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A petition is circulating at the WhiteHouse.gov website that requires the National Park Service to ensure an overnight spot to all self-propelled travelers, even if a campsite is full.
Mount Rainier wilderness camp
Finding space to camp at some popular National Parks can be a problem, especially if a bicycle tourist shows up late in the day when all the campsites are taken.
This would require the rangers to allow “self-propelled visitors” to camp for one night, even if the campground is considered full. They can’t be turned away.
Some state and federal park campgrounds provide so-called “bike-hike” campsites. These are often communal areas with a fire pit and a couple of picnic tables shared by people who arrive carrying everything on their backs, or bikes, or canoes.
I’ve camped bike-hike campgrounds in California and Washington and in Arizona at the Grand Canyon National Park. It offers peace-of-mind to know you can find a campsite at the end of the day — with or without a reservation — and in the company of other travelers.
Earlier this year, Virginia instituted a campground policy that requires state parks have a place for bikers and hikers to pitch their tents, even if the campground is full.
Although our great National Parks are popular destinations for people of bicycles, there’s no policy requiring they be granted a place to stay. If the campground is full, they can be sent on their way or must go begging to share a corner of someone else’s campsite.
Here’s the camping petition at WhiteHouse.gov. [You'll need an account to sign the petition]:
The National Park Service (NPS) currently do not permit a Park to allow additional overnight visitors if the campground is full.
Self-propelled visitors (SPV), a person arriving by foot, bicycle, canoe, or other mode of movement NOT utilizing a motorized vehicle, frequently arrive after the park campground has sold out. The vast majority of the SPV use a small tent. If a campground is sold out, a SPV may not be able to travel to the next available campground before dark.
Whereas a SPV visitor using a tent takes up very little space and has little environmental impact, we hereby petition the Federal Government to require the NPS to always allow SPV a place to legally camp for one night even if the campground is considered full.
This is just another way to encourage bicycle travel. Something like this is needed as more people take to the roads following the U.S. Bicycle Route System that links cities, national parks, and other destinations.
Montana State Parks is seeking public comment on a proposed project to expand camping availability at Finley Point State Park on the south end of Flathead Lake. The proposed improvements would provide more open space around motor home campsites and add a new campsite loop. Five walk-in, tent-only camping sites would be added and two yurts are planned. The state parks department is undergoing an environmental assessment, which includes the public comment period through Friday, Nov. 30.
The park entrance would be widened to allow safer, easier access for motor homes and trailers, according to Montana State Parks. The park’s seasonal camp host facilities would move north of the park entry road. New landscaping and vegetative cover is planned between campsites to add privacy and visual appeal. Finley Point State Park, six miles north of Polson, is a popular summer destination and base camp for hiking, sightseeing, fishing and boating. It is one of five state parks with public access on Flathead Lake. In the 2012 summer season more than 16,000 people visited the park.
To review the Draft Environmental Assessment for Finley Point State Park, go to stateparks.mt.gov and click on ‘Submit Public Comments’ on the bottom of the homepage. Comments can be submitted online at stateparks.mt.gov, click on Submit Public Comments at the bottom of the homepage, or by mail to: Finley Point EA, Attn: Dave Landstrom, FWP Headquarters – Region 1, 490 N. Meridian Rd., Kalispell, MT, 59901.
Qingdao City, China (CNN) — Nine hundred tents extending in a shape of dragon on a beach of Qingdao city in east China’s Shandong Province was ascribed into the Guinness world record on Saturday as the world’s largest and longest tent mosaic dragon.
The tent dragon was set up for the ongoing Qingdao International Golden Beach Camping Festival scheduled from July 21 to Oct. 30.
“The tent dragon designed and set up for the Qingdao International Golden Beach Camping Festival is made up of 900 tents and occupies an area of 3,421.19 square meters. It has set a new Guinness world record,” declared Cheng Dong, Guinness world record authentication officer, at Saturday’s certification ceremony.
The 900 tents are for rent during the festival since July.
“We intends to enrich local tourist products in this form and provide novel and individualized services to tourists,” said Guo Kuiduan, deputy director of local tourist bureau.
The camping festival has attracted numerous holidaymakers since July. There were still many people on Saturday even though it was around mid-October. A Ms. Wu came to the festival on Saturday for a second time, having had a wonderful stay here in July.
“It’s very hot in summer so I came to the beach and came across the camping festival. It was a wonderful stay here. We enjoyed a bonfire party at night and basked in the sun and played ball games during daytime,” recalled Ms. Wu of her first stay. “The tent for the day is very convenient for seniors and kids. They can have a rest in there any time,” she added.
DURHAM – It wasn’t part of the plan, but 12-year-old Kevin Roberts slipped on a log Saturday and fell into the cold water of the Eno River during the Durham Parks and Recreation’s Campout! Carolina Jamboree.
Luckily, the Lucas Middle School student had an extra set of clothes to change into while his drenched socks and pants dried out on top of a tent.
But that mishap wasn’t enough to ruin the night for Kevin, who was camping with his grandfather, Michael O’Brien of Durham, at West Point on the Eno Park on Roxboro Road.
They were two of about 80 people who signed up for the annual overnight campout, which included visits from an owl, a hawk and a storyteller.
“This is the first time we’ve gotten to do something together,” O’Brien said as he sat across from his grandson outside his two-person Coleman tent. “This is a good opportunity for families to get together and enjoy themselves.”
As the sun fell, Kevin said he was looking forward to spending the night in the tent, but added: “The only weird thing about it is that at nighttime, it’s going to be really creepy.”
But the atmosphere was far from creepy late Saturday afternoon, as children played football and campers chowed down on hot dogs, chips and casseroles.
O’Brien said he was looking forward to a nice cup of hot chocolate later in the night.
Meanwhile, dozens of wide-eyed spectators watched an owl with even bigger eyes as its handler, Mary McConnell with Piedmont Wildlife Center in Durham, held the animal.
The partially blind owl, named Athena, was rescued from almost certain death and is now doing well. Athena struck a noble pose as one child after another asked questions about her.
“Athena is very calm,” McConnell said. “She’s absolutely wonderful at educational events.”
She said the question people ask the most is: Can owls turn their heads completely around?
The answer is no, but they can rotate them 270 degrees – much more than humans – allowing them to look directly over their backs.
Also at the park was a 3-year-old, red-tailed hawk named Ivan, also being cared for by Piedmont Wildlife.
“They’re really fascinating animals,” said Sam Wolff of Durham, who came to the campout with his wife and two young sons.
“We’re trying to camp more, and we have all this equipment at our house, so this is a very good excuse to use it,” he said.
His son, 6-year-old Emmett Wolff, enjoyed seeing the owl and hawk.
“I like birds,” he said. “My favorite bird is the cardinal – and that hawk.”
Emmett said he liked the owl “because it can turn its head so far.”
Ryan Sailstad, with Durham’s Park and Recreation Department, said it was gratifying to see so many families show up.
“We were worried we wouldn’t have enough people, but as soon as the weather got nice, we got a ton,” he said.
Sailstad was there for campers who needed help setting up their tents, and sleeping bags were available for those who didn’t bring one.
“We try to eliminate factors that prevent people from coming out and camping,” he said. “For me, the most fun part of this is seeing tons of people enjoying the park and having a really good time.”
Seconding that sentiment was Paul Harwood, with cosponsor REI of Durham, an outdoor gear and clothing store.
“I love seeing so many kids out here – this is what we like,” he said. “To us, they’re the next stewards of this land.”
Harwood said the event combines fun with “just enough information to keep them coming back.”
“We love being part of this,” he said. “Mother Nature is the original PlayStation.”