Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, March 28, 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.
    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 28, 2020

FULL ALERT: These days we are seeing many news postings about  “RV parking.” Look further. This may mean day parking only or temporary dry overnight camping in a public parking lot for the homeless.

GEORGIA AG CENTER HAS RV PARKING
The Bulloch County Agricultural Complex in Statesboro is not only RV friendly, it has recently added Wi-Fi in the RV parking area for county residents who don’t have Wi-Fi at home but must work and home-school during this crisis. The RV lot has showers, bathrooms and 54 sites with hookups. Call 912-871-7265.

LOUISIANA CAMPGROUND STORY UNFOLDING
Still announcing that it will “open in 2020,” Fireside RV Resort in Ponchatoula is On Hold but bears watching for developments. As of press time I found the website (full of information) and listed phone non-responsive. The resort advertises 163 RV sites, some pull-thru and some double or triple wide. Plans are for children’s and adult swimming pools, swim-up bar, kayak rentals, a stocked fish pond, playground, cabin rentals and more for RV travelers and snowbirds.

MINNESOTA CELEBRATES SWEDISH IMMIGRANTS
It’s the Year of the Dala Horse at the Gammelgarden Immigrant Heritage Museum in Scandia, an hour north of the Twin Cities. When this outdoor museum opens this summer it will have a schedule of events, a regular farm market and sunny days outdoors where parents can introduce children to their Swedish farm heritage. Camping is nearby at William O’Brien State Park, which has more than 70 sites with electric hookup  along the banks of the St. Croix River. Hike trails through rolling hills. Fish for northerns, walleye, bass and trout. Canoe the river, which is also a flyway offering superb bird watching. Get museum information later from info (at) gammelgardenmuseum.org

ONTARIO CAMPGROUNDS OPEN EARLY
Already open for the season is the pet-friendly Willow Lake Campground, Woodstock, which opened a month earlier than usual to accommodate returning Canadian snowbirds. Upcoming events at the family-owned campground include Mother’s Day Weekend, May 10, and Victoria Day Weekend, May 16. Call  519-537-7301. Also opening early is the Saugeen Springs RV Park near Hanover. Look for other RV parks throughout Canada to follow suit.

OREGON KOA HAS NEW DIRECTION
The new owner of the Redmond/Central Oregon KOA plans improvements including 50-amp power to all sites. Wi-Fi will be improved, bathrooms remodeled and new fire pits will have grates.

WASHINGTON WATERSHED FESTIVAL IN JULY
Unless further news announces a cancellation, the Watershed Music Festival at the Gorge at George is still on for July 31-August 2. Some RV camping packages are still available online at watershedfest.com. Headliners at this highly rated music event include Keith Urban, Ashley McBryde, Blanco Brown and dozens more to fill three days with music.

WYOMING TO TAX CAMPGROUND STAYS
In 2021,  Wyoming will begin collecting a new 5% tax on overnight stays at campgrounds. In other states called a tourist tax or bed tax, the tax is often assessed by the state, county and some cities. In Wyoming the tax will go to state and county tourism promotion efforts. With existing and proposed taxes by state, county and city, the total lodging tax in the state may be as high as 12%. Cheyenne Frontier Days will be held July 17-26.

Stay Tuned

Public lands within the Lake Babine Nation, one of the largest aboriginal land holdings in British Columbia, are gradually being transferred to tribal control. It will be several years before projects are complete in the 13 parcels, but RV travelers will find improved parking, fishing ramps and other facilities. The Lake Babine Lodge is already scheduled to open.

PLAY FAIR (STATE FAIR, THAT IS)
We will travel again, but now is a good time to play fair by staying scarce and starting a bucket list for later when the world welcomes travel again. Looking  ahead to October, state fairs will be held in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Massachusetts. It’s a good bet many of these fairgrounds also offer RV camping and they all put on a whale of a show with music, midway, great food and agricultural displays.
It’s too soon to talk about earlier dates, but as the coronavirus winds down and the state fair season spools up, look for your state to have its state fair right on schedule. Also on the calendar will be county fairs, which are often held at fairgrounds that offer camping. State fairs are held almost every day of the month, so be on the watch for earlier fairs too as the travel season progresses.

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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Diane Mc
3 months ago

Not the first state doing this. Nevada is one, Reno area, $40 spot at RV park at Hotel/Casino totaled $70+. They added the hotel “bed tax” to RV parks. Last time I checked, I bring my own bed. Won’t be staying there again.

Tommy Molnar
3 months ago

“In Wyoming, the tax will go to state and county tourism promotion efforts.”

Nothing promotes tourism better than raising taxes on tourists . . .