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Old 05-27-2019, 08:35 PM   #1
AnJ
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Camping in the Pacific Northwest

Hello fellow campers!

We've been camping for 10 years or so and have noticed a significant change in the style of camping etiquette. It seems that the new 'norm' at campsites is 1-2 families/parties per campsite due to the limited availability of them, often with loud music that can be heard 3-4 sites down, yelling/loud voices, etc... similar to a party atmosphere. Most of our camping has been at provincial/national/state parks.

We've come to the conclusion that maybe we need to change our camping style. We live on a farm and camping has always been a means of accommodation while travelling, a way to enjoy nature and relax. For those of you that have tried boon docking, what resources do you use to find good sites? Has anyone in the Northwest bought a Harvest Host membership- is it worth it? Do you find that your camping experience is a more peaceful one at the rec. sites, etc.? Private campgrounds?

Thanks in advance for any experience or knowledge that you can share.
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:04 PM   #2
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I have to tell you that I don't think it's such a big change. 30 years ago we were dealing with the same issue. In national parks it's usually a lot better, in my experience. State parks, you never know.
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:41 PM   #3
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Just returned from camping at a county park. I'm finding those to be the worst--too close to civilization and people who don't know how to behave. And camp hosts who do nothing! Generators ran 24/7 on both sides of us with bright lights hanging on one side, loud music, yelling and laughing until almost 2am, and one group next to us brought the biggest flat screen TV I've ever seen (hence the generator to run it). It certainly wasn't the peaceful weekend away we were hoping for.
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:48 PM   #4
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The worst two campgrounds for noise I’ve experienced was a private one in Chamberlain SD and sadly a state park in Iowa. Both were basically without supervision. Now I prefer remote Forest service installations with a camp host and Corps of Engineers or Bureau of land reclamation with hosts. I always talk to the camp host or park ranger if I can. Today as we checked in to a Corps Facility the rangers were putting a young man wearing two heavy silver bracelets connected by a chain, into the rear seat of a pickup. Man it’s quiet here tonight.
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:56 PM   #5
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Camping, particularly in the summer, is often a family affair. Kids do tend to get rowdy at times. Not you or I when we were children, of course, but other kids.

. “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households”

Socrates.

It seems that some things never change.


For boondocking sites there are several internet sites. Here are just two that have disbursed camping options.

https://www.campendium.com

https://www.ultimatecampgrounds.com

There are more. Just Google ‘free camping’ in the area where you would like to go and see what comes up.

Now boondocking potentially brings its own set of issues. Since there is no camp host, there are no rules. Loose dogs, loud generators, drunk people , huge smokey fires, etc.

As I type this, we are parked all by ourselves in an open field near the rodeo grounds in Buena Vista, CO. Just us. As quiet as can be. The only loose dog is ours.

Enjoy your travels.

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Old 05-28-2019, 02:32 AM   #6
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I've noticed this on holidays, you would have loved the State Park on Cape Cod on the 4th of July.

I don't camp on holidays, or even summer weekends anymore.
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:01 AM   #7
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We have noted that if the campground has electric and showers it will usually have more noise, so we try to avoid them. Also the big rigs frequent those camps, with our smaller units they can't get into the remote or small sites we can

With about 270 Watts of solar and careful water management we can go 10+ days between tank dumps and refills. We don't use a microwave, but watch as much tv as we want for news and such

Some of the planning sites we have used:
PublicLands.org
https://www.fs.fed.us/ivm/ this one has been quite helpful
https://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm
https://www.recreation.gov/
https://www.allstays.com/ not as helpful as others
PublicLands.org
https://www.atlasobscura.com/ this one is fun for finding the out of the way attractions

Good luck in your quest for better and more quiet camping
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Old 05-28-2019, 12:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowa Dave View Post
Today as we checked in to a Corps Facility the Rangers were putting a young man wearing two heavy silver bracelets connected by a chain, into the rear seat of a pickup. Man, it’s quiet here tonight.
Just out of curiosity, what Corps facility was that? FWIW, while a Corps Ranger in the '70s, one of my duty stations was Chamberlain.
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Old 05-28-2019, 01:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farther View Post
Just out of curiosity, what Corps facility was that? FWIW, while a Corps Ranger in the '70s, one of my duty stations was Chamberlain.
Hood Park near Pasco/ Richland Washington. A beautiful facility, well run, immaculate restrooms. $12 per night with geezer pass. Electric and showers.
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:22 PM   #10
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I use this site all the time: https://freecampsites.net/

It has an interactive map and can be very useful. It does not, however, include every option there is. National Forests and BLM lands in the Pacific Northwest allow "dispersed" camping at undeveloped sites, many of which are small and can accommodate only 1 trailer or RV. If you can score one of those, you would likely have it to yourself. Some of them (but not all) are included in this website. Obviously, knowing where they are is key, and learning would require lots of exploring.

Another resource, if you're planning to camp in Montana, is the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks website. http://fwp.mt.gov/fish/guide/fasGuide.html

These sites, which are for river and lake fishing access, often include camping areas. I have found these sites USUALLY don't have the scene you describe. Especially if you go during the week.

I agree 100% with you, I hate that scene, I camp to get away from music and noise and tons of people. This is the reason we usually boondock.

Best of luck!
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