Via Oregon - May/June 2021 - 44

cabinets), but those provided may
vary from park to park. The more
developed campgrounds have coinoperated showers and flushable toilets; others make do with waterless
vault toilets. Depending on price,
you can get sites with electricity
and water, or sites with little more
than a place to pitch your tent.
U.S. Forest Service (USDA)
national forests and grasslands are
home to both developed campgrounds and others equipped with
only the basic fundamentals, such
as pit toilets and hand-pumped
water spigots. Along with the
Bureau of Land Management
(BLM) properties, they're also
known for their dispersed camping,
which is essentially camping in a
cleared area without any additional
features-no toilets, no water, no
firepit, no picnic table. What's
lacking in amenities is made up
for in cost: This type of camping is
typically free of charge.
National park campgrounds

National parks are a little trickier
to analyze, since some-such
as Oregon's Crater Lake and
Wyoming's Grand Teton-have
a mix of government-run and
privately operated campgrounds.
This means campground facilities might vary considerably, even
within the same park.
PRO TIP: It's always a good idea

to carry smaller bills-fives and
tens-for campgrounds that are
self-registration only, says David
Grimes, a park ranger at Oregon's
Crater Lake National Park.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

There are numerous websites and
apps to help you learn about both
public and private campgrounds,
44

V I A | M AY+ J U N E 2 0 2 1

and book your reservations. They
often include details such as the
number of campsites, overnight
fees, and amenities offered.
Recreation.gov focuses on U.S.
federal lands, including national
parks and national wildlife refuges,
while ReserveAmerica.com also
highlights state parks and private
campgrounds (including KOAs).
Other sites include Hipcamp,
Campendium-a user-driven app
that has a section on free camping sites nationwide-and the
Ultimate US Public Campgrounds
app, which features info on nearly
40,000 public campsites that you
can filter for county, U.S. Forest
Service, or military campgrounds.
Campgrounds in popular locations and parks such as California's
Big Sur and Yellowstone National
Park tend to fill up fastest, though
many parks have ample camping
just outside their gates. To avoid
driving an hour outside your destination to pitch a tent, " always book
in advance, if possible, " Grimes recommends. The bulk of both state
parks and national parks open their
online booking windows six to 12
months to the day ahead of time.
It's also a good idea to call
ahead for local weather conditions, including red flag warnings.
These are typically issued when
there's a mix of strong winds, low
humidity, and high temperatures,
resulting in campfire restrictions
and sometimes even site closures.
BE A PLANNER

You've chosen your site and are
ready to start packing. Where
exactly do you begin?
" While weight isn't an issue with
car camping, you do have to think
about space, " says avid camper

Christopher Steen, a Utah resident
who relocated with his family from
New Jersey to take advantage of
the West's outdoors. You want to
pack your vehicle so everything is
easy to find and accessible when
you need it. " A little preorganizing
can go a long way, " he says.
This means keeping camping
supplies well stocked and handy
between trips as well. Steen started
storing all his sleeping gear in one
labeled container, his headlamps
and flashlights in another. " It keeps
me from having to search all over
my garage for a piece of equipment, " he says. Keeping things that
need regular replenishing-such as
batteries and matches-all in one
box also makes it easier to spot and
restock anything that's running
low. " Then, " says Steen, " when
we're ready to roll, we just grab
the containers and go. "
PRO TIP: Before setting off on
your adventure, consider where
you'll be camping, and pack
accordingly. Is your campground
on a beach? While a tall familysize tent might seem like a good
idea initially, sea breezes can get
brutal at night. A tent that's
smaller, sturdier, and low to the
ground will hold up better in
strong winds.

SET UP WISELY

One thing that comes in handy
when setting up camp is a waterproof canopy, which can provide
shade from direct sunlight and
shelter if there's rain or snow.
" Ours is a 12-by-12 foot pop-up, "
says Steen. " I'll put it up, pull it to
the back of our vehicle, and just
start unpacking from there. "
Always look around for any
possible safety hazards, such as
dead trees or branches, before


http://www.Recreation.gov http://www.ReserveAmerica.com

Via Oregon - May/June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Via Oregon - May/June 2021

Contents
Via Oregon - May/June 2021 - Cover1
Via Oregon - May/June 2021 - Cover2
Via Oregon - May/June 2021 - 1
Via Oregon - May/June 2021 - 2
Via Oregon - May/June 2021 - Contents
Via Oregon - May/June 2021 - 4
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