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Category: State & National Parks

Human Encounters with Bears Turn Deadly

August 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Human Encounters with Bears Turn Deadly

Recent media reports detail numerous human encounters with black bears. This black bear wants his food and he is waiting patiently. DO NOT FEED BEARS! (Source: Thomas J/travelooce.com) In most instances the bears became food-conditioned, lost their natural fear of humans, and become a threat as they roamed in search of an easy meal. These bear was either relocated or euthanized by rangers because they posed an obvious human safety risk to campers. Several samples of these reports follow. Black Bear Killed at Yellowstone Campground The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that a black bear that refused to leave a Yellowstone National Park campground after getting a taste of human food there was killed by park staff. The 142-pound adult male black bear entered the Canyon Campground and came within six feet of a man and woman eating. The campers backed off, and the bear ate some of the food off their table. It then went through their garbage and pawed at their tent. As the bear left their campsite,... [Read more...]

RVing in Yellowstone

August 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

RVing in Yellowstone

This past month I took one of the most traditional of all road trips to Yellowstone National Park. As fate would have it, my RV would break down in West Yellowstone. Hence, I got an extended journey and learned many of the do’s and don’ts of visiting Yellowstone in an RV. When to Go With nothing else to do while the RV was being repaired I began peppering my mechanic with a number of different questions about the park. I was amazed to learn that most of the park didn’t actually open until the end of April. At that point, though, the park is still “melting” and cold. The rivers are running 3x the height of their summer levels and much of the park still has snow on the ground. Around Memorial day the park becomes a free-for-all of foreign tourism and thousands of visitors pile in. On the late July day I was there, the lines at the entrance gate backed up for several miles. Visitors drop off amazingly fast during the third week of August. With kids going back to school our mechanic... [Read more...]

A Campground Underwater

August 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A Campground Underwater

During the recession we saw many campgrounds go underwater and close down. That was financially, though. What happens when a campground is literally underwater? Obviously it closes, but how do they deal with all that water? As it turns out, that is exactly the problem they had to deal with McGrath Beach State Park in California. Campgrounds current resemble a marsh or lake Summers in California mean every campsite on a beach is taken. Demand is high and so when a beach campground goes down, especially one in a densely populated area such as Ventura County (where Good Sam has an office) there is a large demand to get it reopen as fast as possible. Beautiful Sunsets at McGrath McGrath is located at the mouth of the Santa Clara river that drains most of northern Los Angeles County. Each winter the river swells with the winter rain bringing everything from sand to rocks downstream. By spring time, though, the river begins to dry. The sediment it brought down with the heavy rains soon forms... [Read more...]

Prepare for Stormy Weather with Quick Exit Plan

August 6, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Prepare for Stormy Weather with Quick Exit Plan

Given the rash of severe weather that’s been striking the United States and Canada this spring and summer, it would be prudent for all campers and RVers to have a quick exit plan in place regardless of where you travel. Following heavy rains in the mountains a wash separating the campground from the entrance road at Catalina State Park near Tucson flooded stranding campers for several days. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Water is a major feature at numerous campgrounds and RV parks. Many state and provincial parks and other public recreation areas are in low-lying areas that are susceptible to flooding during periods of heavy precipitation. Access to current weather reports and related information—weather radio, mobile wireless phone, satellite radio—will enable campers to be on top of the weather and to take proactive measures in the event of high waters, flood, thunderstorms, or other severe weather conditions. Be Prepared  Be prepared for changing weather conditions. Make sure... [Read more...]

Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer

August 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas—often dubbed the Silent Killer— that is toxic and the number one cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. Carbon monoxide can kill quickly if inhaled in high concentrations and can be particularly dangerous in recreational vehicles. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels. Appliances fueled with gas, oil, kerosene, or wood may produce CO. If such appliances are not installed, maintained, and used properly, carbon monoxide may accumulate to dangerous and even deadly levels in recreational vehicles, cars, homes, or poorly ventilated areas. The symptoms of poisoning are similar to flu or food poisoning and include headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Although not always experienced, the initial symptoms of carbon monoxide are similar to an upset stomach or the flu (but without the fever). The symptoms include: Dizziness Fatigue Headache Nausea Irregular breathing It is critical... [Read more...]

Top 10 National Parks for Camping

July 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Top 10 National Parks for Camping

Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved National parks provide the opportunity to explore nature at its best. From the diversity of beautiful wildlife to the endless possibilities in their miles of trails these parks have much to offer in new experiences, sights, and sounds. Camping in America’s national parks allows a visitor to more fully appreciate the beauty of America’s natural treasures. There are many opportunities for camping at national parks with several different types of camping from which to choose. This ranges from camping at full-facility campgrounds, to backcountry camping with limited facilities, to wilderness camping where you might find no facilities at all. From a planning standpoint, campgrounds can generally be divided into two categories: Campgrounds that accept reservations Campgrounds that operate on a first-come, first-served basis If... [Read more...]

National Parks without the Crowds

July 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

National Parks without the Crowds

RVers love national parks. Visitors can explore Congaree National Park by canoe, kayak, or on foot by using the over 25 miles of hiking trails and 2.4 miles of the Boardwalk Loop Trail. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved From snow-capped glacial peaks to meandering coastal shorelines and from white sand deserts to steep gorges and canyons, some of America’s most awe-inspiring natural attractions are found within its extensive national park system. Most people know about the popular and most-visited parks including Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, and Zion. Coping with crowds at national parks can get tiresome, especially during peak travel seasons. America is jam packed with national parks but the problem is that the most popular are just that—popular. They’re often crowded with loud tourists, littered with garbage people simply can’t seem to take home with them, or slowed down by traffic jams as tourists stop to take pictures of wildlife or search for... [Read more...]

Oklahoma City National Memorial…

June 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Oklahoma City National Memorial…

    Earlier this month, we were blessed with the opportunity to take a trip to Moore, OK, to help with the tornado cleanup relief efforts there.  While we were in Moore, we took a Sunday afternoon and went to the Oklahoma City National Memorial.  Since we travel with kids of all ages, I was curious as to how the National Park Service would handle such a tragedy – namely, if it would be appropriate for my littles to visit, or if it would be overwhelmingly sorrowful. We found out that, actually, this memorial isn’t officially a National Park, but the park service has a presence here; the park service is only an affiliate, and the OKC National Memorial Foundation owns and runs the grounds, all on private funding (no NPS monies). The outside memorial grounds are open 24/7, and the park service provides rangers (there are also onsite, armed, security); during the summer, the rangers are there until 10pm!      The Jr. Ranger books here are great for little ones! ... [Read more...]

Ancient Desert Water Hole: Montezuma Well

June 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Ancient Desert Water Hole: Montezuma Well

Montezuma Well is a detached unit of Montezuma Castle National Monument located approximately 11 miles north of the park. It’s not actually a well and has nothing to do with Montezuma but being wrongly named doesn’t detract at all from its serene beauty. It’s NOT a well and Montezuma was never here! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved This unique geological feature is a limestone sink formed long ago by the collapse of an immense underground cavern. This continuous flow of warm, fresh water has created a lush, verdant oasis in the middle of desert grassland. Such a reliable source of life-giving water has lured humans for thousands of years, although Montezuma was never one of them. Early settlers to the area believed that the exquisitely-preserved five-story cliff dwelling belonged to Aztec emperor Montezuma. In truth, the “castle” was built by the Sinagua and was deserted a century before Montezuma was born. Yet the name stuck to both the ruins and the beautiful pond which... [Read more...]

Raystown Lake

June 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Raystown Lake

As an avid camper I hate to admit that I have only had the RV out once this Spring. My oldest son was getting married so I’ve been a little busy.  The one trip I was able to take was over Mothers Day Weekend and our travels carried us to Raystown Lake, in the heart of Central Pennsylvania. Raystown Lake is by far one of my favorite camping spots especially before Memorial Day and after Labor Day because during those times, it’s first come, first serve and that means that you have the opportunity to camp right on the water! Raystown Lake has been referred to as the Crowned Jewel of Central Pennsylvania; 126 miles of shoreline on 28 miles of lake  and is operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. Raystown has beautiful campgrounds with electric hookups at every sight, hot showers, and if you get there at the right time of year you can step out of your RV and cast your line into the lake. Our campsite was located within the Point Campground Loop at 7-Points. We were lucky that... [Read more...]

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