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Old 09-25-2012, 12:15 AM   #1
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Camping/Campground question

Silly question, but curious if anyone knows....when it comes to campgrounds in the National Forests (specifically http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/kaiba...11664&actid=29) when it states there is an "open season" which ends on September 30th, does that mean the campground closes on that date or does it mean the hosts depart?

Does anyone have any thoughts? I suppose I could just call the local ranger station, but figured it would be more fun to ask here.
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:04 AM   #2
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From our experience it means they close and lock the gates until opening weekend next season.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:58 AM   #3
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Hi Rockpointers!
The best and really only solution is to call the Ranger Station and talk to the local employees. I am a retired USFS Recreation & Wilderness program manager and I can tell you that different National Forests have different approaches to how they manage their recreation sites. Heck, even on a single national forests, two different Ranger Districts may manage things differently.

Here is some general information: Most national forests have their campgrounds open after the "normal use season" but there will usually not be a campground host after Labor Day. Depending upon the area of the country, the water supply will be turned off, garbage bins no longer available, etc. In areas of the country that get snow, many USFS campgrounds are available for camping until the snow builds up (since the campgrounds and sometimes the access roads to the campgrounds are usually not plowed).

Some National Forests manage their campgrounds with their own Forest Service employees. Others contract out the management to "concessionaires" who run the campground, do the maintenance, collect fees, and pay a small percentage to the federal government. When a concessionaire runs the campground, the season can go longer or shorter, depending on when the concessionaire determines that it is no longer profitable for them to keep it open. Sometimes concession-run campgrounds are NOT available for camping after the normal use season, because the concessionaire doesn't want to be liable for use and damage (that they will have to fix) when the campground isn't formally open. But this is not always the case, as some concession-run campgrounds stay open for use, without water, garbage, etc. after the normal season.

Sorry for the long answer, but again, your only sure way to know is to call the Ranger District where you want to camp. And happy camping! This time of year and into October is my favorite time to camp. Beautiful colors, and we have the campgrounds and lakes and woods practically to ourselves. No screaming kids, barking dogs, loud music, or noisy generators right next to you!
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dewey02 View Post

Sorry for the long answer, but again, your only sure way to know is to call the Ranger District where you want to camp. And happy camping! This time of year and into October is my favorite time to camp. Beautiful colors, and we have the campgrounds and lakes and woods practically to ourselves. No screaming kids, barking dogs, loud music, or noisy generators right next to you!
The long answer was appreciated, as was your expertise in the area. Here in Arizona's high country, October is a GREAT time to be up there for all the reasons you mentioned. We went last weekend and the leaves were juuuuust starting to turn yellow. Mid-October should be stunning.
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Old 09-25-2012, 01:51 PM   #5
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Around here that sometimes means none of the facilities like water or toilets etc are not working or shut down. But you can sometimes dry camp there is they allow it...

Other times when this date approaches the gate guards are down and you are not allowed to enter the facility.

You just need to contact the ranger station and get the right answer.
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