scouts-l Mail Archive for July of 2000: Re: Summertime camping
EXT-Reed, Randall C (Randy.Reed@HSV.BOEING.COM
Tue Jul 11 2000 - 06:38:06 CDT
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Sarah Nunez [SMTP:trinoaks@FLASH.NET]
> Subject: Summertime camping
> Any suggestions
> on where else to camp during the summer?
[Randall C. Reed] In Florida, we are pretty lucky, we have a
abundance of "nonstandard" camping opportunities that have little or no fees
attached to them. Some of these sources may apply to Texas, I dunno. We have
access to many sites that are not open to the public simply because we are
BSA. We contact the local governing authority directly and get permissions
or permits quite easily on a regular basis from:
- National forest lands
- State forest lands
- State wildlife reserve lands
- State preserve lands
- Water management district lands (very good source!)
- Underutilized county parks looking to increase their "body count"
by bringing in a large group of Scouts
- You might try any Bureau of Land Management lands in Texas (?)
- Explore whether there are any camping opportunities on federal
wildlife refuge lands in your area.
Often, it helps to establish relationships with the local
authorities by coupling your camping request with a service or conservation
project offer. We also use a large private ranch that leases hunting rights
in the non-hunting season for free. They are used to having "visitors"
around during hunting season. When we show up in the off-season, we fit into
the regular ranch routine they have been accustomed to from the hunters. We
have picked up litter and repaired a culvert as a thank you.
We have all but stopped going to Florida State Parks. They've raised
their fees and most sites are simply beaten down, packed hard, and pretty
well worn-out. Besides, Florida State Park staff are getting a little
squirrelly about the letter of the law with park rules and regulations. We
were warned by a park ranger on one trip not to string any rope on trees
since the OTHER ranger on duty was writing $50 tickets for first-time
violators with no warning. That told me the staff and the land was pretty
well stressed to the max.
We have had good luck with getting access to very isolated and
otherwise untouched wilderness areas. I believe it is possible to camp for
free or reduced rates on many different types of lands. But not if you just
try to go to the front gate with little or no notice. Cultivating
relationships with the folks who hold the keys has paid off for us.
Randall C. Reed
Scoutmaster, Troop 543
Central Florida Council
"...I used to be a Buffalo..."