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Old 06-23-2022, 12:42 PM   #1
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Default Camping trends seem back closer to normal again

At least where we went for the last two weeks, which was Custer State Park in the the Black Hills of South Dakota.


We take this same spring trip nearly every year, so have seen the trends in camper types and sizes as well as how busy the park is.


Last year was nuts there with way more campers, lots of inexperienced campers who were very ill behaved, larger trailers and RVs, and a much more hectic vibe than we had ever seen in the small, out of the way campground we always stay in. Historically is was minivans and popups and then drifted to small SUVs and small hard side campers in the relatively small sites. Last year they were trying to stuff 40' fifth wheels in the small sites even.


This year, all the sizes were back to what they were to years ago with the only change being more class Bs in the mix. Again it was quieter, more experienced, well behaved campers.



What gave us total shock was that the 25 site campground had at least two empty sites every night of the 14 days we were there. In the past there were rarely even any sites open. The amount of total people in the park also seemed to be way down compared to the past. The Sylvan Lake area where we go to hike would traditionally have full parking lots by 9-10am every day and this year when we left at 11am there were some spots left.


It appears the many of the "Covid campers" stayed home, maybe due to gas prices or maybe due to just moving on to the next trendy thing. Whatever it is we were happy to see it happen.


Anybody else seeing this kind of trend where they have gone lately?
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Old 06-23-2022, 01:25 PM   #2
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in general we find that as State Parks move to contracted reservation system vendors, sometimes with required minimum nights ( want Friday and Saturday?, have to buy Thursday...or work check out time so if you want to have lunch Sunday, you have to buy Sunday night too)

speculative reservations are made, and then abandoned

some are made by individuals, who remembered they had something else to do

some seem to be made by "scalpers" who will sell that reservation as part of a "package" ( glamping, yurt, preset tent/trailer etc. - we saw a number of these with a QR code for trailer unlock and reservation instructions)

Host at park in MO was telling us they have a great number of no-shows for paid for sites- we stayed there 3 weeks ago and about 10 sites were occupied, 6 vacant
6 or 8 paid for no shows

campers are being taught to stay away unless they have a reservation in hand

it's a changing dynamic in availability, and the response by public


mike


* it's amazing how many State or Provincial reservation systems or contracted entities just don't work if you are trying to use a phone with marginal bandwidth while traveling


** we calculate that we can probably "get a spot" while overnighting Sun~Thurs and try to calculate a visit with some or a walmart overnight for the week-ends
Last Summer on Oregon Coast the SP's had moved to 100% reservations using a vendor ( previously they held a % off the then in-house reservation system) and we were often able to get "no-show" when released in the afternoon. weekends at casino or boondock.
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Old 06-23-2022, 03:49 PM   #3
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The reservation systems certainly do have an effect on the empty sites, but Custer has been reservations only for most of the park for over 10 years and they always had enough people ask for sites as drive ins to fill the cancellations, it appeared. Only sites that were paid for and not used were empty and almost never happened because there was very little penalty for late cancellations.



South Dakota does have a new reservation system now that is really, really crappy and hard to use so checking on an individual park or campground opening is much harder than it used to be. If people can't easily check and find open sites, the probably just move on.
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Old 06-25-2022, 01:27 AM   #4
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This appears to be the case here in FL this year. Or it could be the temps here are approaching the surface of the sun. Either way, It was easy to get an unplanned SP reservation one day away.

I should shut up and not screw that up.

Did I mention the temps here are approaching the surface of the sun?

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Old 06-30-2022, 08:55 PM   #5
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We just returned from a two night stay at a campground on Anderson Mesa south of Flagstaff. Both nights there only four of us in a 25-site campground, an old Class A, our Class B, a home-made trailer and a tenter; it was very quiet and peaceful!
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Old 07-01-2022, 01:51 AM   #6
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We are in Central Colorado and wondering where the people are.
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Old 07-01-2022, 02:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsNomer View Post
We are in Central Colorado and wondering where the people are.
decided to not drain their budgets in gas stations.
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Old 07-01-2022, 12:28 PM   #8
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decided to not drain their budgets in gas stations.
Met owner of class A about 2 weeks ago. He told me his rig gets 8mpg. Tank holds 120 gallons. Runs on diesel. So a fill up is almost 1 grand! He says he cannot bare to pay that much so he only purchases 50-60 gallons per fill up.

Fuel prices always affect the economy. RV prices tend to go down whenever fuel prices go up.

Heck, I am camping closer to home. Will only drive 1-3 hours to local venues.
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Old 07-01-2022, 12:47 PM   #9
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Default No shows stay empty

With the reservation system in place now camp hosts cannot let someone in a site unless it has been canceled. No shows without cancelations stay empty.
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Old 07-01-2022, 07:07 PM   #10
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Jim, I'm glad you enjoyed a peaceful outing to Coconino National Forest, probably Ashurst Campground. Those campgrounds don't usually fill up on weekdays. From a retired Coconino NF officer. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coco...a/?recid=54948
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Old 07-03-2022, 02:17 AM   #11
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We are in Central Colorado and wondering where the people are.
I'm over south of Montrose. Heading to Twin Lakes south of Leadville on about the 11th for a couple of weeks there.

Will have various relation coming and going in that time frame. A brother from MN, Son and DIL from WA, granddaughter from Boulder. So, some folks are traveling. Tick tock, baby.

Plan on hanging in CO through July, a bit of time in northern NM before heading out in early/mid August. I've been out since 22May.
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Old 07-03-2022, 01:27 PM   #12
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For anyone in or coming to Colorado good news for the construction on US Hwy 50 between Montrose and Gunnison. Starting next week there will be alternating single lane traffic during the daylight hours through the construction area. Still closed at night during the week.
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Old 07-05-2022, 10:14 PM   #13
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We spent the holiday weekend at Marshall Pass. Neighbors were moose, deer, snowshoe rabbits, chipmunks and cows. This morning, we drove 15 miles (an hour) before we saw another vehicle. Nice hikes north and south along the CDT/CT, where we met a few hikers and bikers.

We are now near Leadville contemplating Mt. Massive this weekend.
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