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 > What's changed about camping?

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adamis

Northern California

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Posted: 08/02/20 09:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The family and I just completed our three week road trip and I've been reflecting about the past and future of our adventures. I know as adults we always idealize our past but it seems to me that the camping experiences I had as a kid are almost impossible to replicate as an adult. Let me opine a moment...

As a kid, our family mostly boondocked in Northern California. We would load up for a week of camping and head up from Chico on highway 32 and drive into some forest service roads to spots my parents had known for years. Those places were remote mountain meadows with flowing streams and beaver ponds for fishing and exploring. Nothing but good memories and the truck camper my parents had fit in their short bed half ton 4x4.

As I try to replicate this experience for my kids, I am finding it difficult to do. Granted part of my problem is location. I'm currently living in the SF Bay Area (not by choice) and good National Forest is a minimum of 2 to 3 hours any direction to get to. Even with that challenge overcome, I'm observing some of the following:

1a. Forest Roads once accessible are now closed off (due to fire concerns) forcing the use of public campgrounds over the hidden gems our parents knew of.

1b. Marijuna "industry" making taking over the remote areas in National Forest and making it unsafe to go to.

2. Public Campgrounds are overcrowded (population has doubled but when is the last time you saw a new campground being built?).

3. Campgrounds today are akin to "combat camping" where fire rings are right on top of each other to cram as many campsites into as small of an area as possible.

4. People are less respectful of others. Someone in the campground thinks that everyone else nearby wants to their music all day long or the people that get hammered around the campfire partying or, the worse, people that leave trash all over the place after their "party".

5. Sight seeing the local sights means fighting for a parking space which is undersized for your vehicle.

6. Electronic devices taking kids attention away from the wonderment of being in the forest and now having to fight their attitude if they don't get their daily dose of tik tok / youtube.

7. RV parks that are profit driven and have turned into nothing but parking lots.

8. Homeless / long term campers taking over campgrounds and living there (aka, junk all over the place).

9. Reservation systems that require months in advance of planning now versus the "pack and go" that we grew up with.

I'm sure you all can add to my list of gripes and feel free to do so. Yes, I realize boondocking is still a thing and in certain parts of the country solves nearly all of these gripes. Perhaps my issues are mostly related to Northern CA and it's population boom since I was a kid.

That being said, my concern is that these problems are not going to get fixed on their own. They are a product of a growing population and a society that no longer respects others. My only counter to this is the need for a growing number of private campgrounds run by people like us that remember the good old days and seek to replicate that to the extent possible. I've looked at buying mountain property for years to do just this but haven't pulled the trigger yet but someday hope I will.

How many of you have considered the same thing?


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bigfootford

Fair Oaks, California

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Posted: 08/02/20 10:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lot's you have listed have been going on for years.
Pretty sad. The only way to get around lot's of those issues is to do your trips/camping after school starts. Impossible with kids sadly.

One more thing that really is bad that many state campgrounds have been taken over by commercial companies thus no forest service. The prices have doubled and tripled in popular areas.

Jim


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Lwiddis

Lone Pine, CA

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Posted: 08/02/20 10:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In some people attitude changes as they age...”back in my day,” “in the old old days” etc. These are the good old days for today’s kids.

Population increases also should be considered including the large numbers of seniors. More than 300 million Americans now. Camping, RVing is fashionable right now but it will decline.


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zigzagrv

Nazareth, PA

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Posted: 08/02/20 10:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Excellent observation and so true! The times, they are a'changing. Not always for the good.


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Lantley

Ellicott City, Maryland

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Posted: 08/02/20 10:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lots of those issues are nothing new. People are flawed they were flawed back when you were a kid and they are flawed now. However your perspective has changed since you were a kid. Now it's up to you (your generation) to resolve those long term issues.
The reality is none of what you posted is really new!


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jimh425

Western MT

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Posted: 08/02/20 10:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not a problem to have those experiences in my area. If those experiences are important to you, you should consider moving. Otherwise, find hobbies that you like that are compatible with your area. I’m sure there is something to do in your area that is worthwhile.


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adamis

Northern California

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Posted: 08/02/20 11:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jimh425 wrote:

Not a problem to have those experiences in my area. If those experiences are important to you, you should consider moving. Otherwise, find hobbies that you like that are compatible with your area. I’m sure there is something to do in your area that is worthwhile.


Having just traveled through Montanna, I thoroughly agree with your assessment. The freedom I felt out there and the scenery I saw spoke to me for sure. I went through about a dozen places I was ready to put money on the table to get a chunk of that land. That being said, the wife isn't keen to moving to Montanna and I don't like snow so winters are out for me. She did however open up the idea of a cabin for summer retreats but that is probably a decade away if ever.

Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 08/02/20 11:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I start camping in California back in 1987 and those rules more or less applied then. Only difference I remember from those years was that some campgrounds would allow gray water damping.
That said, with RV you have lot of choices.
My favorite over the years was Crystal Basin area, who belongs to Sacramento Water District. 7 different lakes past Pollock Pines few miles you turn left into Ice House Road. Some mountain driving and it is your choice of lake size and elevation (temp changes). Still can find beach campgrounds with no fees.
Being self-employed most of those years, during school vacations I would go there on Sunday and go home on Friday before ZOO started at the lakes.





Devocamper

West Haven CT

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Posted: 08/02/20 12:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just wait until all the folks that just bought Rv’ s this year because of the pandemic get out here , most haven’t a clue about how To use the equipment they bought never mine campground rules or that the rules are for everyone! Have tried to assist a few but they know it all already and We have seen it in our travels . Next year there will be a lot of rv’s and gear for sale! It’s really a sign of our times unfortunately. I think it makes all the difference if you had previous generations teach you the proper way to do things in life as well as camping


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Sjm9911

New Jersey

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Posted: 08/02/20 01:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would look not at recreating your memories as a kid, bit focous on creating new ones for yours. You cant relive thw past. But you can still get out and enjoy stuff and give the kids a good experience.


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