Want A Campsite? Good Luck!
"Right now, if you are trying to reserve a spot for a specific date in a popular federally managed campground, you may have a 3% chance of getting it." That comment from Assistant University of Montana Professor Will Rice was what he discovered during his study of the national park system.
Rice will be providing details of a vanishing campground experience in an online lecture next week. "When the Last Campsite Fills: Allocation of Outdoor Recreation in an Age of Extreme Scarcity" is the title of the 8 p.m. presentation Wednesday, June 22.
Most recently, he published a study in coordination with the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation, which looked at inequities in the current park system. He said that advantages such as high-speed internet and flexible work schedules versus drawbacks such living in a rural area or having a low-income job affect the chance for a successful campsite reservation, using the national reservation and recreation sites.
People have already been surprised by the overwhelming demand for sites in the past few years. But then you add a natural disaster like this month's flooding in Yellowstone National Park, and the pressure increases on the other campgrounds all over the U.S.
Rice said in a UM news release that he is working with the National Park Service and others to try to find some remedies and he will continue his research. "Federal agencies are very interested in addressing these discrepancies and identifying best practices moving forward," he said.