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 > Forest Service Campground - First Come, First Serve & hosts

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WhitehouseLV

Cowboy State

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Posted: 06/14/21 08:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

went up the mountain to Sibley Lake Campground in Bighorn National Forest to see if there any sites available because on Recreation.gov they have a few sites that are listed as First-come, First-serve.

Most as expected were full, except for one site. The site number matched the First-come, First-serve site on Recreation.gov but the issue was that it was open tonight, but reserved tomorrow. This is supposed to be a first-come, first-serve site [emoticon]

The campground host said it was an administrative decision.

Are they allowed to do that?

Seems to me they are using their position/power to reserve a site that isn't supposed to be reservable?

Anyway, I didn't make a big scene because frankly I wasn't sure what all they're allowed to do and not allowed to do. Had it been a true first-come, first-serve site my son & would have stayed and spent a few nights with the rest of the family joining us in a few days.


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rexlion

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Posted: 06/14/21 11:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would have stayed the night, then watched for departing campers the next morning. Switching sites can be a bit of a hassle but it's a way to stay in the CG. If I like the CG or its location, it can be worthwhile to move. Just a possibility; doesn't work every time.


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DrewE

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Posted: 06/14/21 11:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I can't speak from any experience, so this is just conjecture. It sounds like a question that really should be asked of someone at the National Park Service rather than here if you want an accurate answer of what is permitted/expected.

I'd imagine that there would be a little bit of latitude for hosts (or others they report to) to do this sort of thing in at least a few circumstances. For instance, they may have had to move a camper from their reserved site because that site became unusable and needed repair or maintenance. Or perhaps there was some sort of a screw-up in the reservation system that somehow resulted in a double-booking.





WhitehouseLV

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Posted: 06/14/21 11:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rexlion wrote:

I would have stayed the night, then watched for departing campers the next morning. Switching sites can be a bit of a hassle but it's a way to stay in the CG. If I like the CG or its location, it can be worthwhile to move. Just a possibility; doesn't work every time.


I would have but everything else was booked for the next few days so we would have had to pack up and leave the next day. I just don’t understand how a first come site can be available today but reserved tomorrow without making any other sites a first come site.

I’ll call the Forest Service tomorrow and get clarity on how things work.

IDman

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Posted: 06/15/21 07:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The CG Host may have been holding it for a buddy of his. I've seen that before.

ReneeG

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Posted: 06/15/21 07:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm with the others in calling the FS office. We often go in to a campground and pick a site that's open, then check with the host on when the other more desirable sites will be open, then move. If you have a good host, they will work with you and come around to tell you that the current occupants are about to leave so you can go over and grab it.


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mockturtle

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Posted: 06/15/21 07:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That happened once when I was camping at White River, Rainier NP. Supposed to be FCFS but the best row of sites with an in-your-face view of the glacier were all 'reserved'. Power corrupts.


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rexlion

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Posted: 06/15/21 09:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Perhaps a bit of silver crossed the camp host's palm. Wouldn't be the first time for that sort of thing. [emoticon] But really there are a number of possible reasons. It's too bad it didn't work out better for you on this occasion.

If one were to call the main FS office, my guess is they'd say the camp host has discretion, and they support his decision.

Camp hosts and park employees have a tough job sometimes, trying to keep everyone happy. I recall one time I pulled into a state park where I had a reservation, went to the campsite and found it occupied. The people were gone sightseeing for the whole day, a relative made the reservations for them and due to miscommunication they thought they had that site for 2 more nights. No way for them to hustle back and pull out, and the CG was fully booked, so the folks at the check-in office gave me an unofficial 'campsite' that was nicer than most of the regular campsites, a spot with a fire ring (but no electric) they kept open for emergencies. They even offered me free firewood and ice to make up for the inconvenience!

Yosemite Sam1

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Posted: 06/15/21 09:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank your for lending your voice to this issue by calling them.

It appears that they are aware of this problem at the top with many attempts to resolve it and systems revisions.

I was at a county campgrounds which was booked solid. But when we arrived, there are just 3 campers out of 72 spots.

Yosemite is totally reserved a few seconds after they open new series of months' -- itself a new system to prevent people from multiple corralling of campsites. But still the problem persist that we stopped doing our traditional annual family camping. Then we found out Lake Tahoe is not any better which is just recently as I used to get a public campsite at short notice.

cptqueeg

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Posted: 06/15/21 09:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Locals here become friends w the hosts at non-reserved FS campgrounds so they get a call when something opens. The host typically puts the lawn chairs out to hold the spot until the camper shows up.

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