Corps of Engineers' Camping Site Use Growing
Editor's Note: Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), shared these numbers on the role the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plays in the nation's camping industry.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the nation's top federal recreation provider, with roughly 50% more annual visitor days than the NPS.
The secret is that Corps recreation sites are virtually all water-connected, and as we've know for years, water is the No. 1 recreation magnet. Not only do people want to play in and on the water — they enjoy the visual aspect of camping. picnicking and hiking/biking near water.
The Corps' camping numbers for the past 10 years are shown in the displayed chart. Camping was up notably in 2009 versus 2008 — but is still pretty comparable to levels of 2001-7:
There are a few more useful stats:
The Corps' campsite inventory has been pretty stable, with about 39,500 sites available for advance reservations through the National Recreation Reservations System (NRRS) — which also provides campground reservation service for the other federal agencies like NPS and FS. Overall, about 73% of the total Corps campsites are reservable online and by phone. The chart shows that advance reservations have been steadily increasing over the decade at an average of about +6.5% yearly, and advance reservations eclipsed "walk-up" campsite stays in 2008. Proof that technology is at work in the Great Outdoors.