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Top 10 complaints RV park managers have about campers

By Nanci Dixon
In last week’s issue, I told you about the top 5 complaints campers voice at the RV park office. This week I thought it would only be fair to write about the top ten complaints RV parks have about campers. Now you’re in the hot seat! The office staff were a vocal group, hence 10 this time instead of 5! My husband and I are park hosts and deal with a lot of these issues, so I can verify that these points are all valid.

1. Loud parties and gatherings

This is the number one complaint of the campers to the office too. Some groups have no idea how loud they have become and quiet down immediately when asked. Others can get hostile, lower the sound a decibel or two when told and then resume immediately when the host or park official leaves.

dog poop sign at rv park
At an RV park in Tucson.

2. Dog poop

Again, dogs can be a problem for campers and park staff. While campers complained more about barking dogs and dogs off-leash, dog poop is a problem for the park staff that needs to pick it up or has inadvertently stepped in it while taking care of a campsite, trail or walkway. Note to dog owners: Please pick up after your pooch. 

3. Dogs off-leash

Looks like we’re seeing similar complaints, aren’t we? Dogs off-leash was a concern for the campers last week too. Campers can go to the office to let staff know, but it is the park staff that needs to approach the people to have them leash or tie up their sometimes very unfriendly, territorial dog. It’s not a fun task!

4. Non-burnable trash in the fire pit

Burning plastic? You can always tell by the acrid smoke and smell. The staff that clean out the fire pits and grills know that plastics do melt but seldom burn completely, that aluminum cans don’t melt, and that bottles don’t burn (and can even explode). And you’d think campers would know to not throw rocks in the fire pit… but that happens more often than you probably think.

5. Trash left on-site

The next complaint is the amount of garbage that is left on the site. There are dumpsters all over the park for garbage. The hard-working staff just wishes more people would use them!

6. Parking on the grass

Cars, trailers, trucks driving over grass leave deep ruts and kill the grass. Some parks have sprinkler equipment in their landscaping that is harmed when driven over. Even in the desert, where the hard-packed desert may look barren, fragile struggling plants or topsoil that took decades to build can be destroyed.

7. Not checking out on time

Overstaying the checkout time usually leaves two sets of campers upset. There are those that don’t read the checkout times and those that intentionally stay too long. Either way, slowly packing up while someone is waiting causes a domino effect of unhappy campers and staff waiting to clean the site. Please know your checkout time, and leave on time.

8. Setting up camp at the wrong site

Just like some campers don’t know the campground’s checkout time, some don’t know their own site number either. Setting up camp on the wrong site is a major hassle for the campers that already set up, and a hassle for those people that are actually assigned to that site. Most people are apologetic when they are on the wrong site and hasten to pack everything up and move.

9. Stealth camping

One of our jobs is to double-check that everyone in the park has a reservation, particularly now when campers are registering online and going directly to their site. As the weekend warriors clear out, more stealth campers come in late and leave early before the office opens.

10. Staying an extra day

Staying an extra day or two without paying is also a form of stealth camping. This usually involves campers that have paid and registered, then try and stay an extra day without paying or registering again. This happens more often as the weekenders leave and toward the end of the season. I am always very polite when I let them know that they are not on the park list and that I am just taking down their RV and car license number so the office can expect them when they go to pay in the morning…

Have any of you worked as park hosts or in the office? If so, what are some of your biggest complaints about campers?

If you missed it, be sure to read the top 5 complaints of other campers too, that we published last week.

Related:
Dealing with a nosy campground neighbor
Boondocking gone badly wrong!

##RVT969

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Suru
4 months ago

In years past almost every time I camped at a state or national park I saw stealth campers sneak in. I don’t see it so much anymore because the campgrounds are so full. Still, that’s just rude. And how can you “accidentally” camp in the wrong site? Every campground I’ve ever been to are clearly numbered. I think people do that on purpose hoping the other campers will take another site and they will get to stay in the better site.. Again, that’s just very rude.

SUSAN MCCOOL
4 months ago

My husband and I have camp-hosted in multiple national & state parks over the past couple of decades. For the most part we have truly enjoyed the campers we’ve met. We consider part of our job to teach newbies how to camp (getting quite a workout on that lately – lots of newbies), so we enjoy those kinds of interactions. Our biggest complaint would be about selfish attitudes. You are joining a temporary neighborhood; you should be a good neighbor.

Problems arise most frequently when there is a mismatch between a camper’s expectation for a campground and its reality: a person who wants solitude should be boondocking instead of coming to a multi-site campground; a group that wants to party hearty should be renting a group site away from the main camp; parents hosting junior’s birthday party featuring confetti & fireworks should consider a non-park picnic pavilion. Doing a bit of research before going would avoid this.

Jesse Crouse
4 months ago

Staying an extra day without paying sounds like STEALING to me. Should be held account-able.

Tom Piper
4 months ago

I think a “security deposit” of $100, pending rules violations would be appropriate. Post the rules and deposit information on the website plus give them a large, bold print list at check-in. Make sure they read it. Noise issues can rate 1 warning, then on 2nd notice, ask them to leave. I have workamped and had to clean many firepits with egg shells, cans, aluminum foil, etc. Not fun.

Dave
4 months ago

How about people being filthy in campground bathrooms? I’m amazed at how people leave dirty sinks and stuff on toilet floors. I just left a toilet that looked like a horse was there last.

Jesse Crouse
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave

One of my jobs in college was cleaning rest rooms. The women were worse than the men.

Irvin Kanode
4 months ago

People go RVing for many different reasons–not ONLY for the reason you go RVing!

Some go for a communal experience, some to get away from city crowds; some are just stopping for the night; some are there to party, some for quiet enjoyment of nature; some to work remotely, some to play; some to have a big campfire, some are bothered by the smoke, some to let their kids run wild; some stay in the campground their entire stay, some only sleep there and use it as a base to explore the area; some to escape the city, some to explore a nearby city; some love dogs, some wish to avoid them; some think they’re camping, some are avoiding motels.

Please don’t assume that everyone else is like you. Whatever your reason for camping, try to minimize your impact on everyone else.

Pink Bianchi
8 months ago

Rocks in the fire pit? Of course! They are useful for elevating and positioning logs and creating better air flow as the fire burns. Hadn’t ever considered them a problem, and still don’t, so baffled by this concern.

Rebecca Whitney
4 months ago
Reply to  Pink Bianchi

They can explode!
Also have to be removed by clean up people. Rocks may not be a good thing where fire pit ashes are dumped

Tom Piper
4 months ago
Reply to  Pink Bianchi

Good point but if they are industrious enough to put the rocks into the firepit, they can take a couple minutes to remove them. As has been said, leave the site like you found it.

Serenity
1 year ago

I was a camp host for 2 months. No law enforcement ranger on staff. I tried to get the rangers to evict a class c that smelled like a meth lab and whose occupants were already stirring up trouble to test what they could get away with. After about a week of putting up with them myself and complaints from neighbors (in the middle of the night) an incident requiring 911 assistance started and I was the only staff available. I did what I could to deescalate the situation while waiting an hour for the state police (I do not carry firearms) to arrive. Then they left the guy there for me to babysit and arrested the women. The guy was still acting up when they left and again scared the neighbors in the night (snuck out of his trailer). The troopers brought the women back in the morning but didn’t fulfill their promise to evict them because they had another more urgent call. Another station sent a ranger oblivious to the situation. Someone could have died because no one took the matter serious.

Donald N Wright
1 year ago

Red Pepper around the RV to keep dogs away ? Thank you for the idea.

Cecilia
1 year ago

I know?? Unbelievable. Glad you tell them to leave. The last few campgrounds we were in, we were shocked when people started arriving two to three hours before check-in. I said to my husband, I thought check-in wasn’t until 3:00, how are all these people coming in here? We didn’t even know that was allowed. BTW, Andy, we have stayed at your campground three times and love it.

arlene
1 year ago

the biggest issue we have encountered is getting to a site late at night, it’s just a stop over to a longer trip, and some idiot parked in our designated spot. it’s an issue when you’re tired, do not know the camp ground and not sure what the heck happened. fortunately, in this case, the camp office, even though late at night, was very responsive and came out to check to make sure we were set up (we had called them to tell them we were taking a different spot and gave them the number). everything ended fine, but again, when you are tired, it’s the last thing you want to deal with

Doug
1 year ago

Sheeeesh! You folks sound like that {bleeped} down the street yelling GET OFF MY LAWN at people walking on the grass between the sidewalk and the street.
Using red pepper to keep dogs away! Really? How insane are you?
Can’t deal with people that arrive early? Get a grip. Tell them they need to get out of the way.
And heaven forbid! KIDS are out in a trailer park where the speed limit is 5-7 MPH.
Please
GET OFF MY LAWN!

Tom Piper
4 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Rules are rules. You didn’t make them but you tacitly agree to them when you check in. Don’t like them – go somewhere else.

M Blas
1 year ago

Just read all the comments and as a park owner agree with most of them. But I can’t believe no one mentioned vehicles speeding in the campground. Definitely in our top 3 complaints.

Bill Fisher
1 year ago

Our campsite policy is one I learned decades ago from my Dad and Boy Scouts; leave a campsite better/cleaner than I find it. I always police our campsites and pick up trash, including small bits and others cigarette butts and I’ve cleaned a lot of trash out of fire rings. It’s the right thing to do. Hopefully other campers will see and think, hey, that’s something I will start doing, too.

Bob Weinfurt
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Fisher

Don’t count on it

Merrily
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Fisher

My mother taught us the same thing and I still follow that lead! 🙂

Robert P Sandlak
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Fisher

As a past Scoutmaster..leave no trace!

wanderer
4 months ago
Reply to  Bill Fisher

I will do that when the site is free or cheap or volunteer-maintained. At $40 a night, no, it’s not my job.

KBowden
4 months ago
Reply to  wanderer

It’s not a money matter – it’s a respect for the outdoors and a respect for others that should drive this behavior. Become a responsible citizen.

Tom Piper
4 months ago
Reply to  wanderer

Maybe you could put up a sign that invites others to dump their trash in your firepit, have their dogs crap on your site, and let the folks next to you to drink and get loud until 3:AM.

Scott
4 months ago
Reply to  wanderer

yeez, pick up your site. How selfish …the park workers are usually busy cleaning the bigger issues like the bathrooms or the remains of a roudy group from the night before. A small effort on your part Mr fisher goes a long ways to keeping up the cleanliness of the rest of the park. Don’t be that entitled tool that gets everyone else upset over such a simple gesture such as picking up litter.

Scott
4 months ago
Reply to  Scott

Sorry to Mr Fisher, Wanderer was supposed to be the target of my comment. I agree completely with Mr Fisher, leave no trace

KellyR
1 year ago

I just read all comments below. Yep I have a lot of the same pet peeves, but none are unlike problems that one may have in their stick n bricks neighborhoods. AND if this stuff bothers you this much, you are not cut out to manage dormitories at a university!

tommy
1 year ago

Campgrounds ? RV Parks ? I gave up both… Traded the fifth wheel in and got a truck camper. Set up solar and water purifier and a few other need items and went 100 % boondocking. Its smaller then a Larger RV but the pay back is to die for. Free campsite or very cheap, quiet and private. While traveling I can stop at any rest area for the night and I fit in the car section which has open spots always. Can now go up a forest back road and be able to turn around at those dead ends. NO reservations needed ever…… 🙂

Merrily
1 year ago
Reply to  tommy

Hopefully you leave your site better than you found it! 🙂 Thanks!

Elaine Ashton
1 year ago
Reply to  tommy

Wow! Certainly worthy of consideration. Thanks for sharing. Will this work for two people and a doggie?

Rebecca Whitney
4 months ago
Reply to  tommy

Im getting ready to do the sae thing

Ron TXtrvelers
1 year ago

We camp with 3 medium size dogs. They enjoy camping as much as we do, but they are always on a 6’ leash whether at camp site or walking. Always have poop bags attached to leashes to pick up after them. But more & more people think that leash rules don’t apply to them & no way are they going to pick up after their pets. Seems state parks & private RV parks don’t want to enforce their own rules. Kicking these people out of the camp grounds without a refund might stop this.

Jim Schrankel
1 year ago

As a county campground host my pet peeve is entitled occupants. When pointing out rule infractions, I’m met with “ I’ve been coming here for twenty years!” I would respond with “oh, I didn’t realize, obviously these rules don’t apply you!” And many believed me. Also, people using the campfire rings as trash bins. Ever try to remove a pot full of cooked spaghetti?

snayte
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Schrankel

I would reply with “if you want to make it 21 then you will follow the rules”

sally
1 year ago

wow. people do these things? No. we haven’t done any of these things. amazing . didnt used to be this way.

Thomas
1 year ago

Last Wednesday we pulled into a state park at 3:20 pm and nobody at registration. We drove into the campground and found a site that was unoccupied. We went to self register. Nowhere was a rate list. ( camping/electric ) posted. Others were there wondering the same thing. I put $3 in the envelope for daily admission and a note i would come back in the morning. Went back to the campsite and 15 minutes later a couple said I’m on their site. They had the receipt that they got from the office but went somewhere rather that going back to the site and posting it to alert others that it was gone. We moved on but the state of Wisconsin needs to get its act together. There were 20 people trying to get into the park and nowhere was anyone of authority. It’s been my experience that 3 and later that people come off the road looking for a campsite. In Wisconsin,the employees go home then. Something is wrong with that picture.

snayte
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas

Wisconsin state parks are not currently allowing camping without reservations. They do currently have same day reservations however.

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