Saturday, September 23, 2023


Park Service needs your help with RV campground design

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
We’ve all experienced it: From “backing in on the blind,” to the dump station from hell – we’ve probably mumbled (or yelled), “Who on earth designed this? Did they ever RV?” It seems like RV campground design is a crapshoot: Sometimes you win; then again, far too often you lose.

But the National Park Service wants your input with design, not just for RV campgrounds, but all aspects of campgrounds they might develop in the future.

Input wanted from John Q. RVer

Available for review, the service’s “Campground Design Guide” is a 150-plus page document outlining everything from disability accessibility issues, to trails, signs, wastewater treatment, and whatever else goes into making a campground. There are many pages of information specific to RVs and RVers included. The Service has already consulted with other federal land organizations, and included state park authority input. Now they’d like to hear from John Q. Public. For us, that means John Q. RVer.

Chewing through 150 pages of government documentation sounds daunting. Happily, the whole affair is well laid out, and it shouldn’t take too much time to analyze the information specific to RV campground design. If your interests are broader, and you have the time, you can pick other areas of your experience and interest and tackle those as well.

What the Service asks boils down to this: Did they miss something? Did they get something wrong? They ask those commenting to be as specific as possible, and include a page number with their thoughts.

Don’t dally – time is limited

The comment period is open until December 4th. Download the “Campground Design Guide” here, and click on the link at the bottom of the page, “Document Content.” After you’ve digested and come up with your views, you can submit your comments on the same page by clicking the button “Comment Now.”

This looks like a great opportunity for experienced RVers and others to be able to make a difference. Perhaps your gripes and growls about how things have been done in the past can be turned into workable solutions for the future. You, too, can have real input on future RV campground design.


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  1. We always have trouble with the campgrounds being full. Perhaps making more campgrounds with more spaces would be helpful.

  2. On page 54 the guidelines allow for a maximum length of 40′. This should be a big concern for all owners of 45′ rigs. In short, the new guidelines are excluding you from the use of National Parks! Perhaps a lot of feedback can change this. I will be submitting my comments after I go through the whole document.

  3. This is the comment I left for the NPS design guidelines.

    In the section addressing Large RV and Trailers with Pop Outs (page 75), please include the goal of maximizing the number of drive-thru camp sites. Backing a motor-home or travel-trailer is one of the most challenging and stressful parts of the Nation Park camping experience. It takes time and adds to the congestion on the loop roads as other campers wait for vehicle to be backed in. Accidents and property damage (to vehicles and the Park) would be reduced.

  4. I was in a state park campground two weeks ago, where there were no signs indicating which sites were in which loop, and most of the site numbers were placed so they could only be seen by someone driving the wrong way round the loop.

  5. It recently came to me as we parked in a over tight RV park how negative it was that my sewer hook up was just feet away from my neighbours door.
    We have been in some where they had put up short privacy fences that were nice.
    Just thinking (some day I might get good at it😊). Would it be a possible option that parks design some pull through sites that alternate direction?
    Makeing it possible for neighbors doors to face each other.

  6. Ahhhh yes. What a reminder of how the government works. I used to write Govt contracts and the NPS Campground design guide is a perfect example of it. Expect to spend at least a couple hrs reading it.

    • It’s thorough. It’s 170 pages including some good pictures, illustrations, and about 12 pages of background and history. If I can read this in an hour, I’ve had too much coffee!

      That said, a look at the table of contents shows a concise layout of the processes that play into how the NPS thinks people will utilize campgrounds and facilities. I hope interested parties take the time to read it and submit comments and suggest changes.

      Happy miles!


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