Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, March 21, 2020

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The latest news about camping and developments in North American campgrounds and RV parks from Janet Groene.

DISCLAIMER: This blog is for late-breaking news for RV travelers but it’s impossible to keep up with the rapidly changing closures, reopenings and events that are changed or canceled. Some state parks are closed to all camping and events. Others remain open for camping but not events. Some closures/cancellations are for two weeks, some for two months, some permanently until further notice. The Kentucky Derby will be run in September!
    If you have camping reservations call to cancel and make new ones and/or check on refund policies, which vary.  
    We will all be traveling again soon. For now it’s important to check ahead directly with the campground. This column’s focus for now is on RV travel for later this summer and into the fall. Conditions can change quickly. No endorsement of any campground or product is implied by this reporter nor this website.

DATELINE: March 21, 2020

FLORIDA STATE PARKS OPEN FOR GEOCACHING
The ultimate social distancing, outdoor family sport is geocaching. Florida’s Operation Recreation GeoTour, hosted by Geocaching.com, stretches from Pensacola to Key West and includes 71 Florida State Parks and Trails. Go to stateparks.org. to get started with the money-saving, one year, unlimited state park entry. Kids on board? Check out the Operation Recreation Kids GeoTour. For information on geocaching in other states go to geocaching.com .

INDIANA CAMPGROUND MAKES A SPLASH
Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort in Santa Claus has $2 million in new facilities including a water playground, water park and furnished cabanas. The pet policy now extends to some cabins including one wheelchair-accessible cabin. A pet fee may apply to rental RV and cabins. The pet park is filled with structures to make playtime more interesting. Also new are golf cart rentals. As of press time the season opening date is May 1, but call ahead for current information. Call too for information about dates for this campground’s famous summer job fair.

OHIO CELEBRATES THE CULTURE OF INDIA
This is the third year for the popular India Festival to be held in September in Columbus, where the Ohio Expo Center has two campgrounds available for most events from April 1 to November 1. See, taste, hear while learning about the nation’s cuisine, fashions, health care, visual and performing arts, cosmetic tips, jewelry and much more. Admission will be $15.   Depending on the event, reservations may be available or camping may be on a first-come basis. For camping information call  866-510-9838.

THESE OKLAHOMA CAMPGROUNDS NOW ON AUTOPILOT
The Eufaula Lake campgrounds near Tulsa are now self-service areas. Class A area campsites can all be reserved online through recreation.gov. Each site will also have a QR code, which can be scanned using a smart device.
Areas now accepting reservations are:
• Belle Starr
• Brooken Cove
• Highway 9 Landing
• Gentry Creek
• Porum Landing
• Ladybird Landing
• All Kerr Parks

Class C parks on Eufaula Elm Point, Mill Creek, Oak Ridge, and Dam Site E are first-come, first-served. Pay for any open spot using pay.gov via QR codes on the site. Reservations are not available for these sites. Payments for all day-use areas such as boat ramps and swim beaches will be through pay.gov. The pay.gov site will accept electronic transfers from bank accounts, credit card payments, Amazon Pay, and PayPal. Those who hold an annual pass will still be issued a hang-tag for their vehicles. Honor vaults will no longer be used. The only cash accepted will be by gate attendants when they are on duty.

NEW MEXICO CAMPGROUNDS CLOSED
Due to New Mexico officials banning public gatherings in response to the coronavirus, the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) has closed its state parks to  overnight camping. Visitors with overnight camping reservations will be issued a full refund. (877) 478-3657.

PENNSYLVANIA OPEN FOR MUD SALES
Summer and early fall are a wonderful time for RV travelers to meander Lancaster County, where among the most unique things to do are Mud Sales. Because little communities throughout Amish country are served by volunteer fire departments, these sales of folk goods and smorgasboard meals are fundraisers for the cause.
Here are some dates to put on your to-do list.
August 7 – 8 – Gap Relief Auction; Benefits Mennonite Central Committee, Solanco Fairgrounds, 172 S. Lime Street, Quarryville, PA 17566; August 15 – 16 – Intercourse Fire Company Consignment Auction, Intercourse Fire Company, 10 North Hollander Road, Intercourse, PA 17534, 717-768-3402; August 22 – Bareville Fire Company Consignment Auction, Bareville Volunteer Fire Company, 211 East Main Street, Leola, PA 17540, 717-656-7554; September 19 – Gordonville Fall Sale & Auction, Gordonville Fire Co., Old Leacock Road, Gordonville, PA 17566, 717-768-3869; October 24 – Cochranville Fire Company Mud Sale, Cochranville Volunteer Fire Company, 3135 Limestone Road, Cochranville, PA 19330, 610-593-5800.

TENNESSEE STILL HAS TVA CAMPING
While the situation is in flux depending on the pandemic, TVA seasonal parks will again be offered in 80 areas. They include camping at dam sites such as:
Cherokee Dam – Cherokee Reservoir in Jefferson City
Douglas Dam Headwater and Douglas Dam Tailwater at Douglas Reservoir near Sevierville
Melton Hill Dam – Melton Hill Reservoir near Lenoir City
Watauga Dam  – Watauga Reservoir near Elizabethton

TVA says the Pickwick Dam Reservation Campground near Savannah, Tennessee, was severely impacted by recent flooding and is currently closed. Contact the Public Lands Information Center at plic@tva.gov or 1-800-882-5263. The Authority asks that visitors bring in only firewood cut within the same county where it will be used.

Stay Tuned
Keep your fingers crossed that this project continues to proceed. In Eustis, Florida, 71.4 acres have been approved for a proposed five-screen, drive-in movie theater with RV parking and camping. It will be called Lighthouse 5. It’s too soon to project an opening date.

Janet Groene is the author of more than 25 books including Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, available at Amazon.com. Her brand-new book, “March Malice, a Yacht Yenta Mystery,” is available at Amazon.com. See Janet Groene’s weekly Solo Woman posts at SoloWomanRV.

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