travel, but seems like that hasn't stopped anyone.

A CG we use, can't always rent all their spaces. New RV's use so much electricity, their system cannot handle it and they have to leave some sites open. Some new MH's require 75 amp service.

Building a CG is a large cost. Lots of pipe for sewer and water, underground electric cables are very, very expensive, grading spaces for level, property taxes, cost of putting in propane is not cheap, hiring helpers because no two people can run a fairly big park by themselves, etc. Many contractors are very busy, so labor costs for building and maintaining a CG have gone up. Lodging is a tough business and not a lot of people have the money, or time, or patience (how long can you take listening to demanding, whining customers?) to do it.

Seems like there may be business opportunities out there if you want to build a CG, but seems like a risky business to me.

The Airstream is sold; a 2016 Nash 24M replaced it.
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Old 09-03-2018, 07:03 PM   #12
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Waco , Texas
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I did not experience any campground shortage this summer during a 3 month trip from Texas to Maine and then back home again. Most places claimed 2 sites left....and upon arrival they may actually have 15 sites open, but reserved for the unbooked drop-in customer off the interstate highway.

If anything; I have noticed a trend in many KOA locations where about 60% of the sites are occupied full time all year. People living in their RV and working locally near the KOA. Many build sun decks and have small swimming pools and even hang the laundry out to dry. They get a 50% discount for long term usage. Anybody else notice the big increase in people living full time in RV at a KOA facility? It sounds to me like perhaps they are adapting to a shortage of customers.
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Old 09-03-2018, 08:09 PM   #13
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I agree RV parks and state parks are harder to find on short notice. I hate the "first come, first served" national park system where I see folks lined up at 7 am hoping for a space to open up. I do think there are opportunities for entrepreneurs to build RV parks, even in small little towns along the interstate or major highway that are used for overnight stays. I do think fees will rise with the strong demand.

I don't pretend to have a solution. I'm lucky I'm retired and can avoid holidays and summer vacation season. I'm lucky I live in Colorado where I walked a state park trail yesterday just 30 minutes from home. It was lovely. I saw a 5 mile traffic backup heading west through my home town last Friday before the Labor Day holiday. I figured all of Denver was heading to the mountains for the holiday. Hope they all had a reservation.

And I think the upcoming skiing season will create more traffic jams on I-70. People like to play, and so do I. So we plan accordingly for high prices, no parking, and long lift lines most weekends.

Our plan is to travel in the spring (April and May) and the fall (September and October) where we find less travelers and less congestion. You know, I've never figured out why we humans all go to work at 8am and home again at 5pm creating these rush hour traffic jams. I altered my work schedule so I reported to work at 11am and left at 8pm. I could cover both shifts, and I didn't have rush hour traffic. Why do we insist on lunch at noon? Lunch at 1:30 after the rush is more relaxing. Our family has taken to celebrating Thanksgiving on Friday. It relieves navigating the congested highways and airports of people trying to have Thanksgiving on Thursday. A day late is good for us.

Altering schedules offers a bit of relief from all the congestion. Working from home or your Airstream is even better. We should try to utilize our "transportation assets" a bit better with alternative schedules.

Oh well; it is what it is.

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Old 09-03-2018, 08:49 PM   #14
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Marlee, I noticed that at KOA’s too. The Grand Junction one seems to have a lot of long term residents. I have seen that at the one north of Pueblo on I-25. It had some rather bad long termers we were put between. We never came back. Varies a lot amongst KOA’s, but a lot of them are looking kinda old at premium prices.

David, I like the way you think. I lived in Evergreen and Marshdale for 22 years, left in 2000. Traffic getting out of Denver was really bad from the early 1990’s on and with all the growth, it must be unbearable now. We now avoid Denver—it was once a nice city.


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