Segregate the campgrounds?

Segregate the campgrounds?

By Bob Difley

All campers are not created equal — at least in the opinion of Jeremy Klaszus, published some time back in the Calgary Herald (Canada). His piece, “Keep it down, fellow campers,” ran, in part:

“The crackle of the fire. The hoot of an owl. And then a generator sputters to life at a nearby campsite, spoiling the forest quiet for everyone around. This noise goes on and on, all so somebody can watch a DVD in his RV …. So much for getting away from the city.”

Another writer for the Herald, Frank Brockel, wrote: “Camping is an opportunity to get away from the noise and chaos of urban life. A chance to unplug, unwind and so on. These days, however, more people seem to be hauling the city to the campground, unable to live without modern luxuries (heat, electricity, TV) for even a weekend.

“We have been camping for many years, but more and more, it seems you cannot go anywhere where there’s just nature’s peace and quiet. If it’s not generators running for hours, then it’s stereos, jet skis, quads and trail bikes. Camping with a tent (or even a tent trailer) has been eclipsed by huge RVs.

“So really, it needs to be divided into two categories as far as campgrounds are concerned: RVing and camping. Let’s have separate campgrounds for each, where people with tents and small trailers can have a site where no motors, loud stereos, quads, etc., will be allowed.

“The RVing crowd can have their own campgrounds where they can go crazy getting on each other’s nerves.”

Now, I’m not in their camp, but I fully understand the frustration of having to listen to other people’s noise when I camp in a scenic location to enjoy nature and its stillness and natural sounds. But that is why I go boondocking, so I don’t have to “put up with” other campers’ noise. Maybe I’m cranky.

On the other hand, many people go camping on weekends to get away from their jobs, or the confinements of the city, or other reasons and want to let their hair down, play music, drink a bit more than normal, stay up late talking since they don’t have to get up and go to work in the morning. It is their right to do so, as long as they comply with the campground’s rules about quiet times, noise levels, etc. (though these rules are rarely enforced).

But it seems the writers for the Herald have defined only tenters as nature lovers, those wishing to have quiet and serenity, wanting no more than to commune with nature in the wild. I bet to differ. I have found tenters that do all those things that the writers accuse RVers of doing. But Brockel’s thought of segregating noisy, generator-running RVers from quiet tenters is a bit much.

However, it does raise the question of whether we RVers are inconsiderate of non-RVers, running our generators for long periods or late into the night to watch TV, or playing our stereos too loud. I would like to think that we RVers do try to keep down our noise levels if camped in a no-hookup campground near tenters or other campers. Or do you feel it is your right to run your generator as long as you want to as long as it is not against the campground’s rules?

A solution, of course, is to just go boondocking. You’ll probably like the quietness and solitude of a boondocking campsite better, anyway, than a crowded campground. And you won’t be troubled by neighbors — nor will you have to temper your lifestyle to accommodate others.

photo montage: Canyon with tents, Kylir. Motorhome, Grand Canyon NPS. Both on flickr.com

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