What a waste

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balzaccom
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What a waste

Post by balzaccom » Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:23 pm

We're just back from a rather impromptu trip to Death Valley and the Grand Canyon, and we were stunned by how many empty campsites we saw at the Grand Canyon.

When we made our reservation, there were only a few sites available...and when we checked later, even those were gone. And yet every night we were there, at least 30% of the campsites were empty. No cars, no RVs, no tents, no people.


What a waste. We know there were people looking for a site that were turned away because all the sites were booked. And yet the site next to us was never occupied in the four days were were there. Sure, there was a tag that said it was reserved for someone for the entire time. But they never showed up. And the campsite sat empty for all four days.


There has to be a better way to manage this.


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ironmike
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Re: What a waste

Post by ironmike » Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:06 pm

I’m also just back from GCNP (Escalante Route with a diversion to the LCR), and I’m surprised at your observation. The park seemed extremely packed to me. Hikers, rafters, day visitors (2 hour lines to get in the park) were all present in great numbers. Not sure why the campgrounds would be under capacity.

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Wandering Daisy
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Re: What a waste

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:23 pm

Was there any indication that the unused sites were planned by the Park due to COVID? In other words, were the unused sites evenly spaced so that occupied sites were farther apart? And they just put up a "reserved" sign with a fake name to keep people separated?

Or perhaps a large number of foreign tourists reserved the sites and then were not allowed to fly to the US. Perhaps done by a travel company who just did not bother to cancel?

It does seem odd and definitely a waste if people simply did not bother to cancel. Something is then wrong with the reservation system.

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balzaccom
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Re: What a waste

Post by balzaccom » Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:36 am

Daisy, most of the sites had a tag on them with name and date. Some of the tags sat there for four days, with no campers. Every site had a tag. I don't think this was the NPS managing for COVID, I think it was people just not showing up. And SO MANY people arrived, set up camp, found out how cold it was in the middle of the night, and left...

Those campsites sat uninhabited for the rest of the length of the stay on the tag...

And please note that this is the same system that will be used by most agencies in the Sierra this summer for wilderness permits!
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Re: What a waste

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:51 am

It is again the issue of zero incentive due to last minute no-show. If you get to a site, then decide to leave, you do not get any refund, so why bother. You would think that with campground hosts it would be easy to have an "out" box where you could just drop off your tag when you leave early so the site could be open to others. We had a similar experience in Grand Canyon years ago in November. We arrived just after a snow storm and many campers bailed, lucky for us, because we got a campsite and even got a next day permit for a 3 day backpack down to the river.

The problem this year may be that reservations are required. Same thing will happen at Camp4 in Yosemite this year. I talked with the wilderness office and you can no longer just wait in line for an available spot. So if someone who has reserved does not show up last minute the spot will not be used. I certainly hope this is a short term policy due to COVID and not the "new normal".

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Re: What a waste

Post by rightstar76 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:27 pm

It would be nice if the websites were set up to not allow this practice. For example, allowing only one reservation of campsites/wilderness permits for a specific block of time and no overlap for additional ones. Also, no more than 2 reservations for any 30 day period. Of course, people would game this by having family members/friends book others, but since they would also be subject to these rules, it would lessen the number of reservations made. People would think more carefully before making a second reservation since it would be the only additional one allowed for 30 days.

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Re: What a waste

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:32 pm

Any system that would only allow two reservations per month would be very detrimental to locals who like to do several overnight stays in one month. Same with wilderness permits. I regularly use more than two permits in a month period.

The fix is the old fashioned, no show and the site is given first-come. And since NP campgrounds ALL have camp hosts, there is no reason they cannot simply check sites at the end of the day (or other stated time), and pull the reserved label if the site is empty.

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Re: What a waste

Post by Lumbergh21 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:00 am

Regarding Camp 4 at Yosemite, I'm fairly certain that they announced that they were going to reservations there before CoVid (it created a small storm on one of the outdoor sites I peruse, maybe SummitPost). It seems unlikely that will change.

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