Human Encounters with Bears Turn Deadly

Recent media reports detail numerous human encounters with black bears.

This black bear wants his food and he is waiting patiently. DO NOT FEED BEARS! (Source: Thomas J/travelooce.com)
This black bear wants his food and he is waiting patiently. DO NOT FEED BEARS! (Source: Thomas J/travelooce.com)

In most instances the bears became food-conditioned, lost their natural fear of humans, and become a threat as they roamed in search of an easy meal. These bear was either relocated or euthanized by rangers because they posed an obvious human safety risk to campers.

Several samples of these reports follow.

Black Bear Killed at Yellowstone Campground

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that a black bear that refused to leave a Yellowstone National Park campground after getting a taste of human food there was killed by park staff.

The 142-pound adult male black bear entered the Canyon Campground and came within six feet of a man and woman eating.

The campers backed off, and the bear ate some of the food off their table. It then went through their garbage and pawed at their tent.

As the bear left their campsite, it checked out tents, fire pits and bear-proof trash bins, and food-storage boxes at other campsites.

Rangers hazed the bear out of the campground, but it returned later in the day. Out of a concern for safety, the bear was shot and killed later that night.

Bear Aggression at Colorado Campgrounds

Remember: A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear (Courtesy: U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Remember: A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear (Courtesy: U.S. Department of Agriculture)

The Aspen Times reported that a bear tried to break into a car less than 30 feet from a campsite, and set the car alarm off five times in one evening. The next day, a large black bear broke into a car in the Difficult day-use parking lot with several people watching. The bear bent a door and broke a window before leaving the lot with a bag of marshmallows in its mouth.

“People need to remember that black bears are smart, wild, and very strong,” said Roy Schoepf, a Difficult Campground camp host.

“The bear we’ve been seeing pushed over all four of our bear-proof dumpsters on one visit. They’re fearless and can do a lot of damage if they want.”

There have been multiple bear sightings at the Difficult Campground, as well as several surrounding campsites.

The public needs to be aware that dealing with bears is serious business and caution must be taken at every level.

Colorado has a “two-strike” policy under which bears may be tranquilized, ear-tagged, and relocated once if they are in an inappropriate location or they have engaged in episode(s) of “nuisance” behavior. If that same bear has to be physically dealt with again (tranquilized or trapped due to inappropriate location or nuisance behavior), the bear is put down. Bears that pose a public safety risk will be put down regardless of whether they have ear tags or not.

Bears are territorial and get into a habit of returning to where they find food.

Black Bear Killed at New Mexico State Park Campground

MyHighPlains reports that New Mexico Department of Game and Fish officers trapped and killed a black bear after it tore open a tent with two campers inside in the Lake Alice Campground at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton.

The women in the tent were able to escape uninjured and set off their car alarm, which scared the bear away.

Department officers who responded to the call said the bear apparently was attracted to the campground by birdfeeders hung by campers. The bear went from campsite to campsite, knocking over birdfeeders and grills before raiding the women’s tent.

The women did not have any food in their tent. Most other campers in the campground were sleeping in camp trailers.

The black bear has an acute sense of hearing and smell but has relatively poor eyesight. (Source: oklahomawildlifecontrol.com)
The black bear has an acute sense of hearing and smell but has relatively poor eyesight. (Source: oklahomawildlifecontrol.com)

The bear was killed because it posed an obvious human safety risk to future tent campers.

“We can’t emphasize this enough: When you are camping, don’t put up birdfeeders or leave any other food sources out that may attract bears or other wildlife,” Conservation Officer Clint Henson said.

“In this case, putting out birdfeeders put everyone in that campground at risk and resulted in the bear’s death.”

Bighorn National Forest Visitors Urged to be Bear Aware

A USDA Forest Service news release reports that Wyoming Game & Fish Department game warden trapped a black bear in the Bighorn National Forest.

The 4-year-old male bear had received a food reward from a camper in the Dayton Gulch area earlier that morning. That evening, the bear returned for more. The bear was euthanized.

Please Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series on Bears and Bear Safety.

Part 2: Being Bear Aware

Worth Pondering…

In many cultures, the bear was looked upon with such reverence that members of the culture were not allowed to speak the word for “bear “. Instead, they referred to the animal with varied and creative euphamisms. Several names were used by the Navajo and other native groups—Fine Young Chief, He Who Lives in the Den, and Reared in the Mountains.

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Colorado County Campground Offers Vintage Airstream

A 31-foot Airstream trailer, the 2006 75th anniversary edition of the company’s Classic model, will be available to campers at Larimer County’s South Bay Campground at Horsetooth Reservoir beginning Memorial Day weekend.

Airstream trailer now available as a rental unit at Larimer County’s Horsetooth Reservoir South Bay Campground (Credit: Steve Stoner)
Airstream trailer now available as a rental unit at Larimer County’s Horsetooth Reservoir South Bay Campground (Credit: Steve Stoner)

“I’ve got to rent it out about 175 times to get even on it,” Dan Rieves, visitor services manager for the natural resources department, told Reporter Herald.

The county paid a Georgia dealer $29,000 for the sleek, aluminum-skinned trailer after tracking other public recreation agencies’ experience with the same idea.

“This is being done all over the country,” Rieves said.

“We’re actually sort of late in the game with this.”

For $99 nightly, with a two-night minimum rental, campers can rent the classic trailer that sleeps three adults or two adults and two children comfortably.

The iconic Airstream dates to 1931, when flamboyant, self-promoting entrepreneur Wally Byum launched the company in Los Angeles.

In the 82 intervening years, the trailer has found its way into American culture in ways few other manufactured products can match, the Reporter Herald reports.

“You have the convenience of an RV, but you also get Americana,” Rieves said.

“It’s Route 66, or a ’57 Chevy, or hot dog carts.”

The county’s new trailer is also pretty swanky.

Horsetooth Reservoir South Bay Campground
Horsetooth Reservoir South Bay Campground

Rieves’ department spent another $6,000 beyond the purchase price for upgrades including new upholstery and flooring.

A Lakewood Airstream dealer, the only one in Colorado, said the county got a deal.

“That’s a good price,” said Zach Shaw, who sells the trailers at Windish RV Center.

“They hold their value better than any unit on the market.”

New Airstream Classics, fully decked-out with leather upholstery, custom cabinets, and other cushy perks are priced over $100,000.

Rieves said the Airstream will add a level of luxury that the county wouldn’t otherwise reach.

“We have walk-in tent sites. We have cabins. We have RV sites with hook-ups,” he said.

“We really didn’t have more of that high-end experience.”

If the Airstream experiment is successful, as it has been in other regions, the county is open to expanding it.

“We’ll run with this for a while, see how it goes, and maybe get another one,” Rieves said.

Details

South Bay Campground at Horsetooth Reservoir

Located in the foothills west of Fort Collins at an elevation of 5,430 feet, Horsetooth Reservoir is 1,900 acres of water surrounded by 2,000 acres of public land.

It is popular for fishing, boating, water-skiing, and camping.

This 6.5-mile reservoir is open year round and is a part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District.

Horsetooth Reservoir South Bay Campground
Horsetooth Reservoir South Bay Campground

The purpose of this water project is to divert water from the west slope to the east slope for drinking water, irrigation, and hydropower generation. The Bureau of Reclamation is solely responsible for power generation.

The agencies jointly manage water levels for irrigation, municipal, and industry use.

Recreation is managed by Larimer County Natural Resources.

Park Entrance Permits and Camping Fees are required.

Horsetooth Reservoir has two campgrounds situated around south, and southwest shores.

These campgrounds will accommodate anything from tents to large RVs. There are 111 campsites spread between two campgrounds.

South Bay campground has 58 campsites, seven cabins, and one Airstream trailer nestled around the south bay area of the reservoir.

Four of the sites are tent sites located in the north part of the campground near the cabins. Most of the campsites have pull-through parking with a few back-in sites at the southern tip of the reservoir. A dump station is located near the entrance.

Worth Pondering…
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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RVC Outdoor Destinations Completes Garden of the Gods Upgrade

Colorado Springs premier outdoor recreation property upgraded to Garden of the Gods RV Resort.

RVC Garden of the Gods logoRVC Outdoor Destinations, a leading provider of U.S. outdoor resort properties, announces that it has completed the renovation of Garden of the Gods Campground in Colorado Springs, Colorado and it has been upgraded to Garden of the Gods RV Resort.

Garden of the Gods RV Resort offers 173 RV sites, including six new executive pull-through sites, and 29 upgraded lodging units.

In addition to renovating all of the buildings, various improvements and amenity additions include a new lobby, the Midland Trail gateway, a bark park, and a fully remodeled Garden Studios and Suites, a new pool deck, new fencing, road and landscape upgrades, upgraded Wi-Fi, a new business center, and new picnic tables.

Also, a new base camp area has been created that includes upgraded bunkhouses and family suites that surround a community campfire and grill.

After purchasing the property in 2012 and investing over $800,000 in improvements over the last year, Garden of the Gods RV Resort remains the most attractive outdoor hospitality property in the region.

The property’s logo, website, social media presence, and signage have also been updated to better reflect the upgraded property.

“There is a lot of excitement about this renovation and I’m looking forward to all of the smiles the improvements will bring to our guests,” said Ian Horgan, General Manager of Garden of the Gods.

RVC Garden of the Gods CO806311RVC President Andy Cates added that “Garden of the Gods RV Resort is one of the strongest properties in the western United States. RVC is upgrading it from an already attractive and well located campground to an RV Resort by adding the right amenities and improvements.”

Cates added, “RVC continues to lead the outdoor hospitality industry in our niche of high quality, unique properties and we’re actively seeking others that fit our model.”

In addition to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, RVC currently operates Outdoor Destinations and RV resorts in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Details

Garden of the Gods RV Resort

Garden of the Gods RV Resort is tucked in the scenic foothills of the Rocky Mountains and near Pikes Peak. It’s centrally located in Colorado Springs with easy access to some of the best attractions for sightseeing, hiking, dining, and everything in between.

The resort can accommodate even the largest RVs and big rigs. Choose from Standard Deluxe, Executive, or Premium. Complete with full hookups, 30 or 50 amp service, cable, and Wi-Fi. Garden of the Gods RV Resort also offers overnight accommodations in the lodge, camper cabins, bunkhouses, mountain suites, and tree top suites.

Address: 3704 West Colorado Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80904

Phone: (719) 475-9450 or (800) 248-9451 (toll free)

Website: rvcoutdoors.com/gardenofthegods-colorado

RVC Outdoor Destinations

RVC Outdoor Destinations-image001RVC Outdoor Destinations develops, owns, and operates a portfolio of high-quality outdoor hospitality properties located within some of the country’s most beautiful natural settings and offering upscale services and amenities.

Memphis, Tennessee-based RVC is redefining the traditional camping experience with its original Outdoor Destination concept and upgraded RV resorts that provide guests with a comfortable, customizable, outdoor vacation through a variety of affordable lodging options, including RV sites, yurts, cabins, and cottages, all with enhanced guest amenities and recreational activities.

RVC operates eight Outdoor Destinations and RV Resorts in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

Address: 429 N Main Street, Suite 100, Memphis, Tennessee 38103

Phone: (901) 432-4748

Website: rvcoutdoors.com

Worth Pondering…

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

—Peter Drucker

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50 Amazing Places to RV

You might have seen it on a shelf and thought, “I should pick that up.”

The 17th-Century English Village is a re-creation of the small farming and maritime community built by the Pilgrims* along the shore of Plymouth Harbor. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The 17th-Century English Village is a re-creation of the small farming and maritime community built by the Pilgrims* along the shore of Plymouth Harbor. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s the national bestseller, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”

Sometimes the best adventures are those in your own backyard.

Here, in alphabetical order, are 50 things to do or see in your RV before you die:

Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts

A living history museum in Plymouth, Plimoth Plantation depicts the original settlement of the Plymouth Colony established in the 17th century by English colonists. Visitors relive the past by experiencing a living museum that showcases the distinct lives of two cultures that came together during the 1600s.

The interaction between guests and the current day Wampanoag and people playing the part of the original English colonists, provides keen insight into life in Plymouth during the times of early colonial life, and uneasy, yet respectful, relationship that existed between the colonists and the native Wampanoag.

Quartzsite, Arizona

A dusty destination in the middle of nowhere—but, come January, the little town of Quartzsite transforms into the vendor capital of the world and becomes the largest gathering of RVs and RVers on the planet.

This sleepy Arizona town has become famous for luring snowbirds who like to browse amid RVs and RV products, gems and minerals, crafts and hobby items—and the “mother of all swap meets.”

Continue reading →

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

A mere two-hour drive from Denver, Trail Ridge Road takes visitors into the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park, traversing a ridge above 11,000 feet for 10 miles. Along the way, tiny tundra flowers and other wild blooms contrast with sweeping vistas of towering summits; 78 of them exceed 12,000 feet. Alpine lakes reflect the grandeur.

On a one-day blitz from the East Entrance, drive Trail Ridge Road as far as Farview Curve for the classic overview of the park’s mountains, valleys, and tundra, then double back and take Bear Lake Road to see a collection of scenic lakes

Saguaro National Park, Arizona

An Arizona highlight is a visit to Saguaro National Park near Tucson—the only place in the United States where unique “man-shaped” saguaro cacti grow. The towering saguaros which can grow up to 50 feet in height are the highlight of this national park, of course.

Tucson, Arizona is home to North America’s largest Cacti. The Giant Saguaro is the universal symbol of the American West. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The scenery is spectacular and captures the beauty that is so unique to the region. Saguaro National Park is divided into two segments in Tucson: Saguaro East (Rincon Mountain District) and Saguaro West (Tucson Mountain District).

Santa Fe, New Mexico

A combination of altitude, desert, and pueblos has produced a magical city that bears little resemblance to nearby Albuquerque or anywhere else for that matter.

Santa Fe is the United States’ longest continuously occupied state capital. Located high and dry in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this well preserved center of Southwestern art and architecture attracts visitors with its galleries, cuisine, and play of light on its adobe buildings. Santa Fe is referred to as “the city different,” a city that honors its Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo heritages.

Continue reading →

Sedona, Arizona

Nestled within the red rocks, Sedona attracts four million new and returning visitors each year, making it the second-most-visited place in Arizona, after the Grand Canyon. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Nestled within the red rocks, Sedona attracts four million new and returning visitors each year, making it the second-most-visited place in Arizona, after the Grand Canyon. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sedona is an Arizona destination not to be missed—a must-see wonders.

Sedona easily makes the “A” list of RV destinations in the U.S. due to its rugged western appeal and colorful rock formations. Tourists come from around the world to absorb the natural wonders of Red Rock Country and Sedona, its centerpiece.

Sedona’s mesmerizing red-rock country is unique to the world. The Sedona community offers so much—history, archeology, arts, culture, hiking, biking, off-road adventure, and spiritual and metaphysical meditations.

Continue reading →

Please Note: This is Part 7 of an 8-part series on 50 Places to RV Before You Die

Worth Pondering…

People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.

—Saint Augustine

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50 Magnificent RV Trips

You might have seen it on a shelf and thought, “I should pick that up.”

Late afternoon shadows enhance the beauty of Joshua Tree. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Late afternoon shadows enhance the beauty of Joshua Tree. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s the national bestseller, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”

Sometimes the best adventures are those in your own backyard.

Here, in alphabetical order, are 50 things to do or see in your RV before you die:

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park encompasses one of the most interesting and diverse patches of desert in the U.S. Its namesake species, the spiky, dramatically crooked Joshua tree, is also considered by many to be the defining characteristic of the Mojave Desert.

But this huge desert park actually lies at the meeting point of the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. The park’s eastern and southern areas, with sub 3,000-foot elevation and plants such as “jumping” cholla cactus and spidery ocotillo, is Sonoran in character; its western areas are higher, cooler, wetter, and quite densely forested with the park’s namesake tree.

Continue reading →

Las Vegas, Nevada

You only live once, so Vegas is a must. The Strip is fun, even for those who don’t like to throw away their money—err—I mean gamble. Scores of free shows and nightly programs drop the collective jaw of be-dazzled viewers. Nearly a hundred casinos light up the Nevada sky to woo penny pinchers and high rollers alike. Area tours, desert beauty and some of the country’s best golf courses make Vegas far more than just a gamer’s paradise.

Memphis, Tennessee

Put on your blue suede shoes and drop on in. Whether it is the strains of the Blues, the smell of old fashioned Southern barbecue, or the myriad sights that catch your eye, there is something unique about the city of Memphis.

There are approximately 600 cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Birthplace of rock ‘n roll and the blues, Memphis lays greater claim to shaping the music of the 20th century than any other city in the nation. Memphis is home to blues notables such as B.B. King and the late W.C. Handy, as well as rock ’n roll pioneer Elvis Presley.

No visit to Memphis would be complete without a visit to Graceland, the home of the late Elvis Presley, otherwise known as “The King.”

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

More than a century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt established the first national park devoted to preserving the works of man — Mesa Verde. Here, approximately 1,400 years ago, the Pueblo Indians lived in what we now call cliff dwellings.

Although the majority of these domiciles are relatively small, the largest, known as the Cliff Palace, contained 150 rooms. The park has more than 4,000 known archaeological sites, with many open for ranger-guided tours.

Continue reading →

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona & Utah

Sandstone buttes, mesas, and spires rise majestically from the desert floor. Monument Valley offers the Western backdrop made famous in movies directed by John Ford.

An unpaved, and at times rough, road loops through the park. Several overlooks offer spectacular views of the wonders of Monument Valley.

Some of the most striking and recognizable landscapes of sandstone buttes, mesas, and spires in the entire Southwest are found in Monument Valley. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Some of the most striking and recognizable landscapes of sandstone buttes, mesas, and spires in the entire Southwest are found in Monument Valley. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One of the grandest—and most photographed—landmarks in the United States, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is a sprawling, sandy preserve that straddles the border of northeastern Arizona and southeastern Utah.

Continue reading →

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S. spawning six major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. Wildlife abounds in the park’s ecosystems. The most popular destination for visitors to Mount Rainier is Paradise located on the south slope at approximately 5,400 feet.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota

South Dakota’s Black Hills provide the backdrop for Mount Rushmore, the world’s greatest mountain carving. These 60-foot high faces, 500 feet up, look out over a setting of pine, spruce, birch, and aspen in the clear western air.

The sculpture was carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum. This epic sculpture features the heads of four exalted American presidents (from left to right): George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

Please Note: This is Part 5 of an 8-part series on 50 Places to RV Before You Die

Worth Pondering…

The West is color. Its colors are animal rather than vegetable, the colors of earth and sunlight and ripeness.

—Jessamyn West

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RVC Outdoor Destinations Expands to Western U.S.

RVC Outdoor Destinations, the leading provider of high-quality outdoor resort properties in the United States, recently announced its expansion West with its acquisition of the Garden of the Gods Campground in Colorado Springs, Colorado for an undisclosed price.

The roughly 13.3-acre property 200-site property is located near the entrance of the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center, with views of Pikes Peak, the most visited mountain in North America.

The property has been the top RV and outdoor lodging destination in the region but has been under bank ownership (Farmers Insurance Group Federal Credit Union of California) since 2010. RVC has begun stabilizing operations and will begin renovating the property immediately.

Renovations will include an overall upgrade of the property and its amenities, including enhancing tent sites and incorporating them into current on-property cabins for a unique camping experience, resurfacing pools, improving existing RV sites and adding eight new, concrete RV sites.

In the coming weeks, RVC will rebrand the property from Garden of the Gods Campground to Garden of the Gods RV Resort, and will re-flag it as an RVC Outdoor Destination by the start of 2013.

“The Garden of the Gods acquisition is a terrific addition to our portfolio of upscale outdoor vacation properties,” said Andy Cates, president of RVC Outdoor Destinations.

“The upgraded camping experience we offer is resonating with guests.  It fits with what a lot of people are looking for in a vacation these days because it is unique, affordable, and allows guests to enjoy some of America’s most beautiful natural landscapes with amenities that truly make it a destination experience.”

The Garden of the Gods is one of the most popular attractions in the Pikes Peak/Colorado Springs area.

In addition to its newly acquired Colorado property, RVC currently operates six Outdoor Destinations and RV Resorts in Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina.

RVC created the Outdoor Destination hospitality model to provide a variety of lodging options, including RV sites, cottages, and yurts, all set within unique natural environments.

The properties feature amenities, such as concierge service, a ‘bark park’ off-leash area, modern swimming pools, boating and fishing rentals, coffee, beer and wine bars, free Wi-Fi and cable, and a gift shop.

Property acquisition in Colorado Springs, Colo. will lead to company’s seventh location

Details

RVC Outdoor Destinations

RVC Outdoor Destinations develops, owns, and operates a portfolio of high-quality outdoor hospitality properties located within some of the country’s most beautiful natural settings and offering upscale services and amenities.

Memphis, Tennessee-based RVC is redefining the traditional camping experience with its Outdoor Destination concept that provides guests with a comfortable, customizable, outdoor vacation through a variety of affordable lodging options, including RV sites, yurts, cabins, and cottages.

Catherine’s Landing (Arkansas)

Catherine’s Landing is nestled on 400 acres of a former dairy farm along the banks of Lake Catherine near Hot Springs. Planted among the 120 concrete RV pads are young oak, elm, and pine trees. A row of 25 RV sites line the bank of calm Lake Catherine. Construction of Remmel Dam turned a river into an 11-mile-long lake in 1924. Rates start at $31.99.

Pine Mountain (Georgia)

Located near Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain is a former KOA and independently owned campground renovated by RVC Outdoor Destinations with 189 RV pads, six yurts, and two cottages. Each comfortably spaced site includes full hook-ups, 50/30 amp electric service, cable, and Wi-Fi. Rates start at $34.95.

Carrabelle Beach (Florida)

Carrabelle Beach is located on Florida’s Forgotten Coast, about an hour from Tallahassee with 80 RV comfortably spaced sites with full hookups, 50 amp electric service, cable, and Wi-Fi. Rates start at $39.95.

Carrabelle Boat Club (Florida)

Carrabelle Boat Club is an off-the-beaten-path destination for fresh and saltwater fishing. Sheltered dockage, fueling, free splashing, and cleaning are available. Gulf and Bay boats, from 25-feet to 40-feet, are easily stacked with Wiggins lifts, safe from the elements.

Please Note: This RVC Outdoor Destinations is a Boat Club—not an RV Park.

Live Oak Landing (Florida)

The Garden of the Gods is one of the most visited attractions in Colorado Springs. This one of the most beautiful and tranquil places you will ever visit.

Live Oak Landing is located on Black Creek just off of Choctawhatchee Bay in Freeport, north of Seaside and east of Destin. Amenities include110 RV sites, 14 cottages, and private boat ramp and dock. Comfortably spaced pull-through sites feature concrete pads with full hook-ups including 50-amp electric service, cable, and Wi-Fi.

Mountain Springs (North Carolina)

Located 10 minutes west of Asheville, Mountain Springs features13 log cabins with fully-equipped kitchens, and free Wi-Fi. Plans are to build a full RVC Outdoor Destination with RV sites.

Address: 429 N Main Street, Suite 100, Memphis, Tennessee 38103

Phone: (901)432-4748

Website: rvcoutdoors.com

Related Stories

Worth Pondering…

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.

—John Muir

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The Gift That Keeps on Giving

It’s that time of year again. The Christmas countdown has begun!

While the holidays bring with it lots of love, time spent with family and friends, good food, and more, it can also bring stress—most from the gift exchange. Trying to find the perfect gift for someone can get frustrating.

But if you’re still looking for gifts for the RVer in your life, you are in luck!

To keep this manageable, it’s been parted out into two posts—each with five items.  These are in no particular order, with no favoritism or affiliation to the actual products or vendors. So, without further ado here are five gifts that keep on giving:

The National Parks: Our American Landscape

A collection of over 200 stunning images depicting America’s national parks is a perfect gift for any RVer or lover of the outdoors. The book was originally released in 2010, but was released this year in a more affordable paperback version ($16.47 on Amazon.com).

Texas State Parks Pass

The Texas State Parks Pass is an annual pass that offers many special benefits including unlimited visits to more than 90 State Parks. You can also receive discounts on camping, park store merchandise, and recreational equipment rentals, and be eligible for other specials.

The single Texas State Park Pass (Primary Pass) may be purchased for $70. An additional pass may be issued at the time of purchase for an additional $15. Additional passes sold anytime after the original transaction may be purchased for $25.

State Parks Passes can be purchased on site at any Texas State Park location, and can be used on your very first visit. Or, you can purchase your Parks Pass from the State Park Customer Service Center, by calling (512) 389-8900.

December Is “Stocking Stuffer” Month at Oregon State Parks

Through the end of the month, visitors to Oregon’s 26 state parks can buy a 12-month day-use parking permit for $25 instead $30. Parking permits are transferable from vehicle to vehicle. The parks department also offers a 24-month pass for $50.

The Oregon Coast Passport, a multi-agency permit, also is discounted $5 in December. It is valid not only for parking at state parks but also at U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service sites along the Oregon Coast. The coastal passports are on sale for $30.

The parking permits, coastal passports, and gift certificates are available by calling the Oregon State Parks Information Center (800-551-6949).

Colorado State Parks Passes

A Colorado State Parks Annual Pass is a gift of outdoor cheer that lasts all year and doesn’t require a shopping trip. The annual passes provide free access for everyone in the vehicle to all 42 state parks throughout 2012.

Colorado State Parks offer settings of natural beauty across the state, nearly every kind of outdoor recreation—boating, camping, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, and sledding—and special programs for youngsters and adults.

The annual pass is $70 and is valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.

The passes are available online and by phone (303-866-3437).

Gift certificates, which can be used for annual and daily passes, reservation fees, and camping sites are also available. And, Colorado State Park gift certificates never expire.

Purchase online for $5, $10, $25, $35, $60, or $70.

Indiana DNR Bargain Gift Pack

The $99 State Park Holiday Gift Pack includes a 2012 resident Annual Entrance Permit, an Indiana State Park Inns gift certificate worth $70, a one-year subscription to Outdoor Indiana magazine, and a 2012 Outdoor Indiana full-color calendar (a saving of $19).

The $129 State Park Holiday Gift Pack upgrades your $99 State Park Holiday Gift Pack to include a $100 Indiana State Park Inns gift certificate.

Indiana has 32 state parks and reservoirs scattered throughout the state. The entrance permit grants gate entrance for all of 2012 for all state parks and reservoirs.

The gift certificate can be used at any of seven state park lodging facilities, as well as the award-winning Pete Dye-designed golf course at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis.

You may even want to get yourself one, too, considering the savings.

Order at innsgifts.com, now through December 31.

Worth Pondering…

When your spirit cries for peace, come to a world of canyons deep in an old land; feel the exultation of high plateaus, the strength of moving wasters, the simplicity of sand and grass, and the silence of growth.

—August Fruge

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2011 National Park Holiday Celebrations

‘Tis the season! From Alaska to Georgia, there are countless holiday activities to enjoy in America’s national parks.

The National Park Foundation and National Park Service kicks-off the holiday season in Washington, D.C.’s President’s Park with the National Christmas Tree Lighting. This annual event can be seen LIVE December 1, beginning with the pre-show at 4:30 pm ET.

In addition to this 89 year-old tradition, the National Park Foundation reveals some of not-to-be-missed holiday festivities for national park visitors around the country this holiday season:

Alaska – Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

December 2, 2011: Join in the holiday cheer with performances by local talent, sing along carols, stories, poems, and refreshments at the Yuletide Christmas Concert in the National Park Service Auditorium.

Colorado – Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site

December 2-3: Witness the joys, pleasures, and pastimes of the 1840s at an isolated trading post with candlelight tours of the fort.

Georgia – Fort Pulaski National Monument

November 27: Fort Pulaski will commemorate the 149th anniversary of the Grand Thanksgiving Fete and Festival of 1862 by recreating the 48th New York Infantry first Thanksgiving in the fort with activities for all ages including foot, sack and wheelbarrow races, demonstrations, and a Civil War garb burlesque parade.

Indiana – Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

December 10: Visitors can take part in Holiday Traditions in the Dunes including activities in four different park locations, tree decorating, and a live performance from Nordic Kids.

Iowa – Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

December 2-4: The birthplace of Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States, will host A Christmas Past.

Louisiana – Cane River Creole National Historical Park

December 10: Stop by the Magnolia Plantation Overseer’s house for Christmas crafts and live music by the LaCour Trio. The entire plantation complex will be open for self guided tours.

Missouri – Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

December 3, 10, 17: Enjoy the 2011 Historic Holiday Traditions Weekend Series. The Historical Old Courthouse will feature music and activities that will take place in the rotunda, which will be adorned beautifully with Victorian decorations. Complimentary cookies and juice will be served during all weekend events.

Montana – Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site

December 4: Explore the elegant Kohrs’ family ranch house. It will be decorated to reflect a Victorian Christmas.

Nebraska – Homestead National Monument of America

November 25-December 31: The Winter Festival of Prairie Cultures celebrates the winter traditions of people who lived on the Great Plains during the homesteading era.

New Mexico – Petroglyph National Monument

November 26: Visitors can celebrate the beginning of the 2011 winter season at a Holiday Open House in the Visitor Center. Light holiday refreshments will also be served. A traditional horno oven Pueblo Indian bread baking demonstration will take place.

Let's Go RVing to Petroglyph National Monument. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

New York – Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site

November 25-December 21: Visit the Vanderbilt Mansion to view the holiday decorations; or kick off the holiday season at the special Holiday Open House on December 4.

Ohio – Cuyahoga Valley National Park

November 17-December 20: Journey to the North Pole on The Polar Express Children’s Holiday Train. Enjoy hearing a reading of The Polar Express en route to the North Pole. Passengers are encouraged to wear their pajamas. Cookies and hot chocolate are served.

Pennsylvania – Steamtown National Historic Site

November 23, 24, December 1: Join in the merriment and festivities aboard the steam-powered Holiday Express rides to Moscow, Pennsylvania. Enjoy holiday songs, stories, and other fun activities for the children at both the former passenger station and freight depots.

Utah – Golden Spoke National Historic Site

Let's Go RVing to Vanderbilt National Historic Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

December 28–30: Visitors can take part in the annual Winter Steam Festival and watch one of their locomotives in action at the same spot where the transcontinental railroad was completed over 142 years ago.

Washington – Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Friday evenings through mid-December: Visitors take park in a guided lantern tour through the Fur Store, the Counting House, and Bake House. You will learn what activities would have occurred once the sun set at Fort Vancouver

Details

National Parks Service

84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites are protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks.

Website: nps.gov

National Park Foundation

The National Park Foundation is the national charitable partner of the National Park Service.

Website: nationalparks.org

Worth Pondering…

We didn’t inherit the earth; we are borrowing it from our children.

—Native American Proverb

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2011 Top 10 Great Public Spaces in America

Great Places! You know them when you see them—but how do they become great? All the decisions we make influence the quality of our neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces.

The Great Public Space designation is part of the American Planning Association (APA) Great Places in America program, which began in 2007 and recognizes unique and exemplary streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces each year.

Fairmount Park, Riverside, California

In the 100 years since the Olmsted Brothers wrote their 1911 plan for “worthless land” on the edge of a quarry, Riverside’s flagship Fairmount Park has gone from premier community park to a center of crime and neglect to a recognized example of excellence in urban park planning and plan implementation.

Garden of the Gods Park, Colorado Springs, Colorado

In 1859 surveyor Rufus Cable came upon the inspiring landscape that is now the crown jewel of Colorado Springs’s park system and proclaimed it “a fit place for the gods to assemble.”

Monument Circle, Indianapolis, Indiana

The center of Indianapolis is Monument Circle, a traffic circle at the intersection of Meridian and Market Streets, featuring the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. (Credit: circlecityads.com)

Since 1821 when Alexander Ralston laid out the state’s capital in Indianapolis and located “Circle Street” in the middle of the mile square plot, Monument Circle has served as the literal and figurative center of Indianapolis. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, designed by Bruno Schmitz of Germany, rests at the center of the Circle. There are striking views of the state capitol building and the city from atop a 231-foot-tall observation tower.

Gray’s Lake Park, Des Moines, Iowa

The 1.9-mile walk around Gray’s Lake is known as “doing the loop,” and for some residents it’s a daily ritual that even prairie grass burns, trail repairs, and flooding won’t stop. The iconic, 1,400-foot-long Kruidenier Trail pedestrian bridge over the lake is the park’s most distinguishing feature.

Rice Park, St. Paul, Minnesota

Rice Park is a counterpoint to its busy surroundings. Its period lamps, statuary, benches, center fountain, and adjacent national landmark buildings lend a European feeling to the space. Trapezoidal in shape with two diagonal walkways, the park serves as a lunch stop, festival grounds, and outdoor sanctuary. Rice Park has undergone far-reaching changes since its establishment in 1849, when Minnesota was still a territory.

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, Nashville, Tennessee

Created to commemorate Tennessee’s 200th anniversary, the 19-acre Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park was planned, designed, and built as a concise reflection of the state’s geography, history, people, and musical legacy. Tuck-Hinton Architects in Nashville designed the park, modeling the former landfill site after the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Fair Park, Dallas, Texas

Fair Park combines City Beautiful Movement planning influences with the country’s largest collection of 1930s Art Deco architecture. “A wonderful place to spend a Saturday afternoon exploring … art and architecture,” says Eddie Hueston, former Fair Park executive general manager. Attractions on its 277 acres include eight museums, six performance facilities, and a major sports stadium.

Maymont, Richmond, Virginia

Maymont is a 100-acre American estate, an extraordinary gift given to the city by James and Sallie Dooley who lived here from 1893 to 1925. Whether strolling in the gardens, touring the mansion or watching river otters play, there is something for everyone to enjoy. (Credit: tripadvisor.com)

This striking Gilded Age mansion is surrounded by 100 acres of undulating lawn, manicured gardens, and an arboretum with 200 species of trees from six continents. Maymont continues as its original owners Major James and Sallie May Dooley intended: an extraordinary gift to Richmond for all to enjoy freely.

Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, Washington

Authors of the park’s original 1911 master plan noted that the area’s vistas were “as beautiful as views over land and water as can be seen in this or foreign lands” and found the mountainscape” toward the great Olympic range with its snow-capped peaks glistening in the sunshine … to be equal to view[s] in Italy and the Mediterranean.”

Milwaukee RiverWalk, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee RiverWalk was planned as a down-to-earth public space where residents could take peaceful walks, dine outdoors, and access the river for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. It has been more successful than anyone involved with the unique public-private initiative ever imagined.

Details

American Planning Association (APA)

The American Planning Association (APA) is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities.

Website: planning.org

Note: This is the first of a three-part series on the American Planning Association (APA) Great Places in America program.

Part 2: 2011 Top 10 Great Neighborhoods in America

Part 3: 2011 Top 10 Great Streets in America

Worth Pondering…
Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.

—Anon

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Great National Parks for Fall Foliage

With the autumn season in full swing, the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, announced the 2011 “Great National Parks for Fall Foliage” list. This year’s list includes some iconic parks and a few lesser-known treasures.

Let's Go RVing to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Each national park location, however, offers unique ways in which visitors can view the colorful foliage. Whether by water, foot, bicycle, car, or recreational vehicle, these dramatic colors of the season are not to be missed.

Many factors impact the timing of peak fall colors viewing; therefore, foliage seekers are encouraged to contact specific parks for the inside scoop on their unique foliage timing.

This year’s list, and the optimal times for foliage viewing, includes:

California: Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

Peak colors expected middle to end of October. On October 18, a hiking event to Whiskeytown Falls offers a perfect way to view the foliage during the peak season.

Colorado: Curecanti National Recreational Area

Peak colors begin in late September and continue through the end of October.

Mississippi: Natchez Trace Parkway

In middle to late October, the maple, hickory, oak, and other hardwood trees begin to change colors.

Let's Go RVing to Zion National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Montana: Glacier National Park

The bright yellow and gold colors on the aspen and larch trees run through mid-October covering the trails around the park, but particularly along Summit Trail.

Pennsylvania: Flight 93 National Memorial

The trees across the Flight 93 National Memorial begin to turn around mid-October. Check out honorflight93.org/webcam to find instant inspiration for a trip to the site or to take a virtual fall foliage tour.

Tennessee: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains boast over 130 different tree species, many of which produce breathtaking autumnal colors. Peak foliage viewing depends greatly on the various levels of elevation found within the park, but overall, the Smoky’s foliage show runs from late September through October.

Utah: Zion National Park

Peak foliage colors appear at the end of October and into November.

Virginia: Shenandoah National Park

Peak colors in the upper elevations begin early to mid-October with lower elevations peaking at the end of October into November.

Vermont: Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

Rich with sugar maples and 400-year-old hemlocks, this site boasts outstanding fall foliage each year. This year’s prime viewing is expected from mid-October through early November.

Let's Go RVing to Shenendoah National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wisconsin: Apostles Islands National Lakeshore

Peak foliage viewing varies depending on inland or coastal location; however, the foliage show runs from late September through October. Also, many bird species migrate through the park providing foliage seekers with an extra show from Mother Nature.

Details

National Park Foundation

You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites—all protected in America’s national parks. Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks.

Website: nationalparks.org

National Park Service

The National Park Service website contains contact information and special event listings for all 395 national park units.

Website: nps.gov

Worth Pondering…

National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.

—Wallace Stegner, 1983

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