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First Come First Serve Process Help

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Offline slhodge78

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First Come First Serve Process Help
« on: August 01, 2017, 07:54:59 AM »
Hello.

This is my first post here. I am planning to come to Big Bend for Labor Day weekend and would like to camp in the Basin, but I don't really know what to expect. I have been before, but it was winter and we had a reserved site. We are planning to sleep in Fort Stockton that Thursday night and head to the park first thing in the morning Friday. What do we do when we arrive? I have not ever just arrived anywhere without a reservation.

I called the park and the lady who answered told me that the renovations at RGV are behind schedule and they are not expecting to be open for Labor Day weekend. If that is true, it seems that camping in the park will be extremely limited. If the basin is full Friday morning, what are the recommended alternatives for a no reservation tent site?

I saw on google there is a place not far from the northern entrance, but that seems so far from all the places we want to be. It is closer on the drive home though. I think there are a couple of places in Study Butte/Terlingua, which looks to be located slightly better in respect to the places we want to go, but would be a 45 min increase on the drive home over the place to the north.

Thank you so much if you can help me. I am so excited to return. Big Bend is an amazing place.

-Stephanie

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Offline Hang10er

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Re: First Come First Serve Process Help
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2017, 09:08:32 AM »
I know you'll get more definitive answers but I think you're going to be ahead of the game in arriving Friday morning.  Especially if you get there EARLY. You are going to be one of those people that make getting a site risky for the "coming in Friday night" people. 

And don't think of the 45 minutes as lengthening your drive home, think of it as 45 more minutes you get traversing the park!

Have fun.

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Offline slhodge78

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Re: First Come First Serve Process Help
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2017, 10:03:45 AM »
Thanks!

I am also curious about what to do when we arrive in the basin. I think there is a board at the entrance to the campground where you pay, is that correct? Will the available sites be posted on that board? Do we drive down into the campground to check out the spots and then go back to the board to choose our site and pay? I just want to make sure I know what I'm doing so I don't have to bother the camp host at 8 am about stuff I should probably already know.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 10:58:14 AM by slhodge78 »

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Offline badknees

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Re: First Come First Serve Process Help
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2017, 11:01:57 AM »
I also curious about what to do when we arrive in the basin. I think there is a board at the entrance to the campground where you pay, is that correct?
YES

 Will the available sites be posted on that board?
NO

 Do we drive down into the campground to check out the spots and then go back to the board to choose our site and pay?

YES. Just drop and ice chest or a chair, note the campsite number and go back to the box and pay.


I just want to make sure I know what I'm doing so I don't have to bother the camp host at 8 am about stuff I should probably already know.

They'll probably be awake.... They check sites in the AM. You can always ask them if there is anybody leaving or which sites are open too,
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

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Offline mule ears

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Re: First Come First Serve Process Help
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2017, 11:44:17 AM »

 Do we drive down into the campground to check out the spots and then go back to the board to choose our site and pay?

YES. Just drop and ice chest or a chair, note the campsite number and go back to the box and pay.



Don't drop an ice chest unless it is empty 'cause they will bust you for leaving food out for the bears.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline badknees

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Re: First Come First Serve Process Help
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2017, 12:03:16 PM »

 Do we drive down into the campground to check out the spots and then go back to the board to choose our site and pay?

YES. Just drop and ice chest or a chair, note the campsite number and go back to the box and pay.



Don't drop an ice chest unless it is empty 'cause they will bust you for leaving food out for the bears.

True.....
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

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Offline slhodge78

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Re: First Come First Serve Process Help
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2017, 12:14:04 PM »
Thanks to all of you. This really helps me. I hate traveling without reservations so this aspect of the trip has been stressing me.
If we don't get a site in the basin, what is your suggestion for other options?

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Offline badknees

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Re: First Come First Serve Process Help
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2017, 12:17:55 PM »
Thanks to all of you. This really helps me. I hate traveling without reservations so this aspect of the trip has been stressing me.
If we don't get a site in the basin, what is your suggestion for other options?

Cottonwood campground? Or a backcountry roadside campsite.
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

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Offline presidio

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Re: First Come First Serve Process Help
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2017, 12:33:48 PM »

 Do we drive down into the campground to check out the spots and then go back to the board to choose our site and pay?

YES. Just drop and ice chest or a chair, note the campsite number and go back to the box and pay.



Don't drop an ice chest unless it is empty 'cause they will bust you for leaving food out for the bears.

Be careful about dropping ANYTHING other than a person. See http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/big-bend-questions-and-answers/jose-galindo/msg135706/#msg135706 for what happens when you leave things unattended for even a short while. It eventually was resolved to the benefit of the "accused" but left lingering doubts as to the veracity/sincerity of the supervisory employee's response.

Another, earlier, encounter with this same ranger can be viewed at http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/members-only-photos-and-reports/october-2012/

No idea if this guy still works in the park (or even for the NPS) but there's more than a bit of overreaction (spanning several years). The behavior described in both cases goes well beyond the entirely appropriate caution exercised by law enforcement officers and treads rather deeply into fear and intimidation while making contacts.
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Offline Flash

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Re: First Come First Serve Process Help
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2017, 12:46:33 PM »
I left an ice chest once on the table while I hiked up the hill to drop the envelope. I came back in time to see the park host heaving it inside the bear box while muttering something under his breath.  :)

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Offline RichardM

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Re: First Come First Serve Process Help
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2017, 01:23:17 PM »
When you first enter the campground, pick up a payment envelope. When you find an available site, tear off the tab on the envelope and put your info on it. Put it in the clip on the campsite post and head back up to turn in the envelope with your payment. Leaving anything else at the site will help it appear taken, but is subject to the "abandoned equipment" enforcement whims of the NPS and their volunteers.

Thanks a ton for this info Jalco. Definitely helps to have an idea of how the process works before I drive 9 hours to BiBe. This envelope we need to pick up. Is it at Panther Junction or at the campground entrance? Is there a pile of envelopes somewhere and I can just grab one or do I need to speak to a ranger or campground host to get one?
As you enter the campground, you'll see this on your right before you get to the campsites. Grab a form and take it with you (make sure you have a pen to fill it out). If you see an open unreserved site, fill out the form and leave the tear-off portion in the clip on the numbered post marking the site. Then fill out the envelope and put your check or cash in it and put it in the Iron Ranger. If you don't find an open one or see anyone packing up to leave, find the campground host and see if he knows of any open sites or ones coming open. On busy days he'll be out walking the campground.  He'll usually have a clipboard. Not sure if he wears a uniform shirt or not, but he's always been wearing something green when I've talked to him. :ranger:

I'd recommend printing out this map and taking it with you. That way if the host says #59 is open you'll know how to find it. You'll also know which ones are the reserveable ones.


The BigBendGallery.com site is currently offline, so I've attached the pictures.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 07:06:35 AM by RichardM »

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Offline Jalco

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Re: First Come First Serve Process Help
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2017, 08:32:16 PM »
It's an 8-hr drive from my house in Round Rock to the Basin.  By the time I get there, I'm ready to stretch my legs.  I pick up the envelope when I pull in to the campground, park my car at the chosen site, and make the walk back to turn in my payment.  No worries about coolers, chairs, etc.

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Offline GaryF

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Re: First Come First Serve Process Help
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2017, 10:21:06 PM »
I left an ice chest once on the table while I hiked up the hill to drop the envelope. I came back in time to see the park host heaving it inside the bear box while muttering something under his breath.  :)

I had pretty much the same experience at RGV about 10 years ago, except the host was a little quicker, all I found was a warning notice. Cooler was brand new, Just being used as a packing organizer,  no food.

The flip side is that I had javelinas tear into my empty tent at the same campsite in 1999, and it wasn't an isolated incident, many people were having problems.  Seems like the efforts may have paid off, on my last visit the hosts said that they had not heard of any javelina problems at RGV for many years.

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Offline Quatro

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Re: First Come First Serve Process Help
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2017, 10:44:02 PM »
The flip side is that I had javelinas tear into my empty tent at the same campsite in 1999, and it wasn't an isolated incident, many people were having problems.  Seems like the efforts may have paid off, on my last visit the hosts said that they had not heard of any javelina problems at RGV for many years.

Yep.  We camped there the same year with a 2 year old.  Javelina packs were a little un-nerving with a 2 year wanting to bolt in every direction.  It was a little unsettling hearing them root around and even push in the tent slightly as we tried to sleep about 2 feet from them.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro - HST

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Offline slhodge78

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Re: First Come First Serve Process Help
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2017, 07:34:20 AM »
Thanks. That map will be very helpful. We have 3 people in our group so we can just leave a person at the site we want avoiding any unattended issues.
As far as a back up plan, I would prefer to have flush toilets.

 


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