Edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris
Campground site shortage
Dave Piposzar wrote, “I think the shortage of campground spaces might be partially addressed by charging by the foot! Just like dock space. The behemoths over 30 feet with toad take up so much space, us little campers could fit four into the same area. Might get the RV consumer more conscious of their conspicuous consumption and pay for it. Haven’t had a problem yet getting a tent site for my 15 foot vintage camper.”
Dave’s thinking drew a quick response from Bob Godfrey. “So, you’re advocating putting three campers in the space where a 40′ RV would go? How would that solve crowding? Do you live full-time in your 15′ “vintage” camper?
“You sure sound like a jealous person to me if you think that large RVs and their owners are ‘conspicuous consumers’. What makes you think they consumer any more than you do per day? America is allegedly the home of the free and that gives you the right to drive and live in anything you like, don’t you think? It’s about freedom, is it not?”
Ken writes with his own thoughts on turning over management of public campgrounds to private contractors – and adds his own view on why campground crowding could be such an issue: “I’m against privatization of federal campgrounds. The cost of camping in theses parks will go up. They’ll start packing more sites into an area and the next thing you know the camping areas will be turned into the crowded RV parks we despise. Federal parks are not retirement communities, they are recreation areas.
“Part of the campsite inventory problem is people abuse the system. I’ve talked to Canadians who stay at our local State park all summer by opening different reservation accounts, one for the husband and one for the wife. They reserve the site for two weeks maximum in each name so they don’t have to leave the park for 24 hours before returning. They just register under the other account. Sometimes they have to move to a different site but they’re using the park as a retirement RV park.”
Credit card skimming scammers
Our story on crooks who swipe credit card information using technology attached to fuel pumps and ATMs brought this from Tom Rastall: “I was told by American Express Security that the new chip cards have reduced this practice a 100 fold. The new chip cards scramble the card number making it almost impossible to skim your card. Skimmers can no longer copy your number with a portable scanner. Hope this is true.”
Thanks to Tom’s question, we did a bit more research. Sad to say, but the bad guys have figured out a new one for this too. They’re called “shimmers” and they put these critters into the card slots, positioned so that the device sits right over the top of the chip to read its data. We’ll be doing a story on this as a follow-up – stay tuned.
Readers have reservations about park reservations
Hordes of you responded to our story on Zion National Park managers who are considering a reservation system – just to get in the gate.
Ron wrote plaintively, “I am 62 years old, and have never visited any of our national parks. Now I am retired, have the financial resources to travel, and own a motorhome. But after reading this and similar other recent articles about the disrespectful foreigners, overcrowding, long waits, lack of transportation, plant life being trampled and destroyed, and human waste being left in many places……I won’t be visiting anytime soon. It just does not sound like fun to me.”
This drew plenty of responses. Bob said, “Then you will be missing some of the greatest natural wonders this country has to offer. Maybe give a few parks a try before condemning them.”
And Onwego chimed in with, “I’m your age. I started visiting National Parks at age two. Go to the right places at the right times, and you’ll experience none of what you wrote. And, just FYI, if it were only the foreigners who disrespected the park’s rules and resources, things would be a lot better than they are. Most of the nonsense, sadly, is Made in America. Happy travels.”
Leo Suarez adds, “Ron, I am also 62, retired and bought a motorhome last year. I just came back from a three-month trip and we visited over 12 national parks, including most of the big ones in Utah, like Zion. We found the parks well-kept, and busy with people; however, we did not have to wait hours for a shuttle bus, more like 5-10 minutes at most in any park we visited. Yes. there are many foreigners visiting, who are mostly very respectful. The ones I struck up a conversation with were very appreciative and amazed at the national park resources we have in the U.S. To not visit these parks because of hearsay and mostly overblown comments would be a big mistake. Enjoy your retirement, the motorhome, and our beautiful national parks.”
Others had thoughts on how to reduce the traffic load at the parks that some may find a bit controversial. Pam Harsch contributed her thinking. “I think this might cut down drastically on the National Parks Annual Pass. We have purchased one for the last several years. We live close enough to Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Zion to hop in the car on a whim and go visit, have a picnic lunch and take in the beauty. It would greatly change the spontaneity of our day trips.
“I am sorry to say I have to agree with the foreign tourist ideas. I have been to Yellowstone when everyone I passed was Asian. It’s a shame but maybe limit foreign visitors to certain times of the year. That way the pass holders and American visitors can avoid those days, and the foreign visitors would actually have the parks to themselves.”
Bill’s reply to this was quick: “Wow….So, no one but ‘Americans’ can visit? Where were your grandparents or their precursors from? If it’s Ireland, or some other ethnic group that in years past faced discrimination, shame.”
Deb adds her two-bits: “Americans first should enjoy THEIR park! Very unfair to Americans.. Get a grip. FYI, I am Native American.”
New tax on RVs?
We covered a news item from Los Angeles, wherein we noted the city was having a costly problem disposing of derelict RVs. Reader John Springer noted that Portland, Oregon, has a similar issue, and writes:
“Apparently it costs $1000 to ‘discard’ an RV, not unreasonable considering the materials involved. So many people just give away their old RVs, and they end up lining streets in parts of town.
“I’ve often thought that somehow the cost of disposal should be included in the initial cost of a product, thereby adding a cost for excessive packaging and paying for eventual disposal. It certainly seems reasonable the new vehicles – RVs or not – should have a disposal tax added on, much like a beer can. That would be passed on to future owners, and ultimately would fund demolition, getting them not only off of city streets but also off of rural back yards.
“Everything ends up as scrap/recycle ultimately. It has to be paid for somehow. Lets start at the origin.”