EPDM Coatings
rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Custom Yacht Interiors

Author Topic: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?  (Read 1360 times)

VallAndMo

  • ---
  • Posts: 494
  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« on: October 01, 2017, 02:57:19 PM »
Hello folks,

Just came across this:
http://www.hcn.org/articles/economy-rv-industry-lobbies-to-privatize-more-services-on-public-lands

We're not interested in politics, but we've camped on many US campgrounds both public and private, and we liked the public ones *much* better. We hope that they do not fall victim to that... :-\

Cheers,
--
   Vall & Mo.

JudyJB

  • ---
  • Posts: 948
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2017, 03:34:08 PM »
Some facilities in some national parks are managed by private companies, but they do so under contracts.  They do NOT own the campgrounds and can lose their contracts to other companies.

I think this article is mostly talking about adding campgrounds to a few of the more-heavily visited national parks, not turning over every campground in every national park.

There has also been debate between those who think the national park experience should be primitive with no hookups, mostly focusing on tenters, and those who think there should be campgrounds with more hookups.  There has even been a big debate about allowing cell towers in national parks to improve cell service because some people believe phones and such do not belong in natural areas.

Full-timing for over five years in a
2012 Fleetwood Tioga Ranger 31N

SeilerBird

  • ---
  • Posts: 10952
  • Everything I state is my opinion.
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2017, 03:36:31 PM »
There has even been a big debate about allowing cell towers in national parks to improve cell service because some people believe phones and such do not belong in natural areas.
Those people change their mind when there is an accident and they can't get a signal to call for help.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
My new Pixel camera:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/rMSw5eVkCfKuuEOP2
My portfolio:
https://goo.gl/photos/Cx4SaYhGfYFShSty7
My Grand Canyon shots:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nc1AT8tQp25wJwfm1

MN Blue Skies

  • ---
  • Posts: 1125
  • Favorite saying: "It depends."
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2017, 04:01:03 PM »
Interesting article and discussion.  We will be watching the responses from RV Forum members.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 04:03:49 PM by MN Blue Skies »
A girl called Max, her husband Eric, Princess Kitty, and Molly the Service Dog in training.

2013 Cougar High Country 315 RES ( A 35' 5th Wheel)
"Big Blue" 2012 RAM 3500 Big Horn (Cummins Diesel 1 ton)

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 505
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2017, 05:07:39 PM »
Having visited Yellostone this summer and stayed in 3 campgrounds ran by Xanterra (Grant, Canyon and Fishing Bridge, with fishing bridge being the only full hookup campground), I had no issue with the way they were operated, the campgrounds appeared to be well maintained, the staff that I dealt with were all reasonably pleasant to deal with, though there was a certain bureaucratic paperwork feel with the must read these regulations to you, and get you to agree at each check in.

Now personally I would prefer more full hookup campgrounds, though I am no big fan of the fishing bridge packed in like sardines layout.  I think the real need is for more campgrounds at Yellowstone regardless of type, water and electric with central dump station would be great, if they were more spread out like the no hookup campgrounds, it would also be nice if they had more, smaller campgrounds, the size of some of the ones at yellowstone is absurd with a 5 minute drive from the entrance just to get to ones camping loop.

So I am neither for or against concession operated campgrounds, but if this is a way to provide a service where otherwise none would exist, or where we would have only unmaintained  dilapidated campgrounds I would pick this.  There is a perfect example of a dilapidated campground in a national forest about 60 miles from where I live, 25 or 30 years ago it was a nice lake front campground, now only the boat lunch remains functional, the visitor building is boarded up and falling apart, the dump station is non-functional and overgrown, and the rv sites themselves are being reclaimed by the forest.  I drove by and saw it last year and it was in sad shape, I think camping is still allowed there, but it is now no longer considered an official campground, and I suspect maybe only 1 in 5 of the rv sites is still accessible due to overhanging limbs, etc.

2002 Safari Trek 2830

John From Detroit

  • ---
  • Posts: 19753
  • ^My New Home^
    • Diabetics Forum
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2017, 07:37:32 AM »
Sadly it is politics but many National Park Campgrounds (I'm specifically thinking Grand Canyon) have already been privatized in one way or another.    Either leased to a management comnpany or operated by one... In most all cases... the Management company does NOT do as good a job as the national park service or COE used to do when they ran it.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 60796
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2017, 09:10:16 AM »
As others have stated, they are talking about park operations & management, not actual ownership. However, the trend is to write park management contracts that make the contractors responsible for both maintenance and improvements but allowing them flexibility to set prices and operating rules.  Many (not all) NP users are demanding more and better services that the National Park Service cannot fund or staff, so the practical solution is to make park management contracts attractive to investment by private operators. It's a conundrum, because the park experience inevitably changes once it becomes a for-profit business.

Mt Rushmore is a love/hate example of this.  Many years ago, the NPS gave a long term contract for Rushmore operation to a company with the caveat that they had to build a parking garage to accommodate the many visitors. The company would only accept the contract if they could set the park entry fee and include the parking garage price in it. NPS got the capital investment needed to build the garage and visitors got badly needed parking, but the complaints have been vigorous ever since. The primary one is that the NPS Park passes are not accepted there. Every visitor has to pay the entry fee because that is how the parking garage gets paid for.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 09:18:42 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

catblaster

  • ---
  • Posts: 2162
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2017, 09:15:23 AM »
There has even been a big debate about allowing cell towers in national parks to improve cell service because some people believe phones and such do not belong in natural areas.

make the towers look like trees, Disney knows how to do it. 
Will and Jane
95 Winnebago Luxor

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 60796
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2017, 09:22:29 AM »
I've worked for a private park management company at the Allegheny National Forest, which has been "privatized" for 20+ years now. Yellowstone and Grand Teton campgrounds are also largely operated by contractors and have been for many years. Not many complaints about those.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

NY_Dutch

  • ---
  • Posts: 3437
  • Following the warm weather!
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2017, 09:59:38 AM »
I think a good alternative to contracting with for-profit commercial entities to operate national park facilities is to offer them to related non-profit groups instead. The Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association that operates campgrounds and other facilities mostly located in national forests in three states is a good of example of this kind of partnership.

https://cfaia.org/about-cradle-of-forestry-interpretive-association/
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 60796
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2017, 10:21:37 AM »
I worked for Cradle of Forestry one summer and you are right that non-profit groups are probably more visitor & park-care oriented. However, the NPS and Park Service cannot insist that a contractor be a non-profit - federal law requires that they grant contracts to the low bidder if the bid meets the specs.

Anecdote: The year I worked for Cradle was a major upheaval for them. They and the Forest Service got sued by a for-profit park management service because Cradle did not pay their volunteers to the same federal standards that contracting businesses were required to do. The upshot of it was that Cradle had to start paying everybody per federal wage standards, including benefits , or give up their contracts. No choice - federal law. But that increased their costs and forced them to raise park entry fees and charge for some services.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

JudyJB

  • ---
  • Posts: 948
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2017, 05:46:11 PM »
Catblaster, it is not how the towers look, but whether they should be there at all, because supposedly, we should not be using cell phones and other devices out in pristine nature.  Ruins the atmosphere, etc.

I agree that there is a safety issue without cell towers.  I was once stuck in my RV trying to get out of a parking lot at Yellowstone because people driving in had parked illegally on one side of the entrance road, blocking anyone from exiting.  There was no ranger or emergency phone, and no cell service.  Vehicles trying to get in were blocking those of us trying to get out.  One RV drove over some curbs and over bushes to get out.  I refused to do that, got out of my vehicle, tried to find someone who spoke English, and rounded up a group of helpers.  One lady used her big Suburban to block anyone else from coming in, while two other people got the lineup in the entrance to pull into the full parking lot, so those of us trying to get out could get out.  If there had been a medical emergency, we would have been in serious trouble.  I finally got out and drove to a nearby ranger station and ranted for several minutes until they sent a ranger to clear up the traffic.  I was really mad that an older woman like me should have to be directing traffic!!!   
Full-timing for over five years in a
2012 Fleetwood Tioga Ranger 31N

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 505
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2017, 07:16:44 PM »
My take on the cell tower issue is that no one is making them use their cell phone, if they want to turn it off while hiking in the national park, fine, if they want to leave it back home, or at camp fine, but don't tell the rest of us that we can't.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 60796
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2017, 12:56:21 PM »
Quote
whether they should be there at all, because supposedly, we should not be using cell phones and other devices out in pristine nature.

I know the type.  "If gawd had intended us to use cell phones, he would have included an antenna on our heads."  ;)
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

NY_Dutch

  • ---
  • Posts: 3437
  • Following the warm weather!
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2017, 01:05:38 PM »
I know the type.  "If gawd had intended us to use cell phones, he would have included an antenna on our heads."  ;)

My answer to that is always, "And why are you wearing clothes? You weren't born with them..." :)
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

catblaster

  • ---
  • Posts: 2162
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2017, 07:31:34 PM »
I know the type.  "If gawd had intended us to use cell phones, he would have included an antenna on our heads."  ;)

This reminds me of an All in The Family  episode where the Bunkers ran out of water and Edith got some from the toilet tank.  Archie said that if God had intended for you to drink that water he would have sent it to the kitchen.
Will and Jane
95 Winnebago Luxor

JudyJB

  • ---
  • Posts: 948
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2017, 11:48:53 PM »
I like the clothes response.  I think the cell phone tower complainers are the ones who think we should not be driving big gas-guzzling RVs into national parks and should all be camping in tents. 

I have pointed out to a few younger people at gas stations who have made comments about how much gas my big rig must use that since I do not have a sticks and bricks home, I use only about 80 gallons of propane a year to heat my motorhome and provide hot water and cooking fuel.  In addition, my toilet only uses a couple of cups of water (not gallons) per flush, and I average less than 15 gallons of water usage per day, including showers!!  How much water and energy do they use in their homes?  That usually shuts them up.

Also, I have stayed at Trailer Village at Grand Canyon and been very pleased with their service. It was recently turned over to another company, by the way, and I appreciated the paved sites they put in a couple of years ago.  Nice upgrade.
Full-timing for over five years in a
2012 Fleetwood Tioga Ranger 31N

Free Spirit

  • ---
  • Posts: 56
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2017, 09:16:56 AM »
............................
Anecdote: The year I worked for Cradle was a major upheaval for them. They and the Forest Service got sued by a for-profit park management service because Cradle did not pay their volunteers to the same federal standards that contracting businesses were required to do. The upshot of it was that Cradle had to start paying everybody per federal wage standards, including benefits , or give up their contracts. No choice - federal law. But that increased their costs and forced them to raise park entry fees and charge for some services.

Generally speaking, not-for-profit organizations are not my favorite people. They take advantage of peoples good nature and 'understanding', while those in command collect large salaries. While the Red Cross is very large and not much to compare it to, the thinking is the same - great salaries for Pres and the chosen ones while everything else is donated.
TonyB
Retired and full time living aboard our Denali 293RKS. We plan to start serious cruising around mid-Dec.of 2017
Don't know much about RV"s in general and are still learning. First lesson learned is that dealerships are not responsible for anything and warranties can be used for toilet paper

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 60796
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2017, 12:41:37 PM »
I hear yah, but I wouldn't lump them all into the same category.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

SargeW

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 6376
  • Life is better on the road!
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2017, 01:00:08 PM »
The differences in camping amenities can fall into two different groups (for me). One is the "vacation or weekend camper that wants to get away from all the city madness" and the others are the "I do this months or years at a time" camper and wants all the usual conveniences available. 

The different opinions can be dramatic. 
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
Visit our new travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchickTNG
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!

Badlands Bob

  • ---
  • Posts: 173
  • What could possibly go wrong?
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2017, 10:16:18 PM »
My experience with privatizing campgrounds is limited to Georgia parks.  Jekyll Island and Stone Mountain Parks are both state owned but operated by private companies.  Both are in bad need of maintenance and upgrades.  It seems the private company spends all the money on the resort and the campgrounds are left to deteriorate.  The rest of the Georgia State Park system is pretty good with some better than others.
2015 Ford F-150 5.0
2016 Winnebago 2201 w/Equal-i-zer hitch

NY_Dutch

  • ---
  • Posts: 3437
  • Following the warm weather!
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2017, 07:15:48 AM »
For some reason, we've never stayed at a GA state park before, although we've passed through GA many times. This winter will be our first time with a 5 night stay reserved at Crooked River SP near St Mary's, GA. We drove through it last winter and it looked like a nice enough park, but I'm a little concerned about the open site rather than site specific reservation system. At the time we drove through, it looked like almost every empty site had a name tag on it, with no signs of any occupancy. Curious...
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

mikebreeze

  • ---
  • Posts: 21
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2017, 01:50:27 PM »
I've stayed at campgrounds run by concessionaires and thought they were well run.  One example is Seneca Shadows USFS Campground at Seneca Rocks, WV.  I enjoyed my stay there.  As for cell towers this area is in the 'dead zone' surrounding the Greenbank, WV National Radio Astronomy Observatory.  Nothing works here.  Not even GPS's.  With this exception, I think that cell towers should be allowed in National Parks & Forests for safety reasons.

dave54

  • ---
  • Posts: 178
  • Old guy. Loves being outdoors
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2017, 11:07:46 PM »
We have a mix of campgrounds here -- from concessionaire run full hookups under FS contract to private resorts to primitive FS designated sites to boondocking.  Everyone can choose what level they want.
I never get lost.  I just have unplanned adventures.

NY_Dutch

  • ---
  • Posts: 3437
  • Following the warm weather!
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2017, 09:25:34 AM »
I've stayed at campgrounds run by concessionaires and thought they were well run.  One example is Seneca Shadows USFS Campground at Seneca Rocks, WV.  I enjoyed my stay there.  As for cell towers this area is in the 'dead zone' surrounding the Greenbank, WV National Radio Astronomy Observatory.  Nothing works here.  Not even GPS's.  With this exception, I think that cell towers should be allowed in National Parks & Forests for safety reasons.

That's not quite true for the entire "dead zone"... Electronic devices are only prohibited in an area near the antenna within the GBT campus itself, not the entire 13,000 square mile dead zone that encompasses parts of three states. Permanent transmitter installation license applications, including cell towers, are subject to review within the entire zone though, for compliance with frequency and power limits. GPS signal are transmitted from satellites of course, so there's no practical way to block them, although GPS devices themselves are prohibited along with all other electronic devices within the "core zone" on the GBT campus. Considering that I81 in Virginia runs diagonally right through a large segment of the designated dead zone, that alone makes it impossible to prohibit those devices within the entire zone.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 09:29:19 AM by NY_Dutch »
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

garyb1st

  • ---
  • Posts: 2125
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2017, 11:19:53 AM »
As others have stated, they are talking about park operations & management, not actual ownership.
  Not yet.  But once the foot is in the door.   

Quote
It's a conundrum, because the park experience inevitably changes once it becomes a for-profit business.
  And usually it doesn't change in a way that's positive for campers of modest means.  And after the new management realizes the potential for increasing bottom line $$$$'s they hire MBA's to better manage that bottom line.  And after the MBA's take over, with their new math, 2 + 2 has to equal 5, the cost of RVing is going up.  The only remaining question will be, how high is up? 

Gary B1st

2005 Pace Arrow 35G
2016 Jeep Wrangler

tc tom

  • ---
  • Posts: 168
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2017, 07:47:18 PM »
I agree Gary, it will go, like almost everything else today, toward the $, not about providing a positive camping experience.

Tom

KandT

  • ---
  • Posts: 779
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #27 on: October 22, 2017, 11:19:33 AM »
I am sure it is done with government oversight and control.  Nothing I feel a need to panic or worry about at all.  It is just different - that usually means some things will be better and some things won’t be as good.  I used to think it was either all better or all worse but fortunately that is rarely the case.
2005 Winnebago Vectra
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

garyb1st

  • ---
  • Posts: 2125
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #28 on: October 22, 2017, 07:16:31 PM »
I am sure it is done with government oversight and control.

Ever heard the expression, good enough for Government work.  Twenty two years working in the Corporate Office of a top tier defense contractor and I can assure you, government oversight and control leaves a lot to be desired. 
Gary B1st

2005 Pace Arrow 35G
2016 Jeep Wrangler

KandT

  • ---
  • Posts: 779
Re: US Public campgrounds/parks going to be privatized?
« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2017, 07:37:19 PM »
Ever heard the expression, good enough for Government work.  Twenty two years working in the Corporate Office of a top tier defense contractor and I can assure you, government oversight and control leaves a lot to be desired.




As I age I have decided to wait until I see or hear of a problem with the new system before concern sets in.  There are a lot of skies falling out there and I don't have time anymore to worry about them all - Too busy enjoying life.   8) ;D

Too many people use our national parks to put up with them going to heck.  If a problem pops up it will be solved by people who love to argue.  I let them go to it!
2005 Winnebago Vectra
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

 

Hosted by Over The Network