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Old 06-11-2014, 03:50 PM   #1
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Default More efficient campsite checkin?

Ya just gotta love progress!

A couple of days ago we got to Lake Louise State Park in South Dakota for an overnight while going further west. Small park,during the week, so no attendant was no surprise. A sign on the entry board says you need to get your site by going on the internet to campsd (3rd party reservation handlers), or by calling them. Only phone if you didn't have coverage was a payphone at the entrance. No reserved tags on any posts, or occupied tags on sites in use, so no idea what was open. We had a good internet connection,so we were able to go that way,being able to see what was available etc, but if you were on the payphone , you wouldn't know what was available until you called and were far from the sites.

So the bottom line was that we got the privilege of paying a $7.70 reservation fee to reserve a site that we were already sitting in, for that day, and spending lots of time to do it. Plus no site tag, so if you left for a while, nobody would know the site was occupied. There were lots signs hanging in the bathrooms about being sure to register by phone or internet, or you could get booted from your site.

When we went for a walk around the park, we saw the old self register box that has always worked fine for us (used one here in Devils Tower yesterday). They need to go back to it.

It seems to be system designed by an out of touch cost cutter, who figures everyone should be happy to pay more, and waste time, to make him look good. Obviously, whoever set it up never used it to see how it worked.
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:32 PM   #2
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Default Re: More efficient campsite checkin?

Bummer. Hope the rest of your trip is going much better.

Regards, Dick
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: More efficient campsite checkin?

I'm a high-tech nerd, but it seems that an electronic system that required the park to install Internet access would cost a whole lot more than a self-register box with paper site tags. They'd have to run the equipment 24/7 and they'd have to pay someone to design, develop and maintain the system. Electricity, custom software, wi-fi antennas and computer programmers aren't cheap. It's another case of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
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Old 06-11-2014, 07:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: More efficient campsite checkin?

Sounds like a system where they will get screwed out of their fees most of the time. Only people who could get caught not paying are those that stay multiple days.

Only a theory though, as I'd never do such a terrible thing
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: More efficient campsite checkin?

Pay by phone or an app on a smartphone is growing. The city of Galveston, TX has removed parking meters and now has you use an app for paying by credit card for parking on its streets. The 8 mile long sea wall parking is that way and I didn't see any enforcement going on unless they were doing it with cameras. I'm guessing it is more an honor system. Galveston can't really lose. The parking was free a year ago so any money will pay for the signs in a week.
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Old 06-12-2014, 01:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: More efficient campsite checkin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dicktill
Bummer. Hope the rest of your trip is going much better.

Regards, Dick

Really a minor glitch in the big picture, but sure is one of those "what were they thinking?" moments.

With all the security leaks we have seen lately, it really doesn't seem like a good idea to be having your payment info going to everywhere, for every little thing.
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: More efficient campsite checkin?

Since we don't own smartphones or have internet access in our van we would have probably left and looked for somewhere else to camp. I don't know if I am ready to move up in the world yet, I seem to be pretty happy in the "old" world, but heck that change in a moment. Have a good trip Booster.
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Old 06-12-2014, 03:50 AM   #8
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Default Re: More efficient campsite checkin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AK49er
Since we don't own smartphones or have internet access in our van we would have probably left and looked for somewhere else to camp. I don't know if I am ready to move up in the world yet, I seem to be pretty happy in the "old" world, but heck that change in a moment. Have a good trip Booster.
Nah, I would have just stayed and if someone questioned me I would say no phone, what can I do? We stayed in a state park in Indiana this spring. We got there late and the instructions were to pay at the office in the morning. There was no self pay station. First, there was no instruction as to where the office was. After we figured it out we went to the office and the person there did not know what to do with our payment. We could have left easily without paying but we foisted the money at her and said you figure it out. I imagine others might have camped free in the same situation. For all we know she may have pocketed the money.
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:59 AM   #9
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Default Re: More efficient campsite checkin?

I had a nice talk last summer with a camp host at a state park. This park is actually "run" and maintained by the host and in return they get a free campsite & utilities.

They were grumbling that they collect all this money (I was surprised at how much it really was) and they can't get any funds to improve or maintain the park. They only see a ranger once a week who only seems to care that they are collecting the money.

I thought the park was nice - at least it was neat, but I'm sure everything was fairly old. If things are built to last in the first place, being old isn't a problem. But eventually, sidewalks and curbs get broken, roads get potholes, picnic tables rot, etc. I don't really know what they'd do if a tree came down. Guess everyone would have to just work around it until the bureaucracy could deal with it.
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:47 PM   #10
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Default Re: More efficient campsite checkin?

I stayed in a National Forest campground that was just what I wanted. I was looking for tall trees, quiet, maybe a babbling brook. I carefully drove down 8 miles of dirt road to get there. It was everything that I wanted and was completely empty. I chose a campsite and went looking for the self-pay station.

The pay box was covered over and there was a sign saying that after I choose my campsite, I should drive to the administrative offices for the National Forest to register and pay. It gave an address. According to my nav system, the office was a 34 mile drive from the campsite.

I just put the fee in an envelope on the windshield and decided to pay the next day as I drove past the office. I wasn't going to drive 70 miles to register in an empty, out of the way, campground well off the beaten path.
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