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Old 12-04-2020, 07:48 AM   #1
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Overwelming

http://fwp.mt.gov/mtoutdoors/pdf/2020/Overwhelmed.pdf

The above referenced article was very interesting to me. As a parks professional, camper and Montana visitor many times in the past 50 years I felt for park Managers and workers and my disdain for legislators who guide money allocation and those in control of budgets was further heightened. It looks to be a far cry from when I slept on the ground on a piece of canvas at Lewis and Clark caverns in 1969 with a tarp stretched off of my motorcycle for cover. And it did not make volunteering look very attractive either. Maybe just my opinion but definitely a mirror reflection of the comments Iíve been seeing on this and other forums regarding the onslaught our natural areas are facing in these difficult pandemic times. Your thoughts?
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Old 12-04-2020, 08:38 AM   #2
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After scanning the article, I can only attest that it's all true. Record attendance "everywhere". The law enforcement in Yellowstone could have written literally hundreds of tickets a day for illegal parking and such. They were overwhelmed and only addressing the most flagrant violations. Roadsides there will take decades to recover.

I don't have an answer. Politicians answer to those with the most money to influence their vote. The public sector, both state and federal, have little lobbying power.

The website Campendium has now become the campground directory of America. Even isolated boondocking sites are becoming overrun, with garbage and human waste being left behind. Soon, one won't be able to camp anywhere on public land if the trend continues.

I am so thankful I was able to travel most of the USA, as well as Canada, from 2008 through 2018, with nary a reservation. I fear those days are gone forever.
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Old 12-04-2020, 08:53 AM   #3
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Bummer. I get my new trailer hopefully within the next 2 weeks. At least Texas is big and hot.
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Old 12-04-2020, 09:28 AM   #4
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Americans in particular, demand their 'wilderness experience' in small, easy, controlled little bits. Without waxing on the reasons that American culture has turned us into a society which demands everything at no personal cost, I see it every day.

There are still great places to go, and haul the Escape to, without any crowds, and without overloading the good people who provide services to the 'entitled'.
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Old 12-04-2020, 09:52 AM   #5
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I seem to be going back in time. We bought a Escape trailer hoping to be more comfortable when camping in national forest dispersed sites but they are way to crowded anymore. Went back to high quality tent camping to be able to get to isolated camping spots. My favorite tent right now is the Frost River campfire tent, 4 person with end cover for small wood stove. I can really get back into some holes and still be comfortable. We are in our 60's. May have to put 21 up for sale. It was really a zoo out here in Montana this last summer and now everybody wants to move here.
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Old 12-04-2020, 10:15 AM   #6
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I seem to be going back in time. We bought a Escape trailer hoping to be more comfortable when camping in national forest dispersed sites but they are way to crowded anymore. Went back to high quality tent camping to be able to get to isolated camping spots. My favorite tent right now is the Frost River campfire tent, 4 person with end cover for small wood stove. I can really get back into some holes and still be comfortable. We are in our 60's. May have to put 21 up for sale. It was really a zoo out here in Montana this last summer and now everybody wants to move here.
We have been looking for a new tent for Winter Camping
How well does the Frost River Campfire tent handle snow load / cold ?
We only took our Escape out a couple of times this Summer due to two factorsó #1) Covid
#2 ) The places we wanted to camp were packed solid from June to late October
My wife and I have discussed dumping our Escape . The prices for used Escapes are relatively high and I see the competition for camp sites only getting worse
They have closed some NPS campsites in our area because they donít have the money nor
the staff to cleanup after the idiots.
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Old 12-04-2020, 11:07 AM   #7
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Depends where and when you go.

State parks, national parks, most places on a weekend are busy. Weekdays are lighter, and kamikaze camping if you try on a holiday. But that's always true.


We've used state forests 4 or so times this summer and had no crowd issues. Back in May, at an Iowa S.F., it was maybe 10% occupied, during the week.


Comments are for the Upper Midwest. I've heard it's crazy out West.
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Old 12-04-2020, 11:09 AM   #8
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The trailer sales soaring in Covid times has been interesting to watch. My wife and I have owned the molded FG selling site www.fiberglass-rv-4sale.com and IE we normally have 60-100 Casitas actively listed. We can hardly keep any listing inventory since May and sold a record 95 Casitas in Aug alone. All the other brands similar results as well.
We are predicting this crazy period will last about 2 years, and then they’ll start using them less and less. Then the market will be flooded with all these trailers that people paid too much for and prices will dive.
Campground capacity will increase the next year as everyone tries to make $$ on the craze. Once we can fly and stay safely in hotels again, the campground availability will get better as less folks get out there over the next two years.
Those of us that have always done this hobby will have some challenges finding space and will have to get more creative, but it will get better as we ultimately return to the new normal.
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Old 12-04-2020, 11:23 AM   #9
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It's pretty much a 3 season tent, snow loads not to well. I have a Reliable tent and awning tent for that. The Yellowstone 12 by 15 that is perfect and i can set it up in about 20 minutes by myself.They also offer other tents like that you may like. Any other questions let me know.
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Old 12-04-2020, 11:44 AM   #10
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This is a really great 3-season tent that I use for canoe camping in backcountry. I have smaller / lighter ones for kayaking but when I have the water-truck I take the big tent.


They make a 4-season version, but I have not tried it.


https://www.cabelas.com/shop/en/cabe...-4-person-tent
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Old 12-04-2020, 12:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowa Dave View Post
http://fwp.mt.gov/mtoutdoors/pdf/2020/Overwhelmed.pdf

The above referenced article was very interesting to me.
...
Your thoughts?
Iowa Dave
First, an admission. I only spent 30 seconds skimming the article.

As a "park professional" ( campground host ), I witnessed this year's crush of campers and visitors at Arches NP in October and November. It was mind numbing how many people were attempting to get into the limited space that the Park has available for visitors. The main gate to the Park had to be closed at mid-day just to maintain safety and parking. The campground was frequently full before noon. Rescue operations were carried out almost every day. The entire staff had to take exceptional precautions against Covid and of course had to live with the stress of being exposed to hundreds of strangers each day. ( I got tested the day after returning to home - negative, fortunately.) And the Park budget for this? Pitiful! To work for any National Park you essentially have to take a vow of poverty and risk your life for peanuts. I could go on for pages but you get the idea. Fortunately, most visitors have a good time and don't know what is going on behind the scenes.
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Old 12-04-2020, 12:07 PM   #12
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Something about "National Park" seems to draw people. We visited Arches several years ago and liked it, but ultimately had a better time at nearby Dead Horse Point SP because there were far fewer people there.

Been to Bruce Peninsula NP in Ontario, and it was pretty busy, especially in the parts that are a short walk from cars. I've spent 10 nights camping in Lake Superior Provincial Park without seeing another human.
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Old 12-04-2020, 01:06 PM   #13
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We are glad to have trailer with a washroom during these times as for us it is more important than ever to be self contained for the next few years.

This year we have stayed in friends driveways so we could visit them at a distance in their back yards. Something we would not have done without the trailer, bed, food and our own washroom.

We are once again looking at crossing Canada this year but only half way. It is long overdue that we sprinkle some ashes at a destination and we love the drive and sights. Where we stay for the night is not that important as long as it is safe.

We will never stay in a road side rest stop as the last time we did that along the I5 we woke up to a gang of teens in cars doing figure 8 racing between the parked RVs and throwing fireworks at the units.

We have our isolation trip planned...a few nights in various casino parking lots, hopefully a few at the generous people of Boondockers Welcome and some little towns that we know provide space for RVs. The little towns are great to explore.

Full camp sites is nothing new to us during the summer so little has changed. Here in BC people are just going to have to drive further north to find a Provincial Park if they want to sit for a week at a moment’s notice.
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Old 12-04-2020, 02:49 PM   #14
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That is so disappointing to see that. I hope everything can get back to normal soon and the park lands can recover.

I am so fortunate to have my own private campground to go to every month in the most scenic county in southern MO. I don't even experience the hundreds of visitors to the NPS's Ozark National Scenic Riverways land on my road since most vehicles can't cross the creek coming from the scenic waterfall just downstream.

We had a great Thanksgiving with my brother in his tent and my Ozark neighbors with their Casita plus my only neighbors on my road. We stayed distanced from each other and had a big feast outside at separate tables!
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Old 12-04-2020, 02:57 PM   #15
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I suspect the people going to RVs because of not wanting to use the restrooms for tent camping will likely stick with the RV (if they can afford the payments). Those doing it for safer travel will find them too small and give them up. Same as usual- tent campers find a small trailer luxurious; hotel stayers find it confining and cramped. But either way there will be more on the roads and in the parks for a few years to come. Some will prefer RV parks and stick to them but a lot may take advantage of the chance to visit national parks.

I bought my 17b for the onboard facilities, too. It makes both travel and camping safer at this time but it will be nice as I age, too. And even when the grandkids are back to just giving me colds instead of possibly Covid having my own bathroom will be great. (I do hope some of these new ideas like washing hands will stick with those young, impressionable germ magnets.)

It's not just camping. Kayak sales have been backed up for months, and our local rescue people have had more boat rescues than I have ever seen this year. Too many novices out taking advantage of being outside with no idea about boating safety. Bike sales are up, too, and likely similar issues there. I'm glad to see people getting outside, though.
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Old 12-04-2020, 03:14 PM   #16
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We got out about 30 nights this year from late May to late Sept. We camped in COE, state and county parks from Wyoming to Pennsylvania, avoiding the popular parks. Always made reservations. Several times the campgrounds were full up but people we saw were respectful and relatively quiet. I suspect the type of behavior in the article was limited to the parks that have always had big crowds. If you are there for the camping and are willing to be flexible there are a lot of great parks out there.
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Old 12-04-2020, 03:25 PM   #17
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I am so fortunate to have my own private campground to go to every month in the most scenic county in southern MO. I don't even experience the hundreds of visitors to the NPS's Ozark National Scenic Riverways land on my road since most vehicles can't cross the creek coming from the scenic waterfall just downstream.

Wow that is beautiful Linda. I'm sure you are enjoying the peace and tranquility out there!
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Old 12-04-2020, 04:24 PM   #18
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We got out about 30 nights this year from late May to late Sept. We camped in COE, state and county parks from Wyoming to Pennsylvania, avoiding the popular parks. Always made reservations. Several times the campgrounds were full up but people we saw were respectful and relatively quiet. I suspect the type of behavior in the article was limited to the parks that have always had big crowds. If you are there for the camping and are willing to be flexible there are a lot of great parks out there.
That's true. I camped 22 nights this past summer/fall in various Washington State Parks and never ran into any issues with crowds. In fact, people were less invasive of my space than usual, I assume due to Covid 19. But our big tourist draw on the island, the Deception Pass bridge, brought tons of people there and it was frequently crowded wall to wall.
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Old 12-04-2020, 05:02 PM   #19
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You pose a good set of questions with this one Dave.

I have been noticing this now for the last decade in all sorts of parks. This year, in late May, the camping and recreation scenes went crazy everywhere I looked. Recreation.gov camping was mostly booked by early June. Permits were cancelled. The problem was compounded by Covid distancing at many campgrounds. Moraine Park, in RMNP, only allowed one quarter of the sites to be filled. I have never seen this many people out everywhere I went this year. Crazy. And then the fires. This next year will be more of the same.

We have seen park under funding now for over 4 presidential administrations, we are to the point backlogged maintenance is not getting done. Roads are in disrepair, bathrooms are rendered useless. Even along the Interstate, bathrooms are not being maintained. We simple must fund these sites and programs. We need money. State and federal money.

We do not fund the Forest Service or other park agencies. I never see the big bad rangers any more. You know the ones. They are fully prepared, packing heat and do not take any sh!t. I don't see them except in emergencies, even in national parks now. There is always one per park in the big parks, but there used to be lots more. The monuments are staffed with volunteers now. Even Dinosaur N.M. which only serves class III-IV whitewater, which is highly technical has volunteers only.

There are no education programs, to educate new users, that I have seen. It's basically an under funded free for all. All rangers, tour guides and services are overwhelmed. Not to mention local communities. They were not designed for this. These places are all under staffed and funded and now crowded. And that severely limits what they can do, or how they can react.

We need better management practices at a regional level. We need a clear definition of what you can do where you can do it, and a plan to open up more areas. ATVs are inundating most dirt road passes now in Colorado. The weird thing is campgrounds pay for themselves many times over in short order. We should want to serve these groups, in many different fashions. We need better resources planning and more areas to do it in, with all the exploding new ways of recreating. We need planning. We need more campgrounds. We have the areas.

Recreation is expanding and new ways of recreating are showing up everywhere. There is massive opportunity for our country too. More people will get in shape, take on a healthy lifestyle and recreate more. This fad will eventually fade and the used RV market is going to be special in a few years.

So in short I would;

1. Fund the parks and agencies.
2. Staff with experienced staff and park police.
3. Fix and maintain existing facilities.
4. Plan out and open new areas for different uses.
5. Better integration between agencies like NPS, BLM and NFS.
6. Develop more open recreation areas that are not as developed but maintained for specific uses.
7. Develop better transportation systems in park systems to handle increased visitor load.
8. Develop more educational opportunities and programs.
9. Stop private campground developers when you can, and reinstall the expertise in the Forest Service. Quit farming it out to private companies. Put the Forest Service back in control. That is what we created the agency for anyway.

It would be a start. And thank you for asking.
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Old 12-04-2020, 06:14 PM   #20
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Purchase hunting and fishing license in your state. Doesn’t mean you have to use it. That money goes to fund parks and wildlife.
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