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Old 10-26-2008, 12:57 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Pennsylvania
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Your state's rules?

About two weekends ago, I was disappointed with my experience at a West Virginia SP (Tomlinson Run). No site could be "reserved", according to a call to the Park office.

So when we arrived Noon on a Friday, I assumed we would have a decent selection.

My complaints :

1) Campground "host" was nowhere to be found.

2) Park office said "see host"....calls to "1-800" only went to an answering machine.

3) No place/sheet/people to find open sites, or know the reservations, firewood rules, etc.....

3a) Half the park is closed---not mentioned on web site/phone. See point #8

4) Pull into empty sites, each site post had a piece of paper with THAT day's date.
In PA state parks, that means its your LAST day, and when the site is empty....well then you have left.....

5) "Locals" seem to have come the night before, or in the morning, or sent friends to "reserve" the spot....but no trailer is on the lot---just the piece of paper.

6) Locals watch me pull in and line up, then tell me when I get out, that their "Son/Daughter" has this space "reserved".

7)When we asked why the site is empty, the tell me they have until 4:00 to arrive......or forfeit.

When host happen to drive, by they say the other loop is now open....since they were not around as the place "filled up", when then finally arrived from wherever, they open the "closed" loop---which we had already driven past.

I know this experience only was only an issue past a certain date in October, otherwise this would have been the last time we visit this very close to home park.

NOTE: To West Virgina, this was not the kind of "Experience WVA" you want to feature in a commercial!

NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN AN ISSUE, IF WE WEREN'T TOLD, "NO RESERVATIONS" over the phone. This was NOT my definition of first come, first serve.

Oddly enough, the lazy camp hosts did us a favor by opening the loop late, as we got the best site in the closed loop. (I also do not believe a host should be able to open/close loops on their discretion.)

So, FINALLY the questions:

1) Does your state require your trailer to be on the site, AFTER you reserve/arrive (does not apply to phone reservations, obviously)?

WVA (I called the state HQ) does not require you to you can visit the park on Thursday night, pay for Friday, but not bring your rig until Saturday afternoon, pending weather.

2) Does your state allow you to have "friends and family" reserve for you?

3) How long can you be away from your trailer---leave it vacated?
You can't vacate overnight in PA.

4) Do you have limits how long you stay at a site?
PA allows a max reservation of 2 weeks---and YOU MUST leave the park for 24 hours I believe. (To keep seasonals away).

5) Add the oddest of rules I have seen...Does your state PROHIBIT firewood gathering---on site.

WVA does not allow even simple stick/kindling gathering ON YOUR OWN SITE. The sites, trails, and woods are therefore a mess, in my opinion.

Pittsburgh, PA

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Old 10-27-2008, 11:03 AM   #2
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In the New York State parks including the Dept of Conservation parks, you reserve on Reserve America then the site has to be occupied. Walk-in's have to occupy, you can't hold a non reserved site without occupants. There has to be at a minimum one person staying overnight (6 max) or it can be given away and there's a 14 night limit. They also encourage picking up wood for campfires but no cutting live trees and no chain saws allowed. The surrounding woods are usually neat.

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Old 10-27-2008, 01:13 PM   #3
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It seems that your excellent email should be sent to the parks department of West Virginia as well.

Norm Milliard
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Old 10-27-2008, 03:04 PM   #4
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1) IIRC, none of Georgia's State Park campgrounds allow reserving of specific sites. However, some of the Parks will allow other members of your "group" arriving earlier than you to check you in and grab you a site providing you have paid in full prior to arrival (credit card). Not all Parks allow this.

Sites held this way must be "occupied" by a tent or vehicle... no chairs or signs.

2) Reserve a site for me? If they want to pay for it themselves, I guess so. If we're talking about holding a site for you, see #1.

3) If my camper is onsite and connected and I've paid, then I can be away all day or even overnight. Been there, done that.

4) Same here.

5) Yes, many Parks do not permit the gathering of wood for fires. You have to BUY wood or BRING your own.
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Old 10-24-2010, 11:40 PM   #5
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Dave and Cindy have it right on Georgia Parks. I've taken Church Groups to Unicoi State Park and talked the Ranger into letting me "hold" sites that were pre-paid - but I had to put a vehicle on them. This is not "Official" policy, just the ranger being nice to a Group he knew wanted to be together.

As to the firewood gathering rule - I'm seeing that more and more places. The problem is, some dummys don't seem to know the difference between dead wood a live wood. I've been in too many campgrounds that were practically stripped and the ground was bare. So many parks have over reacted and just said "NO gethering wood - bring your own." Of course many also say you can't bring wood from outside the county - because of the problems with moving insects and beetles in the wood.

But usually, I just ignore the no gathering rule, am careful to get only dead wood off the ground well away from the campsites, and nobody has ever said anything to me. I think the rule is more so they can fine the idiots who cut live wood and try to claim it was already dead.
"Honest Ranger Rick - I have no idea how that green sap got in that dead piece of wood with the fresh ax marks on it - I found it on the ground - but it sure doesn't burn very well"
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:16 AM   #6
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I know the SP's near me are aas you speak of for PA, and the ACoE place is similar - no reservations, no 'paper' reserving, the TT is in the slot or too bad. 14 days max with a 24hr leave.

Now firewood is a tricky issue - PA has select counties under the emerald ash borer and syrex? wasp.

When I goto kelletville, my wood comes from the same forest so not a problem (in our county we DO NOT have the ban) but if I want to goto ANF sites - same woods again - you may not bring in a single stick, but must get it from a local dealer who gets it from.....the same woods I do. nice racket.
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:22 AM   #7
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I think the difference is - the dealer is required to Kiln dry the wood to kill bugs. I know in Georgia I'm allowed to use wood I can buy at the local Grocery Store that comes 8 pieces to a bag for $3 - because it has been Kiln dried.

The sad thing is - I'm afriad that all of these fights to control various insects are just delaying actions. But I guess they gotta try.
Buddy and Jamie Ray
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:55 AM   #8
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I could never afford to buy local wood, our campfires can smelt metal. Ill have 2 rows of wood across the back of the pickup as high as the bed - that will last me 2 nights The blistering heat drives off insects and scares bears.

(if anyone ever camps up near me, my kid splits a 10cu ft cart load (stood on end and packed in) for $20 all hardwood, $15 hard+pine mix - its about a 3:1 ratio over what you get vs what you pay with the other sellers)
1987 2461 behind a 1981 F100 and sometimes my 1990 F150
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Old 10-26-2010, 01:22 AM   #9
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We have not had that kind of experiance at the WV state parks that we have been too. This park maybe needs a change in management before it gives them all a bad reputation. There was just a post on another members visit to Blackwater Falls SP near Davis WV and they did'nt seem to have any problems.


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