No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

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No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  Richard on Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:30 pm

When I camped with the Cleveland Chapter of the club (Headed up by Alan Bivens) at Harrison Bay State Park on July 4th weekend, there were no sites being held with tents, for later replacement with an RV. I did see a pop-up that was sitting on a site for a night that wasn't popped up, but none of the "pup-tent reservation system". I asked about this and Alan's buddies told me that Harrison Bay has put a stop to the practice. I was told that if you put up a tent to hold the site, and then replace it with a camper, you would be ordered to leave. There were people that came around and noted who was camping and what they were camping in.

Does anyone know if any other TN State Parks have started cracking down on the "tent site holders"? I sure hope they all do. It would be a lot more fair.

Harrison Bay was great. I didn't get a site in the "A loop" near the playground this time, but with a bit of odd backing, I managed to get a really nice site with some privacy and near the lake on the "dreaded B-loop" (Alan repordedly refuses to camp in B-loop). All in all, it wasn't a bad site at all, just really, really, very, completely unlevel, front to back. Side to side was fine. Again, a bit of creative angled placement of the pup fixed that issue completely. I'd take that site again.
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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  coolbreeze1 on Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:06 am

Glad to hear that they have stopped the tent holding. Just wish all of the state parks would follow their lead.
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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  chuck on Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:18 am

ok.. we have discussed this before.. but I just have to say.. although the "tent holding" of a campsite ticks me off too (when it's a site I want),.. I don't think its wrong, as long as the tent owner is paying for the days he has the tent on the site. If I am paying for the site.. its up to me whether I use it or not.

The best way to really make it "fair" for everyone.. is for the state parks to accept phone or online reservations.

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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  tenndon on Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:55 am

Well said Chuck! It is time for Tennessee to quit promising a reservation system very soon and finally implement a system. ReserveAmerica is a good service and I do not understand why TN won't use them. I have used them in other states with no problems at all and great customer service when changes are needed.

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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  coolbreeze1 on Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:23 pm

tenndon wrote:Well said Chuck! It is time for Tennessee to quit promising a reservation system very soon and finally implement a system. ReserveAmerica is a good service and I do not understand why TN won't use them. I have used them in other states with no problems at all and great customer service when changes are needed.

Peace and Grace,
Don
Totally agree, Tennessee needs to have a reservation system. I would love to goto some of the state parks but worry that there want be a space when I get there. Shocked
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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  SouthWestyKim on Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:12 pm

+1 What Chuck said... Cool

Kim Cool


Last edited by SouthWestyKim on Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  Richard on Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:55 pm

I agree on the need for a reservation system 100%. At least for some of the sites, if not for all of them.

Still, the tents make "first come" a joke. Those willing to pay more by buying estra nights just run up the overall price of state park camping. They are tying up resources that others could use. Drop the camper if you like, but don't pitch that tent you have no intention of sleeping in, just to keep others from using the site. Reservations would end all this foolishness.
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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  TEllis on Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:09 pm

I have never understood why Tenn doesn't have a reservation system. It makes things so much better. I agree with the no tent.

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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  TEllis on Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:58 am

Need some info on this. Is this a Tennesse state law now or just park by park? Reason I ask, A friend of mine went to Panther Creek park this weekend --- one site had a tent ( on Pavement with a rock inside to hold down, another site had a small hunting blind on pavement with rock and one more with just a chair. When he went to the office they told him that they didn't have enough rangers to take care of that and to just throw the stuff off the site if he wanted that one. He didn't because he didn't want to cause an uproar to his weekend. He later sat and watched them role in late that evening-- pick the stuff up and back in. What is the law if any? They acted ( at office ) like they could have cared less.... What would they do if you didn't pay, bet ranger would be out there then...

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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  Richard on Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:10 pm

I think, but have no certain knowledge, that the rule is that you have to set up and occupy the campsite. The problem is that enforcement varies from park to park. I can just imagine the fight your friend would have had if he moved the other people's stuff. In my not so humble opinion it is the job of the park staff to enforce the park rules. I agree completely that if they have enough staff to make sure everyone pays, they have enough staff to make sure the rest of the rules are followed. "Throw the stuff off the site", yeah, and have a fun weekend with those people around. It's a campground, not a battle ground.
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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  TEllis on Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:56 pm

He had arrived on Thursday and there were plenty of sites but was amazed at these three being held that way and then they didn't arrive until Friday evening. Friday morning others came a locked in their spots with little throw up tents as well. He had drove three hrs with his family and didn't want any problems but thought it funny how they did and then the park staff... No help at all.

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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  chuck on Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:48 am

if I put my little tent and a chair on a site wed.. in order to hold it until fri.. and I pay.. unless there is a STATE, LOCAL or FEDRAL LAW agaisnt it.. they had better not throw my stuff off of it. I could file a civil suit.. and I would win.


Richard wrote:Those willing to pay more by buying estra nights just run up the overall price of state park camping. They are tying up resources that others could use.
How would they be "Running up the price"? Most likely they are setting up and holding a site on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.. that would probably be empty those days. Seems they are generating a few nights of extra rent $$ for the State Park. It most cases,.. other campers are ticked because they roll in on Thursday or Friday and can't get their favorite spot.. not because the sites are slim picken in the middle of the week.


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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  merrykalia on Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:50 am

I will jump in here with my opinion. If I pay for my site for one night of seven nights, it is absolutely nobody's business what I do with it....if I put up a little tent, if I put up a big tent, if I park a big motorhome on it or if I just put a little chair on it.

Now, if I don't pay for the site and I put something on there to hold it for me for a few nights, THEN it is up for grabs and the ranger or whomever can take it off of that site for being abandoned property.

There were many nights when I was camphosting that we had motorcycles come in, pay for their site, lay out their sleeping bag (because that's all they had) and take off on their bikes to get something to eat. No one had the right to go take their site just because they didn't have a big RV on it to show that it was being used by a REAL camper!

I have had this happen to me - we were planning to spend a holiday weekend at Flag Rock - the whole family (if you've seen my whole family, there are plenty of us). My nephew had to go to work at noon, so he went up and put out his tent, paid for the site for 5 days with my $, then left. We were planning to take our TT up after work at 3:00 pm on the same site. My brother was coming up with his tent about the same time we were taking our TT up.

A person that we knew, who was on another site, but had to move his MH took it upon himself to take our tent down, lay it beside the road and move his MH onto our site. Let me tell you, I was incensed (ticked, POed, etc.) and I sure let him know it. Since he was a "supposed" friend, I just moved our stuff to the other campground and didn't pursue it further, but I did let him know how I felt about it.

OK, that's my rant! I'm done!


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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  coolbreeze1 on Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:15 am

merrykalia wrote:I will jump in here with my opinion. If I pay for my site for one night of seven nights, it is absolutely nobody's business what I do with it....if I put up a little tent, if I put up a big tent, if I park a big motorhome on it or if I just put a little chair on it.

Now, if I don't pay for the site and I put something on there to hold it for me for a few nights, THEN it is up for grabs and the ranger or whomever can take it off of that site for being abandoned property.

There were many nights when I was camphosting that we had motorcycles come in, pay for their site, lay out their sleeping bag (because that's all they had) and take off on their bikes to get something to eat. No one had the right to go take their site just because they didn't have a big RV on it to show that it was being used by a REAL camper!

I have had this happen to me - we were planning to spend a holiday weekend at Flag Rock - the whole family (if you've seen my whole family, there are plenty of us). My nephew had to go to work at noon, so he went up and put out his tent, paid for the site for 5 days with my $, then left. We were planning to take our TT up after work at 3:00 pm on the same site. My brother was coming up with his tent about the same time we were taking our TT up.

A person that we knew, who was on another site, but had to move his MH took it upon himself to take our tent down, lay it beside the road and move his MH onto our site. Let me tell you, I was incensed (ticked, POed, etc.) and I sure let him know it. Since he was a "supposed" friend, I just moved our stuff to the other campground and didn't pursue it further, but I did let him know how I felt about it.

OK, that's my rant! I'm done!

I can see your point to this Donna. However, I feel that it is unfair to hold a spot just because your not able to bring your camper, and that your close enough to get to the camp ground. It hurts those who are farther away of having the chance to camp there. The only true solution is to have a reservation system in place. This solves the problems for both sides.
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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  TEllis on Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:55 am

I agree to some degree here ( if they have paid ) for the site, they can do whatever or put up whatever. But it makes it good for the locals and bad for the travlers. Good for the state if they are paying for those nights not so good if not. I do agree that the best way to handle this is the reservation system in place. Takes out all of the grey areas ( Black/White ) and then you are done with it. To many unknowns the other way. Make friends with the Ranger and you have it made... He or she has to live close by, correct.

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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  Richard on Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:31 pm

Sure it runs up the price. If I can afford to pay the six night price to only use three, then the price of that site doubles for a three-day use.

The rule is supposed to be that you set-up and occupy the site. You cannot just go pay for a site and put your tag on it, you have to setup to camp. My beef isn't with holding the site for a few hours, it's taking up the prime spots when you aren't really set-up.

If you try to really play by the first-come rules, you get screwed. If you do a fake-setup, and can afford the extra nights, you have a "pup tent" reservation system. I don't have a problem with tent campers in RV sites. I have a problem with those that can afford to pay for extra nights they have no intention of really using taking advantage of the system.

If there are rules, they need to be enforced. For those of us that don't like the rules, we can camp elsewhere. It's just that the rules are way too fuzzy. It's like the setup rule had the right intention, but to increase state park revenues, the local parks have decided to not enforce it.

Why can't these state parks come right out and say that the only way to reserve a spot is to pay for the days between now and when you plan to actually use it. The lax enforcement of the "setup" rule is just wrong. Either have a rule or don't have it.
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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  chuck on Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:37 pm

A reservation SYSTEM is the fairest.. but there are those who would still cry because they didn't, couldn't, wouldn't or just forgot to make reservations. When they arrive and see all the "RESERVED" markers.. they won't think that's fair either.

Donna.. I agree! If you pay for it.. its your business what you do with it.

As for RULES.. I wonder what the official rules for TN STATE PARKS are.. does anyone really know? Seems that I read somewhere, sometime.. that if you put something you could camp in, on the site.. it was acceptable. something like a tent, vehicle, etc.. not a lawn chair.

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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  merrykalia on Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:29 am

chuck wrote: Seems that I read somewhere, sometime.. that if you put something you could camp in, on the site.. it was acceptable. something like a tent, vehicle, etc.. not a lawn chair.

The only thing about that is that if someone is in a Class A, B or C and take it out to "look at the sights", they have no camping unit on the site, just some assorted "stuff" that they can leave out, like a chair.

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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  TEllis on Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:52 pm

He has an e-mail in to TNGov asking about this, to find out what is the Reg's. He just didn't like the responses from the office and how it was handled.Throw you to the wolves, they did. He told me that he did send in a complaint to them as well. I like how HMSP does: make a reservation for the campground but not your preferred spot. Once you have signed in at the office and then drive into the campground to pick out the spot. They also give you a med size yellow card with your checkout date to afix to post at front of site.

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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  merrykalia on Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:44 pm

TEllis wrote: I like how HMSP does: make a reservation for the campground but not your preferred spot. Once you have signed in at the office and then drive into the campground to pick out the spot. They also give you a med size yellow card with your checkout date to afix to post at front of site.

I think all of the Va State Parks do this. That was my job as the camp host to give out all of the "occupied" sign post signs, swimming passes, car passes and information about the park and VSP's. There were many times, especially weekends, that we were full and we had people that would come in to get a site and not be able to because all the sites were taken. Most that came from TN and couldn't get a site were very upset because there would be plenty of empty sites and they didn't understand that people had them reserved.

I think that works great - you reserve a site in a campground (NT has 2 different ones), then you pick the site when you get there. You had to be there in person to get your sign-in paperwork. After you posted your sign, you must have SOME TYPE of stuff on it; be it chairs, tent, RV, sleeping bag, bicycles, or vehicle.

The park manager said the regulations used to say that you had some type of camping unit on it, but it was changed for the reason I stated above - some have Class A, B and C's that they would take off the site to sightsee.

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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  coolbreeze1 on Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:16 pm

merrykalia wrote:
TEllis wrote: I like how HMSP does: make a reservation for the campground but not your preferred spot. Once you have signed in at the office and then drive into the campground to pick out the spot. They also give you a med size yellow card with your checkout date to afix to post at front of site.

I think all of the Va State Parks do this. That was my job as the camp host to give out all of the "occupied" sign post signs, swimming passes, car passes and information about the park and VSP's. There were many times, especially weekends, that we were full and we had people that would come in to get a site and not be able to because all the sites were taken. Most that came from TN and couldn't get a site were very upset because there would be plenty of empty sites and they didn't understand that people had them reserved.

I think that works great - you reserve a site in a campground (NT has 2 different ones), then you pick the site when you get there. You had to be there in person to get your sign-in paperwork. After you posted your sign, you must have SOME TYPE of stuff on it; be it chairs, tent, RV, sleeping bag, bicycles, or vehicle.

The park manager said the regulations used to say that you had some type of camping unit on it, but it was changed for the reason I stated above - some have Class A, B and C's that they would take off the site to sightsee.
I like the way that Natural Tunnel does their reservation. You don't get the site until you arrive and see the camp host. I can make my reservation right in the comfort of my home, and know when I get there, I will have a spot.
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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  Richard on Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:59 pm

I like a reservation system. Even if I decide to go last minute, I could call and get a reservation before I head out. It's sad when the kids are excited about camping someplace and we have to find an alternative because it was full when we got there. Why doesn't TN put one in for the state parks? They don't have to, that's why.
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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  TEllis on Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:32 pm

He received this answer back today:

"Thank you for taking time to share your concerns with us. I will address your concerns as best I can. Current campground policy allows for a individual to rent a campsite if they have a camping unit to occupy the site at that time, it does not specify what type of camping unit it has to be, so it can be a tent, pop-up, or trailer. In no way can a hunting blind or chair,etc be used. If you have a situation like this occur once again please notifiy the Ranger on duty or their superior. Tennessee State Parks is currently working to implement a Campground reservation system that is scheduled to be up and running in 2012, and this should address many of your concerns. I hope this addresses your concerns. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact me. Michael Robertson Park Area ManagerTennessee State Parks"

So it looks like to me that you can not just go in a place anything on the spot to hold it until you come back, paid or not. It must be a camping unit and placed there at the time of payment. I sure hope that they get the reservation system up and going. Like I have said, it will take out the grey areas.

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Re: No more using a tent to hold a site???!!! Yea!

Post  Richard on Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:24 pm

That's good news. I also hope they get the reservation system established.
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