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Old 07-09-2018, 10:27 AM   #1
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Early Check-In Time Enforcement

We've camped exclusively at Michigan State Park campgrounds since we got our camper in 2012. The state parks have a check out time (you must be off the campground) of 1pm and check in time of 3pm.

In all the time we've camped, if we show up after 1pm and before 3pm, there's never been a problem getting onto the site early so long as the person before us has left (which they always have).

On our most recent trip, though, it seemed that for some reason they were starting to enforce the 3pm check-in time. Even if the site was empty. It actually didn't happen to us (they let us check in early) but somewhere along the way, they started turning people away if they showed up early. They made them go wait in the overflow parking lot and would only check them in after 3pm.

I couldn't for the life of me figure out why they would do this. We chatted with one of the affected people and apparently they knew the old campground manager that had been there for years, but he transferred and the new manager is, I guess, a rather stickler for the rules. I understand having the two hour cushion as a just-in-case, but if the site is empty, what's the point in using it? And for the record, no they did not do anything to the campsites in question. No grass cutting, no tree trimming, no fire pit cleanout.

It seems like, pardon my French, kind of an a-hole thing to do, but maybe I'm missing a perfectly good reason for this.

Any thoughts or similar experiences?
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:45 AM   #2
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Sounds like maybe he was trying to be by the book on the rules, maybe to make an impression..IDK. Honestly, I see no problem with early check-in unless the previous camper wants to stay longer. I've always said that campers should get that first day prorated since it's so late of a check-in.
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:48 AM   #3
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We haven't had similar experiences, but I agree with your French.

People don't think any more. And they especially don't think with a customer-service mindset. I'm sure if there was a reason a specific site couldn't be occupied, the visitor would understand; I know I would. But if there is no intention to clean/repair/etc the site, then let the next person in. Just from a management standpoint, it would be more difficult to have people gathering in an "overflow" lot, just to all rush in when the clock strikes 3.

So, even if customer service is not a priority for you, be selfish and think how much easier it would be for you to move people through in an orderly fashion as they arrive if possible.

ETA: I've even been checked into a campsite when they didn't know if the previous occupants had left yet. The office warned me they might still be there, and a couple times they WERE still there. I waited patiently for them to leave and went on about my day. I've also been on the other side and occupied a site until the very last minute. Having very young kids with you often changes your schedule somewhat. I needed to be there until the actual check out time, and I was fine with it.
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Old 07-09-2018, 12:13 PM   #4
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We also camp any many different Michigan State Parks and always arrive around 2pm and never had a problem getting in. Sounds like the new guy is going by the book for now, which park did this happen at.
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Old 07-09-2018, 12:54 PM   #5
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We also use Michigan State Parks and had this experience last year. Very non sensical. I'ts not like they are cleaning the site. We waited a bit and then just headed to the campsite because it was empty. We do the 2pm arrival time.
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:17 PM   #6
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MN has a check in/out time of 4pm. During the summer we often, arrive much earlier. Seems like most campers take off early in the morning. It is rare we leave before 2 pm. We have found that there is almost no waiting at the dump station after 2.

Technically we do not have to check-in/out any more. But you ARE required to call a California # to book a site before you take it. We have rolled in late, do to the distance traveled & kids school schedule, and have had 20 year old's in our site, who did not book a site. Just claimed it, trying not to pay. Each time, we have kicked them out.

Once, the park system double booked our site! The park was empty (very early season), we were nice and took another site, and the ranger updated the reservations.

With these incidents, my DW is now worried that someone will be in the site when we arrive, and they are not going to leave.
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:29 PM   #7
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Enforcing the rules is a good way to set a standard. We have been in a small number of private cg's who charged a fee for early arrival. Most do not.

Only thing I can think of is the power/water expense of allowing people to come in and leave late. You could say it should balance out but then........

The best thing is to verify what time you can get in and leave, then there are no surprises.

We stay in a number of Florida sp's that strictly enforce the entry time, others don't even mention it.
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:53 PM   #8
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I guess I am from a different perspective, but if a campground has (which almost all do) set check in and check out times, why do you feel you are special and entitled to break the rules? Why donít you plan your trip accordingly? If you can plan to be there 1-2 hours before check in time, plan for the correct time.
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Old 07-09-2018, 02:23 PM   #9
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Perhaps their mornings are busy, and they have a rush of business starting with the 3pm check in, and the staff would like to get in a breaks and lunches between the rushes, so it's time to start enforcing the rules.

Please remember it's not all about you, and what you want, and when you want it. Park staff aren't your servants; they have jobs to do at the park, and they need time to do it, and break times.
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDoer View Post
Perhaps their mornings are busy, and they have a rush of business starting with the 3pm check in, and the staff would like to get in a breaks and lunches between the rushes, so it's time to start enforcing the rules.

Please remember it's not all about you, and what you want, and when you want it. Park staff aren't your servants; they have jobs to do at the park, and they need time to do it, and break times.
Thank for your understanding and support.

DW and I were volunteer campground hosts in a rural national forest campground. We were on duty from sun up to sun down... and once someone us woke us from a sound sleep at about 11pm to get rid of a spider in one of the pit toilets!
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