Crowded Public Lands

Thanks Ski. Sure glad we have done a lot of traveling/camping over our many years.
Got to enjoy a lot of places that today are very crowded.
Will still get out there when we can and visit out NP/NFs.,just have to pick the better time.
Frank
 
Thank goodness there are many out of the way places that most people would not consider driving into. But a person must have an appreciation for raw backcountry, far from well travelled roads and overly hyped disney land like parks. Takes a bit of self reliance and being comfortable when no other people are around. Surprising how many people are uncomfortable when no other vehicles or people are visible. Maybe that is the WTW denizen's secret, eh?

One for instance: We drove along the southern side of Vermillion Cliffs last fall, then turned north on House Rock road. Drove about 4 or 5 miles, found a very nice boondock site. The next day we continued north on the dirt track, seeing no one for hours, but passing dozens of interesting places to explore and boondock. But as we got closer to The Wave trailhead we suddenly came upon dozens of vehicles and who knows how many people. It was heavily used until we hit the pavement again and drove to Kanab. People are generally social creatures, it seems. They love to flock. I guess my wife and I are somewhat lacking in that department. Give us the empty lands anytime.
 
That comfort level being alone may have a lot to do with it. My brother and I took the dogs out of town to avoid the fourth and camped near Ice House Reservoir. My brother commented to me "don't you get nervous being out by yourself"? I think there is something different about us and being comfortable by ourselves (or as near as you can nowadays).
 
craig333 said:
That comfort level being alone may have a lot to do with it. My brother and I took the dogs out of town to avoid the fourth and camped near Ice House Reservoir. My brother commented to me "don't you get nervous being out by yourself"? I think there is something different about us and being comfortable by ourselves (or as near as you can nowadays).
Well Craig, as a fellow Sactown local, I'd be hard pressed to consider anything near Ice House Reservoir to be "out by yourself."
:rolleyes:
I'd guess that you may have been, per your brother, by your lonesomes but it likely was not more than two or three miles to pavement and a steady stream of traffic. :)
I find that people that get nervous for us alone in the outdoors have maybe seen too many horror films and often think in terms of "what if some psycho with a machete came upon you????"
 
Thank goodness for "Psychos With Machetes" for the peace and quiet we experience in the deep boondocks. What a strange world we live in!
 
daverave said:
Well Craig, as a fellow Sactown local, I'd be hard pressed to consider anything near Ice House Reservoir to be "out by yourself."
:rolleyes:
I'd guess that you may have been, per your brother, by your lonesomes but it likely was not more than two or three miles to pavement and a steady stream of traffic. :)
I find that people that get nervous for us alone in the outdoors have maybe seen too many horror films and often think in terms of "what if some psycho with a machete came upon you????"
Definitely agree. Not a place I would normally go for camping, Just a quiet place for a few hours.
 
What would be great is if we invest in more land set aside for us to enjoy ..... there are many people who want and desperately need to experience being out in nature. It is a boon economically to the area as well in the long run.
 

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an change the rule to 14days of occupied use! saw hundreds if not thousands of trailers dropped off in backcountry spots on are 2 month trip in the n.w.an not one was in use!!!
 
Yes I talked with a lady ranger in Sheridan wy, an they do have a ranger shortage however she stated that it is a loop hole in the 14 day rule that people are using/ abusing...
 
We spent the first two nights of October in the Mesa Verde NP campground which is managed by Aramark for the NPS. The first day was marked by a panic by folks in most of the campground as Aramark reduced the available campsites from over 300 to about 50 overnight because camping season traditionally used to be over about then. The quite valid rationale was that stuff needed to be cleaned and winterized so that staff could head back home or to their next gig but it could have been handled so much better.

I suppose campers were warned in advance but we just happened to show up on that day, were completely unaware and were not informed at the entrance station. Quite the CF as the remaining loop that remained open was clearly marked for tent camping only but all manner of motorhomes pulling trailers gummed up the loop for several hours trying to squeeze their rigs into spaces that were clearly not meant for it. Once that settled down additional vehicles of all sizes, some with trailers, spent the rest of the day and night trolling through the campground trying to find an empty spot. Some likely camped illegally. Incredibly, thoughtfully, and thankfully, no one ran a generator that we could hear.

The entrance station is several miles and many vertical feet from the campground and they were still letting folks try to find a spot where there was none. Instead of informing people at the entrance station that the CG was full or posting a sign to that effect, the park rangers created a tense situation that served no one including those of us that were lucky enough to get a campsite. When we complained to a couple of rangers the day we left, they simply rolled their eyes and told us to take it up with the concessionaire.

As I'm sure most of you know, campgrounds on the federal, state and local level have not adjusted to the new realities of campground camping post-pandemic. The sites were never designed to handle motorhomes let alone motorhomes with huge toy haulers. Furthermore there is no "off-season" anymore since tent camping seems like a relic from the last century and a motorhome is comfortable in any weather. I swear every fourth vehicle we passed on the highway across this great country was an RV of some sort. It will take a tremendous investment in public lands infrastructure to meet this new and different demand but when have public lands ever had their pressing needs addressed? I don't see even $6/gal gas impacting the new paradigm.... when you've got a quarter million dollar motorhome pulling $150,000 in toys the price of gas seems pretty inconsequential.

All that being said, I have to acknowledge that, yes, we are part of the problem. Stupid baby boomers living out their retirement dreams... oh wait, that's me ;-|
 
Hi Daverave

Met you folks in WV.

We traveled on up through PA and NY then back west to home in OR.

I hear the pain because of crowding in the outdoors....but have no solutions.

Nice meeting you.

David Graves
 
Ha! I went looking for a David Graham on WTW after we met and needless to say there isn't one. I guess I misunderstood you due to the roar of Sandstone Falls ;-)
Thanks for clearing that up for me. Nice meeting you as well.
 
We spent 3 weeks in southern Idaho, eastern Nevada and southern Utah. Never had an issue with overloaded campgrounds. There were several times we were one of only a very few people in a campground. Only Cathedral Gorge NV filled up, but we knew the score and found likely the best (for us) site in the campground just off the 'overflow camping' area. Much of the time was in the boonies, but also in established campgrounds. Hovenweep was nearly empty when we got there early afternoon.

Upper Butler wash:
 

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AWG_Pics said:
We spent 3 weeks in southern Idaho, eastern Nevada and southern Utah. Never had an issue with overloaded campgrounds.
I'm not refuting your experience AWG but I assume, other than at Cathedral Gorge, you did not attempt to camp at any of the more popular locations such as Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, or Kodachrome Basin. I would expect National Forest and BLM campgrounds to be relatively empty in the fall. Nice shot from Butler Wash BTW.

Because of vehicle issues we were forced to seek campground sites daily at places when/where we would normally be boondocking so we had our eyes opened to the new campground realities. Glad your trip was not as impacted as ours was. For example it was impossible to find a campsite at Great Sand Dunes at a time of year when I would have expected, pre-pandemic, to be able to find at least one. We avoided southern Utah because we were not in the mood to compete for campground camping. In the past it was easy to show up at even popular campgrounds in the fall and snag a spot. We managed to get a spot in Valley of Fire because it is FCFS and we know how to game it but all 72 campsites there were taken before noon and there was a steady stream of site-seeking traffic the rest of the afternoon and early evening until the park closed.
 
We live near Yellowstone and the sheer volume of people camping, whether in campgrounds or dispersed camping, dropped noticeable about the 3rd week of August when kids started back to school. Some of the FCFS campgrounds in the park did not fill up at all since that time.

We got back a week ago from a 3 week trip around Washington. We had no trouble finding campsites whether in a National Park Campground, National Forest Campground, or dispersed camping. We stayed a week in North Cascades, a week in Olympic National Park, and several days working our way up the Columbia River Gorge.
 
daverave said:
We managed to get a spot in Valley of Fire because it is FCFS and we know how to game it but all 72 campsites there were taken before noon and there was a steady stream of site-seeking traffic the rest of the afternoon and early evening until the park closed.
Had a similar experience at Goblin Valley SP. And yes, we did get there before noon.

But we mostly boondocked or went with BLM/USFS campgrounds. Generally we will avoid popular places in the summer. There is a lot of public land with beautiful locations out there - if you have the time to travel when kids are at school and avoid weekends. Hopefully your vehicle issues are short term.
 

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