Ventura County Board of Supervisors eliminated first-come, first-served camping along the oceanfront Rincon Parkway in an effort to eliminate monopolizing campsites by friends holding sites for each other or by selling sites on the internet.
Instead, campers in 200 spots on the Rincon Parkway and the Faria and Hobson beach parks on either side of it must generally make reservations starting Nov. 1.
A final vote by the board is scheduled Sept. 25.
Reservations will be required for the popular Ventura County campsites along the Rincon to keep people in members-only Facebook groups from trading the sites among themselves and monopolizing the beachfront property, county supervisors decided Tuesday and reported by the VC Star.
Managers of the county parks system recommended the change after fielding large numbers of complaints from campers who responded to surveys of customer satisfaction. Some campers said they drove their rigs to the Rincon Parkway only to find the prime spots on public property were always taken.
A survey last year showed that 17 percent of all comments centered on the beach parks and the need for reservations, General Services Director David Sasek told the board. Park rangers are making an average of two calls a day to resolve disputes among campers arguing over who should be in the spots, he said.
It’s unclear how many campers are actually making money off the public property versus simply trading the spots in inside groups. It’s been possible for years for someone to hold a spot for a friend, then wait until they arrived before pulling out. But the internet has vastly multiplied the impact of internal trading, County Parks Director Ron Van Dyck said.