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Open Roads Forum  >  RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions

 > Beware Michigan State Parks

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travelnutz

West Michigan - On the Lakeshore

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Posted: 08/18/12 09:38am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What I have observed in this thread is that the $8 charge for a reservation is excessive and I totally agree. We can afford the $8 but it rubs me the wrong way so we have only reserved once in our 49 years of very frequent RV traveling. From 84-157 days a year for the last 18 of those years and plenty before that as it's in our blood. That was this July 2012 for Burt Lake State Park because we wanted 2 good sized sites next to each other as our daughter and her family were taking their RV, 2 vehicles, and their trailered boat and we had our boat also as we love to boat the neat long waterway etc. We've done it 8 times now and have camped at Burt Lake SP many times and know many of the over 300 sites quite well. The reservation system had showed only one good combo available for our 5 day stay so we made the reservation and paid the $8.

When we got to the park the ranger said there were several other good combo choices available when I mentioned why we had made a reservation. Yes, we felt lied to by the reservation system.

Sure enough, 2 other desireable combos sat empty the whole time we were there and it ticked us off to say the least and feel we were ripped of by the reservation info.

Probably the last time we will use the system as we've always been able to find a good CG site in the area we want to be at as we check to see what festivals or local activities are going on the area before finalizing our trip plans. Has always worked for us and because we are reasonably flexible and are truely self contained and don't fret if a good site with no hookups is all we can have. All of our RV's have and have had adequate generators and plenty of fuel and 1500 to 2500 watt inverters with plenty of battery capacity to last 3 days minimum and plenty of water and waste tank capacity also. You only need to plan ahead and prepare rather than being sorry afterwards from a ruined or uncomfortable trip. We have 110 AC anyting we want or need it and can have it with out making a sound. Great for morning coffee and toast etc.


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monkey44

Cape Cod, MA and JAX, Fla

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Posted: 08/18/12 10:06am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

QUOTE: "AFIAK, in MN the state taxpayers are not supposed to be feeding money into the privately run reservation system. The operator assumes the risk in exchange for the reservation fee."

Unless the camper is REQUIRED to pay the reservation fee every time, even for a one or two night stay and comes in to the desk to get it the same day. That's more like gouging - and THEN, and this is true in some states, the camper pays a exhorbitant amount over the camp site fee ... if a site is $24 and the camper wants one night and reservation fee is $8, that's a 25% hit and unfair.

All other things considered, any camper that stands at the desk for one or two night site should be exempt from reservation fees because that camper has no need for a reservation. It's no more work for a ranger to check in a camper with or without a reservation - information must be verified anyway, so that should be part of the job for short stays.


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monkey44

Cape Cod, MA and JAX, Fla

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Posted: 08/18/12 02:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote: "If the campground is part of a reservation system than there is more work required than just logging in the camper. The inventory needs to be adjusted to reflect the site is rented.
Otherwise I might book the sight on line that the walk up camper just rented!"


How much more time, a minute, maybe - it remains unrealistic that a camper MUST use a reservation system to book as a walk-in. AND, most of the time, a site cannot be reserved sooner than two days away. So, it makes no sense what you said, but they often charge the fee anyway.

Lantley

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Posted: 08/18/12 11:17am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

monkey44 wrote:

QUOTE: "AFIAK, in MN the state taxpayers are not supposed to be feeding money into the privately run reservation system. The operator assumes the risk in exchange for the reservation fee."

Unless the camper is REQUIRED to pay the reservation fee every time, even for a one or two night stay and comes in to the desk to get it the same day. That's more like gouging - and THEN, and this is true in some states, the camper pays a exhorbitant amount over the camp site fee ... if a site is $24 and the camper wants one night and reservation fee is $8, that's a 25% hit and unfair.

All other things considered, any camper that stands at the desk for one or two night site should be exempt from reservation fees because that camper has no need for a reservation. It's no more work for a ranger to check in a camper with or without a reservation - information must be verified anyway, so that should be part of the job for short stays.

If the campground is part of a reservation system than there is more work required than just logging in the camper. The inventory needs to be adjusted to reflect the site is rented.
Otherwise I might book the sight on line that the walk up camper just rented!


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Wildcat63

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Posted: 08/18/12 07:24pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One thing to remember about vehicle permit fees in state parks is generally when a State Park is formed it is about something not just hey this would be a nice place for a campground. There are hiking trails, fishing piers, in Minnesota some parks have equipment for Geocaching that you can borrow for free you don't need to camp in the State Parks to enjoy them. But you need to pay a fee. The vehicle fee in my mind is a fair one, if it has a motor it needs a permit, less to argue about with someone. As someone always has an excuse why they should be treated differently.

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Spade Cooley

Mountain View, AR

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Posted: 08/19/12 10:29am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That was a rip off. Some time ago a similar thing happened to us when we were stopping for the night in a Louisana State Park. We didn't have a reservation and there were many open spaces. We had to pay the reservation fee anyway to some outfit that didn't do anything. Corruption is alive and well in America.

Parrothead Mike

SW Michigan

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Posted: 08/20/12 07:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For what it's worth: The reservation fee (in Michigan) is what the reservation company collects for services provided. This is a private vendor and not operated by the State of Michigan. The company that operates the service to reserve a campsite is called WebReserv and they are based in Atlanta, Georgia. Their web site is below.

http://www.webreserv.com/contactwebreserv.do

I'm sure that the State of Michigan prefers to contract out this service process because it would cost the state a lot more money to provide the same service. In additon, the service vendor likely provides a more consistent level of service 24/7/365 than the state could possibly provide.

As a Michigan resident I'm not crazy about the service fee, but it's nice to know that I have a specific campsite when and where I want to go camping. I have gone into a campground without reservations and did not have to pay the fee, but then again, I lucked out in getting a great campsite at a busy Lake Michigan shoreline campground just last month (Mears State Park, Pentwater, MI).

To those of you that commented that you will not use Michigan state parks because of the fees or reservation system, please understand that we Michiganders appreciate the fact that you're leaving more campsites for us and for all those other out-of-staters that fill up our campgrounds yearly.


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monkey44

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Posted: 08/20/12 07:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Parrothead Mike - it's not the paying for the service that bothers some of us, its the reservation charge when you're standing at the desk and only staying one or two nights and NOT using the reservation company. That's the p...s off, not the fee for getting a reservation for a specific date later and for longer stay to assure yourself you have a spot.

It wouldn't even bother me to pay it IF it went to park services in Michigan. Instead, it goes to some company in Georgia, and maybe then offshore somewhere. If we're going to pay more money, it should stay right where we spend it - protecting those areas.

And, I don't agree that the state can't do it effectively - it's just easier to farm it out and it cost the state nothing. One more thing a bureaucrat can ignore.

Lantley

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Posted: 08/20/12 07:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

monkey44 wrote:

Quote: "If the campground is part of a reservation system than there is more work required than just logging in the camper. The inventory needs to be adjusted to reflect the site is rented.
Otherwise I might book the sight on line that the walk up camper just rented!"


How much more time, a minute, maybe - it remains unrealistic that a camper MUST use a reservation system to book as a walk-in. AND, most of the time, a site cannot be reserved sooner than two days away. So, it makes no sense what you said, but they often charge the fee anyway.


Let me try to make sense of it all for you.
Time frame doesn't matter the site needs to be accounted for in the master inventory system. Otherwise what is going to stop someone from booking into a site that is already occupied by a walk up camper? Do you really want someone trying to set up on your site claiming they booked the spot on line? Of course not. That is why the system has to be continuously updated.
Sure it only takes another minute to enter the site into a computer system that is manned,designed and maintained by someone. The computer system is located in a building that has lights,bathrooms,water HVAC etc.
The employees that actually work at the reservation center hopefully have benefits etc.
How do you imagine the the reservation system is funded? The people that man the centers are not volunteers and the buildings and equipment used is not donated. The reservation centers are funded one reservation at a time. Each reservation pays for the cost of the system.
These reservation centers had been manned by state employees. Now the states contract out reservation centers in an effort to make the parks self sufficient.

I accept the fee as the cost of having a on line reservation system.
I would much prefer a reservation system vs. a drive for hours,cross my fingers and hope I get a site scenario.

valhalla360

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Posted: 08/19/12 10:35am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ignoring the MH toad issue for the moment:

Out of state annual pass = $29 Paid on the tow vehicle only.
In state = $10 per vehicle. Yes, you can opt out on secondary vehicles but they claim they are bringing in more money with the $10 fee so I'm guessing the average family with 2 or 3 vehicles is paying $20-30/yr for the annual pass.

Suddenly the out of staters option isn't nearly as bad.

Considering you can't get a reservation 6 months out at most of the nice/nicely located parks, I don't see them backing off on the fees. Sterling is an adequate park but it's about location. There are only a handful of parks within 40 miles of metro detroit so they are unlikely to run out of people willing to come in and compare that to Harbor Town which is about 5 miles away and they want $47 for a full hook up site without the water front access. There are no cheap parks close to detroit.


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