Boondocking vs Campgrounds: This is a copy of the email I sent to the Central Newfoundland Morning Show on CBC Radio. They had done an interview with someone wanting to ban RVs from mall parking lots.
I only caught the tail end of the conversation about campers overnighting on mall parking lots, so I may have missed something (I'll DL the podcast and listen to all of it), however, I felt another view was in order.
We are doing the "vacation at home" thing, and have had to change our plans three times this summer because the various campgrounds we wanted to stay in were full. We had the options of trying elsewhere, or staying home, but what is a visitor from out of province to do when the closest park is booked up?
Getting to this island is expensive, fuel prices are expensive, and staying in a campground every night is expensive. Having the option to boondock a few nights a week may make the difference between a tourist being able to come here or not. Also, having these people in a town generally means they will be spending money there. It may not the the local campground, but they need fuel and food, and may take in some of the culturial offerings and engage in other activities available to tourists.
The few campgrounds I've stayed in since buying our little travel trailer last fall have been far removed from what I consider camping. Sites are close to each other, and you have almost no privacy, or experience of nature. You might as well be on a mall parking lot. If you take this even further, eventually canoeist and kayakers will be banned from setting up a tent on a shoreline close to a community. At least RVers eventually use are dumping station, what are those tenters doing with their waste? Ban them all! :-)
Here are a few links on the subject:
"While RV parks are the best accommodations for RVers, sometimes commercial parks are full, or perhaps the RVer simply cannot find a local park, especially if it is late in the evening. Other issues come into play as well. For instance, how tired is the RV driver? Were it not for easily accessible public parking lots and other similar locations that offer a resting place to RVers, you would see an increased accident rate. Far too often, RVers will drive too long, too late, or continue searching for an RV park way past their safety and comfort zone. Knowing that they are welcome to pull into a parking lot and get a few hours of rest anytime of the day or night is an enormous safety net for the traveler."
"Score a victory for RVers in their battle against the state of Maine. In a period of less than a week, the state legislature introduced a bill to ban overnight stays in RVs in any public parking lot in the state and then quickly killed the idea."
"I say so called because it sure doesn't look like a "Park" to me! Much more like a parking lot! Why? When you have a rig with all the amenities of home, that you can take darn near anywhere, why drive from your crowded city streets back home, only to park in a crowded "parking lot!""
"Defined: What is boondocking? (Free Camping)"
(Original Blog Post: http://haliburton.homelinux.net/strofficeview/?p=87)