Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds

August 19, 2013 by · Comments Off on Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds 

A view of a portion of Torngat Mountains National Park in northern Labrador.


From The Maine Sunday Telegram:

A Maine attorney attacked by a polar bear last month has returned to his home in Turner, Maine, from Canada and is scheduled to undergo surgery on his jaw.

Matthew Dyer returned home last week after spending three weeks in a Montreal hospital. Dyer’s wife tells the newspaper he flew home Tuesday night and is scheduled for surgery today (Aug. 19).

Dyer was dragged from his tent in Torngat Mountains National Park at the northern tip of Labrador on July 24. He sustained a broken jaw and neck injuries.

The bear broke through an electrified fence that had been set up around the group’s campsite. Dyer’s fellow campers drove the bear away by firing flares.

A Parks Canada spokesman says the group had been advised to hire an armed guard but declined.


From the Knoxville News-Sentinel:

Contributions raised through an annual telethon benefiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park topped $200,000, according to an unofficial total.

The 19th Annual Friends Across the Mountains Telethon, hosted by the nonprofit Friends of the Smokies, raised $201,423 to support a wide variety of rehabilitation projects, environmental education programs and conservation efforts at the park.

That total represents pledges made during the one-hour broadcast Thursday on WBIR, Channel 10, in Knoxville and WLOS, Channel 13, in Asheville, N.C., as well as a direct mail campaign and gifts from sponsors, including Dollywood, Mast General Store, Pilot Flying J and SmartBank.

This year’s fundraising effort also bested last year’s total of more than $192,000.

The nonprofit has committed more than $1.1 million in support to the national park this year. Current projects include the continued rehabilitation of the Chimney Tops Trail, ongoing suppression of the hemlock woolly adelgid and funding for the Parks as Classrooms program, which benefits more than 18,000 students in Tennessee and North Carolina.


From The Southern, Carbondale:

Gov. Pat Quinn recently announced a capital investment of $371,000 for a construction project at Giant City State Park in Jackson County.

“This construction project will upgrade the campground’s sewage treatment system to help it comply with environmental and accessibility requirements,” Quinn said in a news release. “Additionally, it will also employ a number of construction workers, which will help the local economy as well.”

This project is part of the $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which will support more than 439,000 jobs over six years.


From Sunset Magazine:

Sunset Magazine has named what it considers to be the 42 best campgrounds in California.

They are:

  1. Big Basin Redwoods State Park, north of Boulder Creek.
  2. Camp Edison, Shaver Lake, northeast of Fresno.
  3. Cold Springs Campground, Sequoia National Park, east of Three Rivers.
  4. D.L. Bliss State Park, Lake Tahoe.
  5. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, northeast of Crescent City.

A spokeswoman for the magazine said the rankings are obviously subjective. She said the special camping issue is always one of the biggest sellers of the year.


From a news release:

After closures from severe storms, campgrounds 1, 2 and 3 at Roaring River State Park in southern Missouri have reopened.










Aug. 15 Telethon to Aid Smoky Mountains N.P.

August 12, 2013 by · Comments Off on Aug. 15 Telethon to Aid Smoky Mountains N.P. 

Annual telethon is on Thursday.

Friends of the Smokies hosts the 19th Annual Friends Across the Mountains Telethon on Thursday (Aug. 15) to benefit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The event has a long history as the only telethon for a national park and has raised over $2.5 million, the Mountain Xpress, Ashville, N.C., reported.

“This broadcast provides a great chance to learn more about the tremendous national resource that’s right in our own backyard,” said Friends of the Smokies President Jim Hart. “We are very thankful for the generous financial support that viewers provide each year to help the park.”

This year’s broadcast will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST on WLOS-TV Channel 13 in Asheville and WBIR-TV Channel 10 in Knoxville, Tenn. The telethon is generously sponsored by Dollywood, Mast General Store, Pilot Flying J and SmartBank.

Viewers of the Telethon will see many of the projects for which Friends of the Smokies has promised to provide for in 2013. More than $1.1 million will go to support education, conservation, recreation, and historic preservation in the park. Current projects include continued rehabilitation of the Chimney Tops Trail by the Trails Forever crew, ongoing suppression of the hemlock woolly adelgid, and funding for Parks as Classrooms environmental education programs for more than 18,000 students.

Friends of the Smokies is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports the National Park Service in its mission to preserve and protect Great Smoky Mountains National Park by raising funds and public awareness, and providing volunteers for needed projects.

Individuals and business owners have three different ways to make a gift. They can make a donation online today at, they can call Friends’ toll free telethon hotline at 877-884-6867 during the Friends Across the Mountains broadcast and make a pledge over the phone, or they can call Friends of the Smokies and ask for a donation form to be mailed to them (Waynesville NC Office, 828-452-0720; Sevierville TN Office, (865) 932-4794 or (800) 845-5665).


National Park Camping Sites Limited Over 4th

July 10, 2013 by · Comments Off on National Park Camping Sites Limited Over 4th 

Campgrounds in the Great Smoky Mountains were busy during the long July 4th holiday weekend. But this summer, visitors have limited options, WBIR-TV, Knoxville, Tenn., reported.

Federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, went into effect in March. As a result, the National Park Service took a 5% (or $134 million) reduction for the rest of the 2013 fiscal year.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) closed the following campgrounds: Abrams Creek, Look Rock and Baslam Mountain. GSMNP also closed two picnic areas and is managing with a smaller summer staff.

“We tried to choose areas that would be the least impact to our visitors. But we still know that while these are are least visited areas, they’re still somebody’s favorite spot,” said Dana Soehn, a GSMNP spokesperson.

At Look Rock, both the campground and picnic area are still closed.

But despite limited campsites during one of its busiest weeks of the year, they have been able to accommodate. The rain caused some visitors to leave early, leaving space at places like Elkmont.

Elisa Calleiro and her family spent the weekend at Elkmont.

“It would be nice to know that it’s not off limits forever because I have tons of places I’d like to hike to and I’d like to know I can stay there at some point,” Calleiro said.

Soehn said GSMNP is unsure when the three campgrounds will reopen; however, park rangers are still monitoring the areas and helping visitors who stop by for the day.


Three Smoky N.P. Campgrounds Still Closed

May 20, 2013 by · Comments Off on Three Smoky N.P. Campgrounds Still Closed 

With no end in sight for the federal sequestration, many attractions in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park remain closed, WATE-TV, Knoxville, Tenn., reported.

At the beginning of March, park officials closed down three campgrounds and made several other cuts to make do with a smaller budget.

The campgrounds affected – Look Rock, Abrams Creek and Balsam Mountain – remain closed more than two months later.

Park spokeswoman Dana Soehn said the campgrounds were selected because they are the least frequently used.

Those three campgrounds bring in a total of 54,000 visitors a year, but also require a lot of maintenance.

“To operate these campgrounds, it’s like operating a small city. We have sewage systems and water systems that have to be maintained to meet state health standards and then of course there’s the litter pickup and the garbage removal as well as the mowing and just maintaining those sites so that we’re not damaging the resources that are there,” Soehn explained.

Park visitors who prefer the smaller campgrounds say their closure won’t prevent them from returning to the park.

“This year we are limited in which places we can camp out for our spring and summer and fall campouts, so we’re limited to the Elkmont Campground and some of the other ones that are larger, since we can’t stay in Look Rock or any of the smaller ones,” said campers Michele Montgomery and Kent Buske.

The park has more than 3,000 volunteers, and they say their duties haven’t changed even though seasonal hiring has been limited.

“I haven’t seen any change. What I do, I do the back country office here at Sugarlands. In fact, we have four rangers and more volunteers than we had last year,” said Herb Payne, who has volunteered at the park for 18 years.

With Washington no closer to a resolution on the sequestration issue, park officials do not have a timeframe for when the recreation areas might reopen.

The National Park Service maintains developed campgrounds at seven other locations in the park:

• Big Creek
• Cades Cove
• Cataloochee
• Cosby
• Deep Creek
• Elkmont
• Smokemont

Click here to watch a video on this story.




Entrepreneurs Discuss Sequestration’s Impact

March 1, 2013 by · Comments Off on Entrepreneurs Discuss Sequestration’s Impact 

Businesses that rely on national parks and their settings voiced concern Thursday (Feb. 28) over how the coming federal budget sequestration will affect their operations and the economies in their areas, National Parks Traveler reported.

“The basic truth is that gateway community businesses depend on our national parks being open and properly funded. Our economy depends on their economy,” said Luke D. Hyde, owner of the Calhoun Country Inn near Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Bryson City, N.C.

While the National Park Service continued Thursday to sort through the details of what operations and staffing would be affected by a 5.1% budget cut if Congress and the White House fail to agree on a solution before today ends, nearly 300 businesses from across the country warned of the direct impacts the sequestration would have if it’s long-lasting.

The businesses were brought together by the National Parks Conservation Association to put a face on those beyond federal employees who stand to be affected by the budget cuts.

Click here to read the entire story.



Smoky Mountain Road Repair Cost: $3.9M

February 21, 2013 by · Comments Off on Smoky Mountain Road Repair Cost: $3.9M 

If all goes as planned, motorists will be able to cross Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee on the Newfound Gap Road by mid-May, the date set for completion of repairs to a stretch of road swept away by landslide in January, National Parks Traveler reported.

The Federal Highways Administration on Wednesday (Feb. 20) awarded a contract to rebuild the road to Phillips & Jordan Inc. of Robinsville, N.C. The contract was awarded for the submitted bid of $3,989,890 and came with a completion date set at May 15.

Click here to read the entire story.


The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs

February 8, 2013 by · Comments Off on The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs 


From National Parks Traveler:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which already has lost its main road to a rain-induced landslide, continues to suffer from torrential rains that are washing out other roads. Even the 70-foot-long foot bridge along the popular Chimney Tops Trail has been knocked out by the rains.

Flooding last week has led to the temporary closure of sections of gravel roads within several popular areas. Closed areas include Greenbrier Road past the Greenbrier Ranger Station, Cataloochee Road past Palmer Chapel, and Parson’s Branch Road, park officials said Thursday afternoon.

Click here to read the entire story.


From KPAX-TV, Missoula:

Comments are now being accepted on plans to increase fees, and allow for site reservations, at several overnight campsites at Glacier National Park.

Overnight camping would increase from $20 to $23 in June 2014, and visitors would be able to reserve specific sites at about half of the park’s National Recreation Reservation System sites, according to a Glacier Park press release.

The plan would also allow some reservations at the Many Glacier Campground, which is currently a first-come-first-serve campground.

People with senior or special national access passes would still get a half-off discount on camping fees.

Park officials say the increase off-sets the charges from the reservation service provider.


From The Chamberlain/Oacoma Sun:

Visitors planning camping trips to South Dakota state parks and recreation areas will notice changes when reserving campsites this year.

The Department of Game, Fish and Parks has implemented a new reservation system, and state park officials are asking campers to be patient while the final touches are put on the reservation website.

“The new website is still a work in progress, and we will have all of the features that campers are used to, up and running soon,” said state Parks and Recreation Director Doug Hofer.

In the meantime, campers wishing to book more than one campsite at a time are asked to reserve them through the call center at (800) 710-2267.

The website will also be adding a campsite availability calendar and customer logins.

Reservations for camping in most state parks can be made within 90 days of arrival dates. The first day to make reservations for the annual Open House Weekend is Feb. 16 for a May 17 arrival. During Open House Weekend, no park entrance fees are charged, but camping fees still apply.

Reservations for Memorial Day weekend can be made beginning Feb. 23 for a May 24 arrival. Reservations can be made one year in advance for campsites at Custer State Park and for lodges in all state parks and recreation areas.


Park Road Rebuild Price Tag Up to $7 Million

January 30, 2013 by · Comments Off on Park Road Rebuild Price Tag Up to $7 Million 

Road crews were busy Tuesday working to stabilize the earth where a landslide took out a stretch of the Newfound Gap Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. NPS photo by Molly Schroer.

Estimates to rebuild the severed Newfound Gap Road across Great Smoky Mountains National Park range from $3 million to $7 million, with construction expected to begin late next month or in March, National Parks Traveler reported.

Already some $200,000 has been allocated for a contractor to stablize the area where roughly 200 feet of the road was swept away by a landslide earlier this month. That work will involve creating an access road to the slide area, removing debris, and stabilizing the slope above the work area, park officials said Tuesday (Jan. 29).

Click here to read the entire story.

Road Rebuild in Smokies Will Take Some Time

January 24, 2013 by · Comments Off on Road Rebuild in Smokies Will Take Some Time 

Newfound Gap Road remains impassible in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, thanks to a Jan. 16 landslide that wiped out a 200-foot section of the highway. Photo courtesy of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

While engineers have completed their initial assessment on the blown-out section of the Newfound Gap Road across Great Smoky Mountains National Park, they have no timetable yet for when the road will be rebuilt and open for traffic, National Parks Traveler reported.

The Federal Highways Administration engineers now are in the initial stage of preparation work to reconstruct the 200 linear feet of road washed out by a muddy landslide back on Jan. 16.

While the access from Gatlinburg, Tenn., to Cherokee, N.C., will remain closed during the construction period, Newfound Gap Road has been opened from the Gatlinburg entrance to Newfound Gap, and from the Cherokee entrance to Smokemont Campground. Visitors who want to sightsee and recreate in the park will still find opportunities through both entrances.

Orange pin marks location of Smokemont Campground, located at elevation of 2,200 feet in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Click here to read the entire story.



The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs

January 17, 2013 by · Comments Off on The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs 


From National Parks Traveler:

A landslide possibly triggered by heavy rains has severed the main route across Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Newfound Gap Road, and it could be a while before the road reopens, park officials said Wednesday (Jan. 16).

The stretch in question is near mile marker 22 between Collins Creeks and Webb Overlook on the North Carolina side of the park. Park officials estimated the slide to involve a 300-foot section of road extending 1,000 feet down slope and encompassing roughly 90,000 cubic yards of material. The closure is expected to be in effect for an extended period of time.


From WHO-TV Des Moines, and the Quad Cities Times:

Campers spent 709,595 days in Iowa state parks in 2012, a 4% increase from 684,417 over the previous year, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Lewis and Clark State Park in Western Iowa was the most popular spot.

Authorities say the increase was likely due to warmer than usual spring weather and an early start to the camping season.

The DNR reported the top 10 parks for camping nights were: Lewis and Clark State Park, Rock Creek State Park, Viking Lake State Park, Lake Ahquabi State Park, Clear Lake State Park, Lake Anita State Park, Ledges State Park, Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, Marble Beach State Recreation Area and Backbone State Park.

From KTIV-TV, Sioux City:

The Sioux City City Council is thinking about approving the funding needed to build a campground at Bacon Creek Park.

They discussed the facility Tuesday (Jan. 15) in their annual budget talks.

Cost is about $1 million capital improvement dollars, spread out amongst fiscal years 2014 through 2016.

The site would accommodate both tents and RVs. City officials say it’s a chance to increase Sioux City’s appeal.

“The idea is to have some camping opportunities for people that come into Sioux City. We want to be a destination,” said Parks Maintenance Field Supervisor Kelly Bach.

The funding is pending the city council’s approval in February.


From a news release:

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced this week the launch of its new Geographic Information System (GIS)-based site that provides up-to-date interactive maps and information about recreational opportunities at Tennessee State Parks and natural areas. Plans also are under way to incorporate GIS information about state historical and archaeological sites in the future.

The new application offers an easily navigable portal to access a map of TDEC-managed lands. This GIS-based Internet mapping system has been integrated into TDEC’s existing infrastructure to provide a wealth of geospatial information, including core GIS tools, templates and applications. These new interactive maps and layers also are designed to help TDEC improve operations and communicate more effectively with the public, while saving both time and money.

“Created internally by TDEC employees, the launch is the result of a collaborative effort across many levels of the department,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Over the past several years, staff has transitioned existing data into an Oracle database – moving away from traditional data storage. Last year, we moved forward with plans to serve a public-facing GIS application within the department, giving staff the ability to manage the data and the actual site both effectively and cost-efficiently with no additional costs to the department.”

Links to the new interactive portal can be found on Tennessee State Parks’ website at or via the Tennessee Natural Areas’ website at

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