Friday, September 24, 2021


Should the use of generators be allowed in National Park campgrounds?

National Parks are often places where we go for some peace and quiet. A noisy generator isn’t every park visitor’s idea of a good time, especially when it’s coming from a neighbor.

Some generators run very quietly, and few people mind the little noise they make, providing they are used during the day, not late at night.

The problem is that a few campers always show up with an old clunky generator, or a construction-type they bought at Harbor Freight that makes a lot of noise. In a National Park, the noise can offend many other campers and certainly disrupts the peace and quiet.

What do you think about generators in National Parks? That’s our question today. Please feel free to leave a comment. And you might want to watch the video below which shows one example of a noisy generator, in this case in Yellowstone National Park.

The survey at the end of the video is no longer active


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4 months ago

Too noisy. Somewhere can we not have some peace and quiet? Also frightens wildlife that some came to enjoy. Ask that the generator users check into a power pack that might fit their needs. LP

4 months ago

Limit hours and the noise they make. There are quieter options.

4 months ago

{bleeped}! That tent trailer and same noisy generator, (or twins of it) arrived late in a campground I was in an and ran that beast till 10:30pm. It was quiet before they got there. What are people thinking?!

Ernie Powell
4 months ago
Reply to  Dee

They don’t care . its all about them

Marion Runcie
4 months ago

BC provincial parks allow them 9-11am and 6-8pm. I agree with limiting but I’d shorten it to an hour each time. However the worst noise we had to put up with happened in California where the neighbours had an large outside screen and were showing a loud and very violent movie! We couldn’t shut out the ghastly sounds. We would have been grateful for generator noise!

Stu E
4 months ago

Running generator is like white noise, doesn’t really bother me

Tony V
4 months ago

Many NP campgrounds are rather tightly spaced. Nighttime generator use can be quite abusive in tight groups. There are rules in place for hours of use, which goes a long way toward keeping the peace in camp. There are also maximum noise limit rules, which prohibit the noise levels most of the open-frame construction generators. These rules are enforced! Noise meters are often carried by the law enforcement rangers, and even camp hosts will often have a noise meter app on their smart phones. I have seen more than one excessive noise complaint enforced by rangers. Use an inverter generator, yes, even a Harbor Freight Predator Inverter Generator, and you will be well within the legal noise limits. It’s up to you to comply with the set generator hours.

4 months ago

Generator hours is an archaic rule, I would rather see db level restrictions. As far as I’m concerned if you spring for an ultra quiet generator you can run it beside me 24 hours a day. If you have a cheapo “contractor” generator I don’t want to hear it regardless of time of day.

4 months ago
Reply to  Vic


4 months ago
Reply to  Vic

I’m with you. I’ve seen ‘no generator’ sections in CGs, but what I’d like to see is “loud generator” sections.

4 months ago
Reply to  Vic

Problem is as a camphost you have to enforce the rule across the board. There are many that are quiet and then there’s the one guy with the construction type. Then there is the guy who sets his as far away from his site as the cord will allow. Right up next to the next site with someone in a tent. So to be fair to everyone they all need to go off at a certain time. As a camp host if your running after hours you will be surprised at how loud I can bang on the side of your camper. If that don’t work it’s usually easy to find the on off switch. In most campgrounds if a ranger has to be called out at 3:00 AM because someone has been told but still runs a generator, someone is getting a citation and if they give the ranger a hard time they will get escorted from the park.

Thomas D
4 months ago

Yes if quiet like my honda 2000 no to construction type 3600 rpm models
A ranger could have an app on his phone to check for compliance. way back when in some national park i was running my genny ( honda) and a lady came to me and told me to shut off my generator. It was 2pm and she was parked over 100 yards away, so 1st off, how much noise did she hear. Secondly, generator hours were 8 to 8. I told her i needed my battery charged for my wifes cpap machine overnight and would obey park regulations.GOODBYE.

Bob Amoroso
4 months ago

I have an onboard Onan 4000 generator which runs pretty quiet. I only use it when I need a lot of power and not very long. I also carry a Honda EU2200 portable generator for charging batteries and less powerful needs. It runs super quiet and when placed facing away from people and other campers you can not hear it at all.

As far as using generators in National Parks or any National Forest, County Park or State Park, I feel there should be an “Approval Rating” for use in these campgrounds. You buy a contractor generator with no approval rating……you can’t use it. I’m not a fan of people using these noisy generators just cause they’re cheap.

Tom Macfarlane
4 months ago

When I was a MUCH younger tent camper, I was camping at Lake Tahoe. Every morning at about 6:30 or 7:00 someone a few sites away fired up his VERY loud generator and ran it for a couple of hours. Same in the evening. At that time, I vowed to never own a generator. 7 or 8 years ago I almost bought one, but then got a new trailer and installed 2 solar panels. Happy that I am not contributing to campground noise pollution.

Dennis G
4 months ago

As we usually are in national parks, where there is zero electrical hookups. We use our generator sparingly, during breakfast and diner times. Our Onan is a quiet certified generator.
As it is, we have all of the lighting switched to LEDs. We want to install lithium SOK batteries but they are back ordered until mid-June. So we will not be able to run an inverter long enough to make toast, or watch a movie with the kid during our Yellowstone trip this June 15th.
Maybe later this year we will be able to use the generator even more sparingly. Solar panels and MPPT charge controllers coming soon.

4 months ago

The idea we have to ask such a question, speaks volumes to how inconsiderate some people are these days,

Bob Weinfurt
4 months ago

I’d like the run time bumped up to at least 10 AM so I can wake to the sound of singing birds, not generators. And there should be a maximum noise level for every generator. And also, a little consideration goes a long way.

Sink Jaxon
4 months ago

I can’t stand the drone of any generator at any time. I have the option to leave. And I have been known to do so.

4 months ago

Just one more comment on portable generators. Please be kind to your neighbors and place the generator in YOUR outdoor space, away from your neighbors side of your camper. Often, I experience the noise of others using their generators (and I understand the need for it in many cases) but PLEASE stick the generator on your hangout side of camp, so I am not getting the full blast of noise at the back and side of your rig, while you are entertaining or enjoying your camp.

4 months ago
Reply to  kit

I was camped beside a wash in a 14 day area near Quartzsite a couple years ago, fiver pulls in on the other side of the wash. 6 o’clock next morning this el cheapo generator starts up, in the wash maybe 20 feet from my bedroom. On checking, the guy had put it 100 feet away and behind bushes from his unit presumably so the noise didn’t bother him. If there was ever a time I would consider a couple teaspoons of sugar in a fuel tank that was it. As it was we were leaving early that morning anyway. I think the unwritten rule of boondocking generators should be that it has to be within 5 feet of your own rig, then you can run it when and as long as you want.

4 months ago

I have experienced MANY times when I need to visit the nearby campers who are using their generators after quiet hours. so I vote no.

4 months ago

I have no problem with limited hours of say 8am to 8pm but I’m skeptical that a decibel limit would work. The real solution is to add electric outlets at RV sites and some tent sites and charge more. Ten dollars more a night should soon pay the cost.

It solves both the noise and the environmental issue.

4 months ago

I marked yes. We have a whole senior generation that are traveling that need oxygen rather through the night, during the day or refill their system or bottles. Or on those hot, maybe humid days/night. There are reasons for using them. A lot more solar use now then before so I hear lot less generators. If you are just sitting around a campfire then don’t run it.

4 months ago

If you are writing an article, please research first OR let someone who knows the subject write it. Harbor Freight has several generators that have been shown to be as quiet as the benchmark Honda’s, and are much more affordable. Com’ on man!

However, I do agree that you need a quiet, inverter type geni.

4 months ago

The last time we stayed at Yellowstone (a couple of years ago) our neighbors across the street started their generator after quiet hours had commenced. Thankfully they only ran it for a half hour. The next day in casual conversation with a ranger I was told that I should have called 911 and it would have been dealt with promptly. He said that the neighbor’s rights ended where ours began.

4 months ago
Reply to  Gary

911? that seems a bit extreme. I might consider the non-emergency number

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