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Old 07-21-2009, 04:51 PM   #1
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A Need for Change in the Campground Rating System

Having just recently returned to the wonderment of RVing after a several year absence, we noted some changes in the RV environment. Since these disturbed us slightly we thought some questions to the forum might be in order. One change concerns the ratings of campsites by KOA, Woodall’s, and several others.
When we were with the RV community six years ago we relied on the forums and the so-called experts to provide insights as to potential campsites for our trips. At that time we and many others knew that RV was more or less defined as a Recreational Vehicle. In those days most used their RV for travels to see the great sights of this great country, or to visit distant friends and families. Of course there were some who used their RV’s for their work, and there were many snowbirds who lived in their RV’s during the winter months in Florida, Arizona and other warmer locations, but for the most part we all enjoyed our RV for recreation and enjoyed every campsite because of commonality with other’s at each campsite.
Now when we decide on a campsite that is rated very high by the experts we arrive to find an already crowded campsite; not with individuals using their RV for recreation or as a temporary respite from the frigid temperatures of the north, but with individuals using so-called RV’s as permanent homes from which they go to and from their daily work and lives.
I guess our question to the forum is whether you see the existence of so many individuals and families using campgrounds as their semi-permanent residence should be a consideration in the ratings being given for the camp grounds. We find it difficult to accept the highest ratings for campgrounds that seem to concentrate on filling spaces with permanent residents versus the one or two night campers that make up the preponderance of the true RV populations. Your thoughts?
Richard and Pam
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:19 PM   #2
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Valid points....
I think that you'll find that
has many of the reviews listing if the CG has an excess number of "residents". It really wouldn't be very hard to add a "how many of the sites appear "permanent"?.....with the TT up on blocks and such.

We've stayed at a few of those smaller parks, where it appears that 80% of the sites are paid for by the month or season....some of the TTs even had decks build off the doors! And quite often, these sites are some of the best in the CG.

I don't mind the full timers.....hey, we gotta all get along But, I also like the idea that we are going to a "recreational area" instead of a RV community.

I guess the answer, is to try and make a reference to this when you submit your own reviews of campgrounds...eventually, these will become part of the standard...but like most things, it has to evolve. The more people who make notes like this, the better it will be for all of us!

Happy Camping....

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Old 07-21-2009, 05:34 PM   #3
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I have found that using this web site is very helpfu, ask specific questions of the members of the different regions exactly what you are looking for. Never depend on a brochure and take the ratings from the well known campground directories with many grains of salt. Call the campground ask specific questions of the employees who answer the phone. The best way to determine if the campground is up to your standards is to check it out personally if possible. We find that once we stay at a place that has what we are looking for we keep going back then we look around the vicinity and compare. The rv review web site is very helpful check to see what type of unit the reviewer stays in at the end of the review this is also helpful. Different rv's have different requirements.
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Old 07-21-2009, 06:02 PM   #4
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I think most campground owners will tell you that the monthly people are their strength and the weekender's or travelers are just the frosting. Like all businesses campgrounds need a steady income.

As times get harder more will be using their RV for local trips rather than long distance trips so campground owners offer incentives for leaving the RV on site.

Again as many continue to lose their jobs their RV becomes their home so they can easily relocate for a new job.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:08 PM   #5
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I have noticed the same thing, and in the Trailer Life Directory a campground may list 90 sites, 25 available. When I see that I assume its mostly filled will somewhat permanent units and try to find one that says 30 sites, 29 available.

Agreed the CG needs a steady income but they should be listed as a Trailer Park, not a campground.

I even got in one Good Sam park and was told only certain of the sites qualified for the GS 10% discount. Huh, I thought GS was GS in total, not 60% GS and 40% regular. Well, no more stays at that one. Live and learn.

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Old 07-22-2009, 07:27 AM   #6
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I agree completely with the assessments here regarding the condition and the folks that make up the population in many campgrounds. You have to keep in mind though, these campgrounds, rv parks, etc. are the bread and butter of the owners. And like us too, if we own it we can do what we want with it, as long as were not breaking any laws.

However, I also agree with you on the rating systems. I've seen some that have a decent rating that I wouldn't wish on anyone to stay there.

One in particular I'm aware of on the east side of Colorado Springs shouldn't even be rated as a campground. I'd call it a trash dump and that's being polite. It's primarily full of transit workers, construction projects, contract workers etc. Mostly trailer and older 5th wheels that have been parked for years. And to beat it all when checking their monthly rates they were in the upper $400 per month range.
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Old 07-24-2009, 01:56 PM   #7
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As Wagonmaster2 pointed out, the Trailer Life tipoff for permanents in a campground is x sites, y available. The bigger x is compared to y is a real good indicator. Seems like this year, we saw more permanents in the places we stayed, and got woke up early by folks heading off to work. Could be a sad commentary on the state of the economy.
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Old 07-25-2009, 05:06 PM   #8
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Having been on the road for 18 weeks on this trip, and staying in many RV parks around the country, I have also noticed a huge increase in the number of folks living in RV's in the parks. I believe the increase is related to the current state of the economy....frankly, it's sad to see...especially how many are living in much older trailers...their presence do not bother us ....the people we ecounter have been friendly...
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Old 07-26-2009, 11:28 AM   #9
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I recently ended 89 days of traveling. Prior to that we spent about 45 days out west. At one CG I stayed at I asked why they had stopped being a CG offering the Passport America discount. I was told that in the brochure for PA it states to call ahead to see f there is availability. People would show up without calling ahead and ask for the PA Rate. They would be told that there were no PA available campsites. What had happened is that the CG allocated a percentage of sites to the different discount clubs. When that percentage has been reached they no longer have sites available. So I always call ahead. If they say they have no sites available I would ask if they have any non-discounted sites available. I have not had to ask that question yet.

I wonder if someone on this forum that owns a CG could enlighten us just how the discounts work.
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:45 AM   #10
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Please do not confuse Permanent residents with Full-timers there is a big difference between the two.
To many people who own a RV and feel if the RV is their home and they live in it all the time, in one spot, they are full-timers.
In most cases they have been hurt by the rough times, lost jobs, cut backs etc. already own an RV and since it was cheaper to live in the RV than paying rent for an apartment have done this. Than you have a large amount of construction workers who go around the country building roads and replacing the interstructure of our cities etc. again cheaper to live in a RV than a motel.
Hope you got my point as to why many of the CGs have more Perms than in the past.
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:31 PM   #11
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There is no confusion on identifying full timers or seasonals and folks living in old run down trailers that appear to have not been moved a long time...I am sure that the economy is driving that increase...but it is also clear many of these trailers have been in place for many years, are old and unkempt...whether it's by choice or by necessity, my point was it's sad to see, and I would agree it probably represents a cheaper way and even better way of living than an apartment....
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Old 07-29-2009, 10:52 AM   #12
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When you go in a campground and see old trailers on blocks; it's time to put your rig in gear and move on.
chances are your stay will not be pleasent.
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Old 07-30-2009, 06:38 PM   #13
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We have found the same situation. We pulled into a highly rated "5 star" campground on the way back from FL last March only to find numerous 5th wheels permanently parked. The grass was about a foot high around them and several had dogs tied outside all day.
I realize this is a good source of income for the campgrounds, however, might it be possible to reserve a section of the campground for short term RV parking?
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:06 AM   #14
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I've also noticed this happening. But what I don't understand is why don't the owner's define some 'park' rules with just simple requirements of picking up trash and periodicity washing the outside of your RV. These are not expensive things to do.

In the south here we get a lot of green algae and black mildew on vehicles parked in constant shade. It doesn't cost a lot to put some bleach in a cheap garden sprayer, spray the outside of your RV and make it look much better. Just because an RV is old does not mean it has to look ugly.

I guess pride of ownership is not a concern with these 'park' owners.

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