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Has anyone ever gotten free camping?

Old 06-05-17, 07:55 PM
  #1  
mymorningjacket
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Has anyone ever gotten free camping?

Today I set off on my first overnighter to my local park. I set up camp and waited for someone to come by to collect the fee. People around me were using firewood that I'm assuming they bought; so some people must have been working. It was getting late and I guessed they would come by in the morning. Come 9 am, I'm packed up and ready to go and still no ones has came by. I just set off and left. Free camping sweet!
Has this happened to any of you guys? Or did the owners ever offer you free camping after being inspired by seeing your loaded rigs?
Thanks
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Old 06-05-17, 09:21 PM
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It has happened before. I don't try to make it happen, but sometimes you just roll in and out naturally on your own at a time where there is no ability to pay.

Just make sure there isn't an honesty system anywhere, where you are expected to drop your money in an envelope in a lockbox and tear off a tag end to stick on your pole. A lot of Michigan state park rustic sites work like that, where the DNR might not show up for days at a time to collect money, but you won't be looked kindly on if you are caught camping without paying.
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Old 06-05-17, 09:49 PM
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If you knew there was a fee due and you didn't make a reasonable attempt to pay then you stole.


-Tim-
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Old 06-05-17, 10:01 PM
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If there is bo way to pay for the site, i wouldbt think twice, even if you kbew it costs money.
If there is no deposit box and you dont see the campgroubd attendant, then what are you reasobably to do?
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Old 06-05-17, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
If you knew there was a fee due and you didn't make a reasonable attempt to pay then you stole.
-Tim-
Okay before people jump to conclusions. I left out some details.
Coming in the ticket booth on the entrance and exit road had no one in there. The walls had boards on them and there was a sign saying. A attendant will come by to collect your fee. I checked the store for firewood and it was also boarded up with no one there. People around my had firewood that they bought from somewhere but i couldnt find where.
If no one came by to collect my fee. I am not going to run around looking for someone to pay when I needed to leave.
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Old 06-05-17, 10:14 PM
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did you bother to ask the people around you with the firewood, where they got that there firewood, and perhaps did they pay a fee for their campsite?
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Old 06-05-17, 10:29 PM
  #7  
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If you left a store and realized they didn't charge you, what do you do?
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Old 06-05-17, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mymorningjacket View Post
Today I set off on my first overnighter to my local park. I set up camp and waited for someone to come by to collect the fee. People around me were using firewood that I'm assuming they bought; so some people must have been working. It was getting late and I guessed they would come by in the morning. Come 9 am, I'm packed up and ready to go and still no ones has came by. I just set off and left. Free camping sweet!
Has this happened to any of you guys? Or did the owners ever offer you free camping after being inspired by seeing your loaded rigs?
Thanks
You're supposed to put your fee into the little box at the entrance of the campground or slide it under the door of the ticket place.

Were there campground fees posted?
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Old 06-05-17, 11:00 PM
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6 of us did here.
Note in window said their computers were down.

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Old 06-05-17, 11:04 PM
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Last summer in the UK at a private campground got free camping. Arrived at campsite, there was a note to call the owner on cell phone. I went to a nearby pup gave him a call, said he'd be around to collect fees from the campers at around 8pm. He never shoes up, there are 4 or 5 other campers waiting around. Next AM wait around till 0900, still no one shows up to collect fees, nor anywhere to leave fee. I leave, no I don't feel bad. I waited around for hours for the owner to show up, he doesn't bother to come around, doesn't even post what the fees are, nor have an alternate payment method,too bad for him.
Contrast to another campsite where owner never showed up, but had a mail box with instructions how to pay. When it came time to leave, payed my fee by dropping money in box, nothing could be easier.
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Old 06-05-17, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
You're supposed to put your fee into the little box at the entrance of the campground or slide it under the door of the ticket place.

Were there campground fees posted?
Assumes there is a box for that purpose - some places have them, but there are also many that don't. And lots of doors are sufficiently weather/insect proofed to prevent any sliding. According to the OP there was just a sign indicating that an attendant would come by to collect fees in which case I see no moral obligation for him to have spent time searching for that attendant (who may not even have been in the park) before packing up and leaving
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Old 06-05-17, 11:19 PM
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On a recent trip, the campground was closed until about 6:00 pm

As I was heading towards the campground, a stream of cars passed me.

When I rolled in, a couple of people offered a place to pitch my tent. It didn't take much space, and allowed cars to fill all the designated spots (no bike specific camp sites).

Anyway, I met a couple of guys returning from a week long Cycle Oregon Tour. It sounded like fun, but not quite my style of adventure.
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Old 06-06-17, 12:05 AM
  #13  
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Once in Germany we ended up in a village which seemed to have a beautiful campground with a pool and all kinds of cool things. Turns out it was a communal swimming pool owned by the village. We asked the person responsible for the pool whether there was a campground nearby and he let us camp in the swimming pool area for a token 5 euros or so. Not free, but he afterwards invited us to watch football and drink beer (which he bought) so in effect it was free.
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Old 06-06-17, 12:19 AM
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It happened to me on Salt Spring Island when I did a small tour in Nov. There were a handful of us hardy souls camping but no staff to collect fees.
This happens out west in some Prov. Parks where there is winter access but no services.


Last edited by Happy Feet; 06-06-17 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 06-06-17, 05:40 AM
  #15  
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Look for a dropbox at office or entrance. Many campgrounds have a host-site where they collect fees during off-hours. If the only way to pay is to a person that comes around and they missed you, most likely because they look for a motor-vehicle, then it's their fault. It's happened to me and I don't worry about it.
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Old 06-06-17, 06:50 AM
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Biked to a local park with a "primitive" hike-in camping area. No one at the booth, but it said to set up camp and a ranger would be by. Because we were on bikes, we rode directly to our campsite, and we were the only one in that section of the park. I imagine what happened was that the ranger came as far up as the parking lot, saw no cars, and figured that section of the campground was empty. No one ever came by our site. We stopped at the booth again on the way out, and it was manned, so we tried to pay. They got really confused about trying to put a transaction in the system for a day that had already passed, and said, "Never mind."
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Old 06-06-17, 08:24 AM
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Anyone skipped out on paying for campground fees where they should have paid?

OP seems to boast of his getting a 'Dine and Dash', in a situation that he could have contributed to the upkeep of a public resource.


I've camped by permission in people's yards... 1 time, on the lee side near the house, when it was very windy..

They brought out a hot pot of tea.. this was Ireland.




....

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Old 06-06-17, 09:30 AM
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I informed a park ranger that there was what looked like a homeless person hiding back in the trees at a state park, and that person must have come in after the park closed the night before. When she kicked out the non-paying offender, I was surprised to see that the offender had a companion (was better at hiding than the one I saw), and I was even more surprised that they both had bikes. They looked like homeless people on stolen bikes, but it appeared that the ranger let them leave without paying.
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Old 06-06-17, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
They looked like homeless people on stolen bikes, but it appeared that the ranger let them leave without paying.
I dunno, with the number of "you only need one set of clothes and some power bars and I stealth camp everywhere" folks on here, are you sure it wasn't some forum members?

I kid, I kid!
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Old 06-06-17, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by mymorningjacket View Post
Today I set off on my first overnighter to my local park. I set up camp and waited for someone to come by to collect the fee. People around me were using firewood that I'm assuming they bought; so some people must have been working. It was getting late and I guessed they would come by in the morning. Come 9 am, I'm packed up and ready to go and still no ones has came by. I just set off and left. Free camping sweet!
Has this happened to any of you guys? Or did the owners ever offer you free camping after being inspired by seeing your loaded rigs?
Thanks
Seems to happen to me quite a bit in Japan, not as much in the US. It's probably because I usually arrive late and try to get out by 4am.
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Old 06-06-17, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
I dunno, with the number of "you only need one set of clothes and some power bars and I stealth camp everywhere" folks on here, are you sure it wasn't some forum members?

I kid, I kid!
I think the "one set of clothes" type of people on this board are more likely to have frame bags and 3 inch (or wider) tires, that I would have noticed.

And even if they were on this board, they should have paid. It was a state park with a designated hiker biker site, so if they were hiding back in the trees instead of in the hiker biker site, they were obviously trying to avoid paying. Although this occurred in a different state than the state I was from, I used to work for a state agency that ran the state parks in my state so this is a sensitive topic for me.
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Old 06-06-17, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
And even if they were on this board, they should have paid. It was a state park with a designated hiker biker site, so if they were hiding back in the trees instead of in the hiker biker site, they were obviously trying to avoid paying
Agreed. While I have gotten free camping here and there, from the simple fact of rolling in late and having to leave early for other than not wanting to pay reasons, it is never a planned thing. However, I knew a few folks in college who made a habit of doing exactly that, and it never sat well with me.

The other issue with the practice that no one has raised: when I went bike camping a couple weekends ago, I showed up to my prepaid campsite after the office closed, to find some folks starting to set up in it trying to sneak in unnoticed in off hours. Thankfully they weren't too far along in the process, because I booted them (really had no desire to share a rustic site with three vehicles, four people, and five dogs), but they found another site and were gone right at dawn the next morning.
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Old 06-06-17, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
6 of us did here.
Note in window said their computers were down.

Nice setup!
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Old 06-06-17, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
Not free, but he afterwards invited us to watch football and drink beer (which he bought) so in effect it was free.
Either way, that sounds great. Gotta love generous people.
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Old 06-06-17, 12:04 PM
  #25  
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I did, a couple of years ago, along the Rhine.
Pulled in when the reception was already closed. I followed the instructions to set up and since the evening was so nice day down at the Riverside restaurant to eat a fabulous meal.
Tried to pay for the spot at the restaurant, but they said to pay for the food & beers then, and the spot in the morning.
Next morning I was up early & ready to leave but reception was still not open. So I left.

Last month I was cycling by the same campsite again & stopped off to pay my tab. The face of the lady behind the counter was priceless!

I'm aware of many cyclists who deliberately try to avoid paying. It annoys me no end.
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