Camping News

A man charging his electric vehicle in the snow at a charging station.
6 National Parks With Convenient EV Charging Stations

Electric vehicles (EVs) are hitting the mainstream. From small, compact cars to all-wheel-drive SUVs, car manufacturers are branching out to welcome all types of drivers. We’re seeing more and more EVs that are capable travelers, useful as a tow-behind on a motorhome or for family tent camping on the weekends.The National Park Service (NPS) has taken note. As part of its Green Parks Plan, introduced in 2012, the NPS works with partners and funders to provide electric vehicle charging infrastructure for park visitors, employees, and fleet vehicles. Recharging is now possible at many locations thanks to the installation of charging stations at visitor centers, lodges, and partner properties.While not every national park currently has a place for you to power up, many do. So whether you’re towing an electric vehicle behind your RV or car camping, here are some of the destinations where you can power up while visiting U.S. national parks and other NPS sites.Race Point ORV Beach Camping | Provincetown, MA – Photo by: Sara Sheehy Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts Massachusetts’ coastline is a series of bays, the most pronounced of which is Cape Cod, ringed by a skinny, 57-mile strip of land that hooks into the Atlantic Ocean. Cape Cod National Seashore has miles of dunes, hiking trails, and salt marshes. Grab a bowl of clam chowder, settle into one of the historic, quaint towns, and catch a stunning sunset while you recharge. Plugging in on Cape Cod is easy, with four SemaConnect J-1772 Level 2 chargers installed at Wellfleet Town Hall, thanks to a partnership between the National Park Foundation, NPS, the Department of Energy, and BMW of North America.Camping options on the Cape include Shady Knoll Campground RV Park and Nickerson State Park, both located in the town of Brewster. Have a Tesla? Brewster’s Captain Freeman Inn has two 17 kW plugs for public use.Flamingo Campground | Homestead, FL – Photo by: Island Girl Walkabout Everglades National Park, Florida Floridians and tourists will find plentiful places to charge up in Everglades National Park, a sprawling tropical wetland and wildlife haven at the southern tip of the Sunshine State.Power up with SemaConnect J-1772 Level 2 at Ernest Coe Visitor Center (one charger), Flamingo Visitor Center (two chargers), and Shark Valley Visitor Center (two chargers).Camping is available at Flamingo Campground and Long Pine Key Campground. Just north of the Everglades is Big Cypress National Preserve, which has additional camping options—like the four-star reviewed Monument Lake Campground—as well as one SemaConnect J-1772 Level 2 charger at the Oasis Visitor Center.Electric vehicle charging station at Yellowstone National Park. Funding for the charging station was provided by the Clean Cities National Parks Initiative. – Photo by Neal Herbert / Yellowstone-Teton Clean Cities, NREL 35924 Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Geysers, hot springs, bison, bears, and charging stations—Yellowstone National Park has it all. Thanks in part to a grant from the Yellowstone-Teton Clean Energy Coalition, charging stations are located at some of the most popular locations across the park’s gorgeous and wild landscape.Yellowstone’s public charging stations are J-1772 Level 2 non-networked and free to use, providing 208/240-volt electric service. You can find charging stations at: Yellowstone Forever (at the Gardiner, Montana, park entrance)Mammoth Hot SpringsOld Faithful (this one is popular, so be sure to plan ahead)Canyon VillageLake VillageThe Gray Wolf Inn and Suites and the Holiday Inn (at the West Yellowstone park entrance) There’s no lack of options when camping in Yellowstone National Park. A few of the Campendium community’s favorite campsites are Madison Campground, Lewis Lake Campground, and Grant Campground.As part of the Clean Cities National Parks Initiative project, Zion National Park in Utah installed seven public and five private charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles. – Photo by Alex Barajas / Zion National Park, NREL 37375Zion is so popular that access to its top destinations is by shuttle bus only—not private vehicle—for most of the year. Still, there’s plenty to do in and around the park with your electric car, including the stunning drive through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel.Charge up at one of the park’s two J-1772 Level 2 stations, located at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center and the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. To use, purchase a $5 charging code at the Zion National Park Forever Project bookstore inside the visitor centers, which grants you 3 days worth of access to the chargers.Camp at the five-star reviewed Watchman Campground, located at the main park entrance, or boondock for free down the road in La Verkin at the Bureau of Land Management’s Hurricane Cliffs campsites.Sol Duc Campground | Port Angeles, WA – Photo by: Michael & Imkelina Olympic National Park, Washington  Tucked in the northwestern corner of Washington, Olympic National Park is almost too much to take in at once. Your electric vehicle can help you see more of the park, from the mountainous, rainforest-covered main part to the rugged and rocky coastline.Thanks to a partnership between the NPS, the National Park Foundation, BMW of North America, and the U.S. Department of Energy, charging stations can be found at Sol Duc Hot Springs Lodge, Lake Crescent Lodge, and Kalaloch Lodge. Both Sol Duc Hot Springs and Kalaloch also have well-rated national park campgrounds.Each of the lodges has free SemaConnect J-1772 Level 2 chargers installed—two each at Sol Duc Hot Springs Lodge and Lake Crescent Lodge, and four at Kalaloch Lodge.Texas Springs Campground | Death Valley, CA – Photo by: BOSN Death Valley National Park, California Death Valley National Park is famous for Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America (282 feet below sea level), and for its extreme heat. In the middle of summer, this desert basin rivals the temperatures of the Sahara—but in cooler seasons, it’s an enjoyable trip for RVers. You’ll find six free SemaConnect J-1772 Level 2 charging stations at The Oasis at Death Valley, near the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.There are no camping options at The Oasis, but it’s located close to the park’s main camping area, home to Texas Springs Campground, Sunset Campground, and Furnace Creek Campground. Watchman Campground | Springdale, UT Can I Charge My Electric Vehicle at My Campsite? Some national park campgrounds have electric hookups right at the campsites. These hookups can include a 240-volt/50-amp outlet (NEMA 14-50), a 120-volt/30-amp outlet (NEMA TT-30), and a standard 120-volt outlet. Power options vary by campground, so do a little research before you arrive.With the correct adapter you can charge from electric hookups. There are plenty of options online that connect your specific vehicle’s charging port to those traditionally available at campgrounds. Some are simple adapters, while others have screens that display charging data and error warnings.Charging at a campsite doesn’t have the same power as designated charging stations. Electric vehicle owners often report utilizing the campsite’s electric hookup just to give them a boost to make it to a more powerful charging station.Electric vehicle RVers and campers, do you have any tips and tricks to share for traveling with an EV? Leave them in the comments!

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Aerial view of endless red rocks with a road through it.
Public Land Protections to Be Restored at 2 National Monuments

At Campendium, we love and value public lands. The public lands held in trust for the American people are places of natural beauty and historic importance. We appreciate the access that these lands provide for camping, recreation, relaxation, and as a place to spend time with our friends and family.Because of our affinity for public lands, it definitely caught our attention when yesterday, it was announced that public land protections will be restored at Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. What is this announcement all about? How does it affect camping and recreational opportunities? Here’s what we know so far.Photo by: Sara Sheehy The Story of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument were both created under the 1906 Antiquities Act. According to the National Park Service Archeology Program, the Antiquities Act “gives the President the authority to set aside for protection ‘historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States.’” Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was designated by former President Bill Clinton in 1996 and Bears Ears National Monument was designated by former President Barack Obama in 2016. The designations faced both fierce support and fierce opposition inside and outside of Utah, where the monuments are located.In 2017, both of the national monuments were significantly reduced in size by former President Donald Trump. Bears Ears, which was established in 2016, shrunk from 1.35 million acres to 201,397 acres, or to about 15% of its original size. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was reduced from 1.87 million acres to just around one million acres. These reductions, like the original designations, were highly contentious. Upon taking office in early 2020, President Joe Biden tasked the Department of the Interior to review the size reductions and recommend a path forward. After meeting with Members of Congress, state and local government officials, representatives of Tribal nations, and a variety of local stakeholders, current Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland recommended the reinstatement of the two monument’s original boundaries.Photo by: Sara Sheehy Restoring the National Monuments On October 8, 2021, President Biden announced an action to restore the original acreage of both monuments. Bears Ears National Monument’s total protected area now encompasses 1.36 million acres, which includes the original boundaries of the monument plus an additional 11,200 acres that were added in 2017 by former President Trump. The administration has also restored the Bears Ears Commission, a group of Tribal representatives who are tasked with providing guidance and recommendations on the management of the monument.Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is returning to its original size of 1.87 million acres.No information has been released to date about the specific impacts or opportunities for recreation in relation to the restoration of either national monument.Photo by: Sara Sheehy All About Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante Bears Ears National Monument is managed jointly by the US Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to enhance recreational opportunities, protect important cultural resources, and restore fish and wildlife habitat. The monument is popular for hiking, climbing, hunting, fishing, and driving off-highway vehicles. Due to ecological and cultural sensitivities, areas of the monument require a permit or pass to visit.Though there is limited road access to Bears Ears, camping options abound at the southern edge of the monument. Check out the unique campsites at Natural Bridges Abandoned Airstrip, the vista of the Bears Ears mesas at Bears Ears View, and the great hiking at Mule Canyon.Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is managed by the BLM and recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. It is a remote, rugged landscape filled with slot canyons, arches, natural bridges, and monoliths. Most of the monument is only accessible on foot, but there are beautiful scenic drives (both paved and dirt) to explore, too.Hole in the Rock | Escalante, UT – Photo by: VicaribusYou’ll find quiet, off-the-beaten-path camping options in and around Grand Staircase-Escalante. Favorites include Hole in the Rock, the Escalante Heritage Center, and White House Trailhead & Campground.From Muir Woods to Devil’s Tower, national monuments are public lands to cherish, protect, and enjoy. We hope to see you out exploring one soon!

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Truck and class C RV parked in the open desert.
Headed to Southern California for Snowbird Season? Here’s What Park Officials Want You to Know

After another summer of handling record-breaking crowds, navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, and dealing with extreme weather and wildfires, park officials across the country are preparing for some much-needed downtime. But in popular snowbird spots like Southern California, peak season is just getting started.Blair Valley Dispersed Camping | Julian, CA – Photo by: farfromordinaryRangers and others who work at popular destinations like Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego County are preparing for many of the visitors who spent the summer at nearby mountain parks to make their way down into the desert, while also waiting on other guests looking to avoid cold climates.“It’s a privilege because we have two mountain parks, then we have the desert park,” says Ray Lennox, the District Superintendent for the Colorado Desert District, which covers multiple parks in the most southern part of California. “And so as one season is starting, the other winds down, so there’s always something going on.”Borrego Palm Canyon Campground | Borrego Springs, CA – Photo by: WalkingheadVisitors to Anza-Borrego—the largest state park in California—will see fewer restrictions than they did last fall and winter as many health guidelines have been relaxed. California State Parks is now allowing increased visitor numbers in the park and even permitting special events. But since the pandemic is continuously in flux, Lennox says it’s important for people to stay updated by visiting the park’s website.“We’re constantly monitoring the California Department of Public Health and San Diego COVID-19 guidelines,” said Lennox. “Anytime there’s any kind of reduction or we have to close something down because of COVID-19, that goes onto the website.”This means visitors need to be willing to change their plans and have backup ideas or places to go in case new regulations dramatically decrease visitor numbers. Guests are advised to do the necessary research to understand park regulations and what to expect when arriving. On many occasions, park officials have seen a boost in inexperienced visitors lead to an increase in rescues and other efforts.COVID-19 is not the only concern of outdoor professionals. Similar to many areas on the West Coast—and especially in California, which shut down all national forests last month due to fire concerns—park staff wants guests to be aware that the dangers of wildfires are still a real concern. Many fire crews that are typically based in the southern part of the state are currently fighting fires burning up north.Peg Leg | Borrego Springs, CAAt Anza-Borrego, fire season is just about to start. Historically, the park has seen some of its worst wildfires in the fall after the extreme heat of the summer begins to die down. Visitors need to be aware of this and act responsibly while enjoying everything the park has to offer. Lennox says it can be as simple as checking on current restrictions and guidelines for information such as whether or not a fire ban is in place, and Lennox and his team are focused on getting these details out to visitors.“We’re always trying to get out information ahead of visitors about the outdoors and to educate people early before they visit the park or desert,” he says.

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Gear Guides

Kyle & Michelle’s Favorite Camping Gear

Hello! We are Kyle and Michelle Shore. In September of 2020 we quit our jobs, sold all we owned, and hit the road to travel the country in our 28-foot 2018 Keystone Outback 240 URS toy hauler with our four cats. We set out to live life through experiences, not stuff. We are happy to share with you many of the RV items we have found to be useful in our travels. No camping setup is complete without a Blackstone griddle. This can be fueled with one-pound fuel canisters or piped directly into the exterior propane quick connect on your rig. Whether it’s bacon and eggs for breakfast, grilled cheese for lunch, or chicken and red skin potatoes for dinner, this is our favorite way to cook. We’ve had several different camping chairs over the years and these are by far our favorite chairs. They are very compact, lightweight, and dry quickly. The bonus feature of these chairs is that they recline, which is perfect for stargazing, and they have a drink holder. This portable fire pit fits perfectly in most RV storage areas. Virtually no clean up is needed since it burns both wood pellets and small pieces of wood with no smoke. Wood pellets typically burn completely after about 30 minutes. You can simply throw extra pellets on as needed to keep the fire going. When you are ready to go in for the evening, there is no need to wait hours for the fire to burn out.Kyle and I like to have plenty of air circulation in our RV and these rechargeable, portable fans make it easy to put them anywhere in our camper. They have a clip on them with a rotating ring so you can direct the air any direction you want it to go. It has four speed settings and is charged with a micro USB or USB-C charging cable.When space and weight are so important in RV life, this folding table is perfect. With two height settings, it works perfectly as a side table with our Stargazer Chairs or serves as a great cooking stand for the 17-inch Blackstone Griddle.You can throw your useless flyswatter away. This handheld bug zapper will be your new best friend. It runs on two AA batteries and has a metal rung to make hanging it on the wall easy. We’ve eliminated lots more bugs with this bug zapper than we ever did with a normal fly swatter.This litter champ has been a life-saver. There is a lot of waste when you have four cats. The litter champ keeps odors at bay and makes clean up a breeze. With its continuous bag system, once the bag is full, you simply tie off the biodegradable bag and dispose of it. Then a new bag is ready to go.Most RV refrigerators don’t come with an ice cube maker and the need to conserve water while boondocking led to our discovering these ice cubes. They are easy to clean and reusable. They keep our drinks ice cold without watering them down.This tabletop air purifier is the perfect size for an RV. It runs on 12-volt USB power and pulls less than 1 amp on its highest setting. This is the perfect combination to filter out allergens in the rig while not putting excessive drain on your battery(ies). The versatility of items in the kitchen is a must. These silicone bowls are perfect for our morning cereal or double as a baking dish for some individual size lasagna. Perfect for cold items, heating in the oven, or cooking in the microwave.Follow Kyle and MichelleBlog & Website: The Wandering Shores YouTube: The Wandering Shores Facebook: The Wandering Shores Instagram: The Wandering Shores Campendium: Kyle and Michelle Sharing your *Favorite Camping Gear* with the Campendium Community is a great way to help the site earn affiliate revenue while helping your fellow campers learn about great gear. If you’d like to contribute, please email photos with links to the product details on Amazon, along with a couple of sentences about each item to Thanks in advance!

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A couple and a dog standing in front of their silver RV.
Ching & Jerud’s Favorite Camping Gear

We left Asheville, NC back in March of 2015 and have been living on the road full-time since. This has given us a lot of time to figure out what gear we really need and use daily. Here are ten of our favorite items.We held off for several years before buying the Viair 400P portable air compressor because of how pricey it is. But it’s worth the money and we’re extremely glad to have it each time we’ve had to use it. The Viair is so fast and it has the capacity to fill up high-pressure and high-volume tires like our F-250 truck and fifth-wheel.Jerud and I both need internet for work. Having the Proxicast antenna opens up the places we can boondock because it lets us pull in cell signal we otherwise wouldn’t have.Since our rig is 100% powered by solar (we don’t use any propane and don’t have a generator), it’s important to have kitchen appliances that are very energy efficient. The Instant Pot fits that bill. It also allows us to save weight and trash by not having to carry canned beans around and find places to recycle the cans.Who can live without bread and cookies? Not us! Having an electric oven so we can bake was very important. This toaster oven lets us cook meals like we did when we were in a house, make our own granola bars, bake desserts to share with friends, and butter that freshly made bread with honey.Plastic bags drive me nuts! The Earthwise mesh produce bags are perfect whether we’re buying kale, apples, potatoes, or even bulk items like popcorn kernels. These bags are durable and can be washed again and again.While I hate plastic bags, the Debbie Meyer Green Bags get a pass because using them means wasting less food. These bags keep our produce fresh for a lot longer. This is key since we stock up our fridge with enough fresh food for two weeks or more while we’re boondocked far from towns. And these green bags can be washed and reused for years!We purchased a 5-gallon bucket from Lowes and a Gamma seal lid to store Tyki’s dog food. This airtight lid keeps smells and rodents away.We hit the road full-time so we could explore our public lands, which means we spend a lot of time out in the sun and our skin pays for it. Think Sport sunscreen is not only reef safe, but it stays on whether we’re mountain biking, paddling, or hiking.There’s nothing like ice cold water after a long summer hike or hot chocolate after snowshoeing. The Hydroflask water bottles seemed like an unnecessary luxury item at first, but after the heat waves this summer, it’s moved to our must-have list. This rechargeable LED necklace goes around Tyki’s neck on every late-night walk. It lets us keep track of where he is and it’s entertaining to watch the bright lights bounce around like glow sticks at a dance party.Follow Ching & JerudBlog & Website: Live Small Ride Free Instagram: Live Small Ride Free Campendium: Live Small Ride Free Sharing your *Favorite Camping Gear* with the Campendium Community is a great way to help the site earn affiliate revenue while helping your fellow campers learn about great gear. If you’d like to contribute, please email photos with links to the product details on Amazon, along with a couple of sentences about each item to Thanks in advance!

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Woman working on RV with tools on table next to her.
Are You Prepared? You Need These Tools in Your RV Tool Box

Life on the road can be a very freeing, enjoyable experience. But as many full-time RVers can attest, you need to be prepared for anything. Things can break, tear, and malfunction while you’re traveling, especially if you’re on the move for months at a time. A well-stocked RV toolkit is a must-have for any camper, whether you’re out for the weekend or indefinitely.There are tons of little things that can break that won’t stop you from hitting the road, but they can become inconvenient and bothersome. Avoid the headache and have the right tools to repair your RV on the go. 8 Tools to Include in Your RV Toolkit 1. Tire Pressure Gauge Be sure to carry a tire pressure gauge in your RV or any automobile you own. More modern RVs and vehicles may have tire pressure sensors but do not always depend on these, especially if you bought your RV used. If you are driving a lot, get into the habit of doing daily tire pressure checks to avoid any mishaps while you are on the road.Even if you’re parked for an extended period in one spot, keep in the habit of checking your tires regularly. A slow leak or flat tire can really put a damper on your trip, especially if you only discover it on the day you’re planning to head somewhere new.You can choose from the classic pen-style tire pressure gauge or a digital reader. When looking for a tire pressure gauge, get one that reads to at least 100 psi. This will not be an issue with a digital reader. 2. Air Compressor Having a tire pressure gauge is helpful to get to know if your tire pressure is low or not, but you also need a way to inflate those tires if need be.Many gas stations have free or paid air compressors available, but long-term RVers (especially boondockers) may choose to invest in a portable air compressor that draws power from your vehicle battery. These handy tools are not only great for pumping up a low tire but are easy enough to use that they are a must-have for those who like to drive 4×4 roads or on the sand. 3. Flashlight or Headlamp There are many options for lights to include your RV toolkit, and flashlights and headlamps are two of the best options. Better yet, have both!Flashlights are ideal when you are looking in hard-to-reach places, and headlamps work well for working on tasks that require both hands. No matter the light source you choose, always pack extra batteries. There are also several options for rechargeable flashlights and headlamp options too.Most of the time, investing in a rechargeable light source not only saves you from running low on battery, but it often saves you money in the long run. If you decide to go the rechargeable route, make sure you have ample power to power it up. This is easy if you often stay in paid camping areas, but a solar charger or generator will be handy if you frequent boondocking campsites.Another excellent light option is an inspection mirror with LED lights. If you choose to invest in one of these, look for a telescoping mirror that extends and has a flexible head to give you more reach. While a headlamp and flashlight can be more versatile, the inspection mirror gives you an easy way to see out-of-the-way places. 4. Drill and Drill Bits When packing a drill in your toolkit for RVing, make sure it is cordless and battery-operated. It also won’t hurt to have at least two batteries, so you can always have a full charge when you need to use it. Having a drill on the road has many uses, including saving your time with your stabilizer jack if you have the right drill socket. Beyond that, having a drill is excellent for fixing various things on your RV, both inside and out.When deciding which drill to get for your RV toolkit, consider what you may want to use it for and how much power you want. A drill with around 14 volts will be sufficient for most travelers, but it will only really work for smaller jobs and may feel underpowered. A 20-volt drill is recommended if you plan to use your drill often. 5. Zip Ties Zip ties are very similar to duct tape in that they can fix almost anything—at least for a little while. You can use them to reattach a wayward hose, keep cords and wires together, or lock shut a wily cabinet door for travel. They are so versatile that once you start looking, you’ll find uses for them everywhere. Need to wrap insulation around your pipes for a freezing night? Break a shower curtain ring? Need an extra keychain? You can use zip ties for all of those. 6. Knife or Multi-Tool Having a multi-purpose tool of any kind is useful. Keep it in your pocket while inspecting your RV or while milling around camp, and we can guarantee you’ll find dozens of uses for it. Some multi-purpose tools also include a knife or blade, but it’s worth it to keep a dedicated pocket knife, too, for small tasks. 7. Multi-Bit Screwdriver A big part of RV travel is organization and space-saving. So, instead of having multiple screwdrivers, get one with multiple bits.You can get these with their own organization cases, which is recommended, so you don’t lose any of the bit heads. You should at the very least have a flathead and Phillips to swap in and out since these are the most common screw heads.If you get the screwdriver in a set, other heads will be included, which on an RV will likely come in handy from time to time. 8. Socket and Ratchet Set Sockets and ratchet sets are useful in any car toolkit, but especially for RVs. Make sure that the set(s) of sockets you carry are the ones that best fit the bolts and screws in your camper. Most of the time, you will only have to buy one or two additional sizes, but it is a good idea to check what you may need before you hit the road. Other RV Toolkit Tips When RVing and traveling full-time, having the right mindset for encountering repairs and pitfalls is necessary. Take some of the stress away from any situation by being prepared for the most common RV repairs. Having roadside assistance of some kind is also recommended for those times when you encounter mechanical issues you can’t fix yourself.Preparedness goes a long way during long-distance travel. So, on top of the eight must-have tools to include in your RV toolkit we listed, bring along a toolset in a carrying case. Some of these toolsets will consist of some of the items we listed, like the ratchet set or a screwdriver, but they will also include other tools needed for auto and RV repair.When investing in an RV toolkit in a carrying case, look for SAE or metric sizes that are compatible with your rig. Not all rigs are the same, even within the same brand names. Having a toolkit specific to your rig in a carrying case helps save you from having to buy individual tools, and it keeps them organized while you travel (win-win).

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Needed a spot to stop for the night. The person on the other end of the phone was gracious and helpful. We were going to arrive after they closed the office. Our instruction packet was in the box on the front door, instructions were clear. Since the office was closed we had to pay cash, which was fine. The park was easy to find, entry was...
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