...Don't know if the NP system is like the COE, but being Government I'd expect it is as convoluted. COE is funded out of Dept of Defense funding but the fees collected go into the General Fund...Under the current fee program, 85% of the fees collected at National Parks, National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges and Bureau of Land Management facilities stay at the location where collected. The other 15% goes to the agency. There some proponents of returning to a system of having all revenues go to the treasury and then Congress appropriating the funds.
...3 weeks ago I met with the Super. and his staff of Wind Cave NP to discuss the reason for the closure of the Elk Mountain camp there. Under sequester, they must reduce spending. They cannot reduce spending on managing the land, wildlife and features of the park. What's left? The electives like the campground, visitor services. Sadly these are the most visible features to the traveler, are not targeted for political reasons for media exposure of the reduction of service...Having worked for the land management agencies in previous tough economic times, there are almost always multiple ways to cut costs such as: cutting or eliminating non-essential training (i.e. that not required by law such as law enforcement, paramedic, etc.), cutting or eliminating non-essential travel and conferences, replacing vehicles and other equipment based on actual need not age, smarter procurement, re-evaluation of land management and wildlife management practices challenging the "this is the way we have always done it" mentality, re-evaluation of staffing requirements to ensure that staff is performing the most important functions and identify those functions which can be eliminated or deferred, consolidating administrative functions, etc. The use of volunteers has been mentioned, but there are also often opportunities to partner with groups, organizations and industry such as was the case in Yellowstone to get the roads plowed.
Not seasonal, Yellowstone is open all year, with winter sports as well. Not all roads are plowed tho ...
Yellowstone may be open in the winter, but visitation is low which is why I said it is mostly seasonal. If you look at Yellowstone's Visitation less than 4% occurs in the winter. The total November - April visitation is lower than the lowest other month. Great Smokey Mountains NP lowest winter month visitation is nearly 10 times that of Yellowstones highest winter month and twice Yellows total winter visitation.
There has always been some variation and controversy in how the numbers are collected at each park. Parks with no entry gates/fees or unrestricted drive thrus have to estmate the number of passengers in a vehicle even if they have traffic counters on all the roads. Independance National Park was not listed in the top 10, so I imagine that they do not count/estmate the number of people that walk/drive down the streets through the park every day as visitors. Yellowstone for the most part is a seasonal park with a relatively short summer season, so peak daily visitation or percent of facility capacity used may be more indicative of use/crowds than annual visitation. Fuel prices as well as spring and fall weather variations contribute to annual variations in visitation to remote and high altitude parks like Yellowstone. Sometimes the variations in total numbers are not as great as the variations in the type/mode of visit. With variations in fuel prices; the number of tenters/backpackers, Rvers and motel visitors may move in opposite directions as may stays in park service campgrounds versus concession campgrounds.
One can spend many hours pondering the National Parks' Visitor Statistics. Much more interesting, in my opinion, to just get out there and start visiting them. If you make it to all the Parks, then there are the National Monuments and Historic Sites. Over 400 locations and growing.
...Though there is a real decrease in actual funding, it seems to me that the parks have taken the approach of maximizing the impact on the public, probably to make a point...
I tried looking at the actual appropriations to see if there is actually a decrease in funding or a decrease in the increase. Since there is not a final appropriations bill for 2013 it was impossible to tell for sure. The Park Service actually requested slightly less in 2011 ($3.14 billion) than was appropriated in 2010($3.16 billion) so it is very hard to say what impact the sequester will have. It could all change when/if the 2013 final appropriations bill is passed. There is often a lot of gamesmanship by the agencies and their advocates at budget time to get the public to influence their representatives regarding funding.
I have not kept track of the weather in Yellowstone this year, but changes in the road opening dates is not all that unusual. I remember a year in the 1970s when I was working in Yellowstone that the Beartooth did not open until late July and then closed early due to heavy snow. The recent run up in fuel prices could also have an effect on plowing operations. It would be interesting to know if they have delayed the reporting dates for any/many of the seasonal employees?
Whatever vendor you get, supplement that with a WiFi Ranger Sky. It will give you a strong signal amplified from anything that's available as a hotspot.
Since you say you need a lot of band width, I would suggest that you look at ways to supplement your cellular with park WIFI. Wifi Ranger makes some decent products, but I personally do not think that the Sky is the best way to do that. It introduces another hop to your WIFI connection so introduces more speed loss. Using an external CPE like the previous WFR Boost or the new Mobile connected to a router gives you an outdoor amplified antenna plus the lower speed loss of a two radio repeater with only one hop from the AP. The WFR routers are setup to work with the Ubiquity products so that even though they no longer sell the Boost, you can create your own pretty easily if you do not need all the features and extra cost of the Mobile.
The last time we were at Dancing Eagle it had W/E only and a dump. Many of the sites were backin around the perimeter with some pull-thrus in the center. Sky City RV Park also West of Albuquerque has more sites (all pull-thru) with full hookups for $15.
Both are good for overnight. Both have fuel stations with easy access for large vehicles. I have noticed folks dry camping in the parking lots of both.
The casino at Sky City is much larger. There is a McDonalds and laundry near the fuel station. There is a restaurant in the Casino. The hotel facilities are available for RV park guests but I don't think there are any showers.
Dancing Eagle has a decent grocery store right next door. The shower facilities are across the highway at the truckstop(have not used them). There is a decent small restaurant next to the casino.
...When I have stayed at a KOA, I often don't even hookup--at the most electricity. It annoys me to pay top price for that...
This kind of comment seems very typical of those that dislike KOA. I do not understand how the fact that one does not use or want to use the facilities provided is the campground's or the campground chain's fault. Most campgrounds that I have been to price the sites by the ammenities available at the site not whether you want to use them or not. I have not seen a campground that can turn the individual amenities on and off easily, however at one park we visit that does the cable TV on the honor system I have seen folks connect the cable after the office closes and then rush out to disconnect in the morning before the office staff arrive.
How can either the WiFi Ranger or the CTR35 independently login to the WiFi service with a username and password?
I have owned the WiFi Ranger and currently own the CTR35 and they both can accomplish what you are wanting to do.
First, Robin1953 wrote this.
I do know the answer, though.
Simple answer is that the repeaters have two radios. They take in a signal on one radio and repeat the signal through another channel...
I do not believe that the WFR, WFR Go. WFR Sky or WFR Mobile are two radio repeaters. This is one of the reasons that there is a significant reduction in throughput speed when using them. Using the no longer available WFR Boost with either the WFR Pro or the Go creates a two radio repeater system that produces significantly less speed loss.
Funding the operation and maintanence of public facilities in National Parks, National Forests and other public lands (state, county, local) is not a new problem. It has however, gotten worst with the current debt and budget problems. Very few of these facilities actually pay their own way and thus must rely on appropriations from general funds derived from the tax payers. If National Parks and National Forests had to be financially self sufficient, Walt Disney World would likely look cheap.
This has lead to two basic philosophies, user pay and total government funding (free to all) and the combinations of the two that we see today. Under the current laws, 80% of the fees (including those paid by concessionaires) collected by National Forests, National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, BLM, and Bureau of Reclamation must be used on the unit that they were collected. Last year, there was legislation proposed that would return funds collected by all the agencies except NPS to the treasury for appropriation by Congress. This legislation was supported by some of the No-fee groups as a way to punish the Forest Service and BLM for proposed fee increases and establishing new fee areas. Generally, relatively few comments from campers and Rvers are received in response to proposed legislation and rule changes because there is no large advocacy/watchdog group. Other interests are well organized and well funded.
One idea for funding public campgrounds and parks that never caught on was to place a tax on camping and other outdoor equipment similar to the taxes on fishing tackle, ammunition, and hunting gear that would be distributed in a manner similar to those funds. Some very well organized and funded opposition ensured that this did not happen.
We have a participatory form of government, however we do have to choose to participate to be heard. It was stated, that every one knew who to contact. While that may be true for elected officials, here is a link to a List of American Recreation Coalition Members. We all can make a choice whether to contact those members and tell them what we think on this issue and also make a choice as to whether we want to be members of their organizations or do business with their companies.
If as many RVers would get excited about the issues facing our public lands as do over a small town banning overnighting at Walmart maybe we'd have a voice in the policy discussions.
We've been fulltiming for 6 years with a MH. Never have had a problem finding a place to work on the coach and always have stayed on site with the coach...There is no right answer to this question.
Our experience was quite different. We had a Class C motorhome for a little over three years. Two breakdowns required overnights. One for a week to replace the transmission. Neither repair shop allowed us to stay onsite in the coach. I think to some extent that depends on the area that you happen to be in and whether there is actually a choice of where to get the repair done. Shops that specialize in or do a lot of MH repair seem more likely to accomodate overnights. We found service on the chassis in general to be a little bit of a problem as even some dealerships did not have the lift capacity or height in the bays to work on a motorhome and not many commercial truck shops wanted to work on a gas engine. So far our experience with the pickup has been that just about every town has someone that can work on one.
We have had good experiences using mobile services for appliance repairs including warranty work with both the MH and trailer and prefer that to going to a service center.
There is no right or wrong choice other than the choice that is right for you.
We volunteer while on the road and know several other RVers that do also. I do tend to agree that a longer term opportunity might get more response. Have you looked at how the RV Care-A-Vanners, MDS RV Program and NOMADS run their programs.
One word of caution, do your home work on applicable laws before you get too far along. Providing electric or other ammenities may be considered providing accomodations or running a campground/RV park and require compliance with applicable regulations (health, zoning, etc). Contrary to what is popularly stated on many RVing forums, inhabiting an RV overnight is NOT PARKING. We have seen organizations run a foul of the law by not taking this into consideration in advance.
Another way to go about this might be to partner with a local campground. You would recruit the volunteers to work X hours for X days, the campground gives a discount or free site which it can write off as a charitable contribution.
Good Luck with your project!!