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Medford unfriendly to RVers?

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I love the Rogue Valley, Medford, and Ashland area, usually stopping there on my way north. I have been hearing over the past few years of many towns around the country which are becoming unfriendly to RVers. Medford, OR, seems to be the latest I've heard about, which, because I lik the area, makes the latest blog from Nick Russell (Gypsy Journal) on May 19, disturbing. He reports not being allowed to park at Wal-mart, which is confirmed in a letter from the Mayors office that RVers are not allowed to park overnight at Wal-mart. The police will apparently provide you with a ticket, or make you move, should you desire to stop at any business which offers free parking. I will stay at an RV park if I am going to be in an area for several days, but would prefer not to if I'm traveling through the the area and would only be there for one night.

 

My question for writing this topic is to discover what other towns around the country are not friendly to RVers?

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My question for writing this topic is to discover what other towns around the country are not friendly to RVers?

I think any city or town could be considered unfriendly to RVers in the sense that they'd just as soon have you spend money and then move along. And, for some reason, they don't equate parking at Walmart with spending money; even though many of us who occasionally park there buy groceries and other items there, too.

 

But with the media full of reports of shootouts, robberies and other unsavory acts plus the idea of "poor white trash" living in motor homes and trailers, more and more municipalities are passing ordinances prohibiting sleeping overnight in an RV except at an official RV park. In Washington state Island County - which encompasses Whidbey and Camano Islands - won't even let you sleep in your RV on your own property!

 

The DW's parents, long-time snowbirds in the past, told us of many night staying at the Walmart in Ashland waiting for Siskyou Pass (on I-5 at the border of OR and CA) to open up. It is often closed for snow removal. But that Walmart is no longer allowing overnight parking; apparently due to the CIty of Ashland passing an ordinance against it. Not allowing RVs to park in Ashland, the next northern town from that pass, seems to me to be making it less than safe for RV drivers.

 

A growing problem.

 

WDR

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Here is a link to Nick Russel's list of RV unfriendly towns. Here is a link to the Allstays Walmart no overnight parking page. Here is a link to Walmart No overnight Parking locations. There are RV unfriendly and no overnight Walmart parking datasets available on the Discovery Owners Website. Overnight RV Parking lists no overnight parking locations. Here's a list a list of 14 states that officially allow overnight parking in highway rest areas. So all the others might be considered RV unfriendly. Most National Parks and many state parks do not allow overnight occupancy of an RV in other than designated campgrounds (for which there is usually a fee) and many National Wildlife Refuges do not allow camping at all so that may make them RV unfriendly if using just that criteria.

Edited by trailertraveler

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Here is a link to Nick Russel's list of RV unfriendly towns. Here is a link to the Allstays Walmart no overnight parking page. Here is a link to Walmart No overnight Parking locations. There are RV unfriendly and no overnight Walmart parking datasets available on the Discovery Owners Website. Overnight RV Parking lists no overnight parking locations. Here's a list a list of 14 states that officially allow overnight parking in highway rest areas. So all the others might be considered RV unfriendly. Most National Parks and many state parks do not allow overnight occupancy of an RV in other than designated campgrounds (for which there is usually a fee) and many National Wildlife Refuges do not allow camping at all so that may make them RV unfriendly if using just that criteria.

Thank you for this list. It would be nice to have these in an Escapees section, like Days End. Anyone know what the process is for having a new section created?

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" National Wildlife Refuges do not allow camping at all so that may make them RV unfriendly if using just that criteria."

I hope you are bring fecious. NWR have a very specific mission. That is the protection of habitat, often for an endangered or threatened species. Their budget and staffing levels are very low. while they are tasked with having as much property open to public use as possible,their mission is not the same as national Forests and national Parks

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It is really interesting to compare the lists as they don't agree. Walmart Locator lists 2 different stores which I have seen RVs in overnight and one of those as recently as less than 10 days ago! It also seems to have by far the longest list.

 

It seems to me that limiting or not allowing one to dry camp in a parking lot is questionable as the only requirement for a town to be listed as RV unfriendly. As one who very rarely dry camps it isn't an issue for me, even though I do disagree with those who try to prevent an RV from spending an occasional night in a parking lot when the lot's owner doesn't care. Of course I do agree with the dry camping policy promoted by Escapee's as a reasonable one.

Edited by Kirk

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" National Wildlife Refuges do not allow camping at all so that may make them RV unfriendly if using just that criteria."

I hope you are bring fecious. NWR have a very specific mission. That is the protection of habitat, often for an endangered or threatened species. Their budget and staffing levels are very low. while they are tasked with having as much property open to public use as possible,their mission is not the same as national Forests and national Parks

Yes, I was being facetious by mentioning that parks and refuges may not allow free and or dispersed camping/boondocking and thus could be considered RV unfriendly based on that criteria. I was also being facetious in suggesting that any state that did not allow overnighting in highway rest stops was RV unfriendly. Actually there are a few National Wildlife Refuges that allow camping. Kofa is the one that comes to my mind off the top of my head. Others allow camping in conjunction with other specific wildlife dependant activities like hunting. That is why I said many not all.

Edited by trailertraveler

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I certainly think that a municipal ordinance that specifically forbids spending even one night parked on property with the owner's permission while still allowing commercial trucks to spend nights at truck stops or other property would be a major criteria for "RV unfriendly". This sems to me to be a growing trend and one way to fight it is to make towns and counties that pass these sorts of ordinances aware of the fact that it's publicized and businesses in those areas lose money.

 

However, if a private business - like Walmart - do not allow overnight parking that's a different issue entirely. Their property, their right to determine who is parked there for how long.

 

WDR

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Wow, being labeled as "RV unfriendly" for passing a law that say no overnight sleeping in parking lots is sort of extreme. Why do you suppose the City of Medford passed that law? It was probably from all the RV'ers that do not post here. The ones that set up and stay for a week. The ones that dump their black water in the parking lot and leave.

To say "I'll spend my money in a friendlier place" like Nick Russel is sort of childish, in my opinion. Most likely, we (RV'ers as a whole) are the ones that ruined it for ourselves. To be told that you have to CAMP in a CAMPGROUIND (or other place designed for that) and not in a PARKING LOT is not really that outrageous. Is this simple issue the worst thing that is happening in your travels? I'm sorry but if you can not afford $30 to sleep at night, then you shouldn't be on the road. Does it really matter how long you plan to stay? Does it really matter that some people claim that they will buy groceries while camped in the parking lot? You would have bought groceries anyway and still will even if you don't park in their lot overnight for free. Do you go to the local car dealer and say you will buy a car if they let you camp out for a night or two? Do you barter a free night of camping at your cell phone store? Why is it so outrageous that a city that you do not live in, doesn't want a bunch of vagrants living in their parking lots? That law doesn't just apply to people from out of town in nice RV's. It applies to the bum with a tent, the guy sleeping in his car because he and the missus had a fight and the homeless guy in the van. It is easier to say "No camping" than only 2 nights or only one night. After all, it is a parking lot for Christ sake, not a campground.

I can show you a closed down restaurant on the east side of Houston with 5 occupied cars, that are living in the parking lot. Why? Because there is no local owner to say they must leave...and there is no law in this county about sleeping in your car. The whole area looks like pooh. It's one big trash heap that blows all up and down the road. I personally applaud Medford for trying to maintain a certain quality of life for their townsfolk. And I bet that not a one of them will lose any sleep because some out of town people, in RV's, drive right on by their city simply because they can't camp in a parking lot for free. .

Edited by Big5er

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Enforce the laws pertinent to the criminal actions of the people who disobey them. Don't simply pass a rule saying "no one can do this any more (except the truckers)". I don't do much overnight parking in Walmart lots but I have pulled into them at 11pm on a rainy night just to get a little sleep.

 

I will pass by any municipality that bans RVs from Walmart but allows a trucker to park at at truck stop. You are perfectly free to do whatever you like without me demanding that you stay off the road.

 

WDR

Edited by wa_desert_rat

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Wow, being labeled as "RV unfriendly" for passing a law that say no overnight sleeping in parking lots is sort of extreme. Why do you suppose the City of Medford passed that law? It was probably from all the RV'ers that do not post here. The ones that set up and stay for a week. The ones that dump their black water in the parking lot and leave.

To say "I'll spend my money in a friendlier place" like Nick Russel is sort of childish, in my opinion. Most likely, we (RV'ers as a whole) are the ones that ruined it for ourselves. To be told that you have to CAMP in a CAMPGROUIND (or other place designed for that) and not in a PARKING LOT is not really that outrageous. Is this simple issue the worst thing that is happening in your travels? I'm sorry but if you can not afford $30 to sleep at night, then you shouldn't be on the road. Does it really matter how long you plan to stay? Does it really matter that some people claim that they will buy groceries while camped in the parking lot? You would have bought groceries anyway and still will even if you don't park in their lot overnight for free. Do you go to the local car dealer and say you will buy a car if they let you camp out for a night or two? Do you barter a free night of camping at your cell phone store? Why is it so outrageous that a city that you do not live in, doesn't want a bunch of vagrants living in their parking lots? That law doesn't just apply to people from out of town in nice RV's. It applies to the bum with a tent, the guy sleeping in his car because he and the missus had a fight and the homeless guy in the van. It is easier to say "No camping" than only 2 nights or only one night. After all, it is a parking lot for Christ sake, not a campground.

I can show you a closed down restaurant on the east side of Houston with 5 occupied cars, that are living in the parking lot. Why? Because there is no local owner to say they must leave...and there is no law in this county about sleeping in your car. The whole area looks like pooh. It's one big trash heap that blows all up and down the road. I personally applaud Medford for trying to maintain a certain quality of life for their townsfolk. And I bet that not a one of them will lose any sleep because some out of town people, in RV's, drive right on by their city simply because they can't camp in a parking lot for free. .

 

Well said.

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Wow, being labeled as "RV unfriendly" for passing a law that say no overnight sleeping in parking lots is sort of extreme. Why do you suppose the City of Medford passed that law? It was probably from all the RV'ers that do not post here. The ones that set up and stay for a week. The ones that dump their black water in the parking lot and leave.

 

 

I agree completely. We don't stay in Walmart parking lots, but have seen that privilege abused at many locations. So if a city decides to pass an ordinance limiting where RV are allowed to park overnight, I have no issue with that. And I certainly don't think that it makes that city "RV unfriendly". Maybe "Parking Lot Boondocking unfriendly", but that is an entirely different issue.

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There are some NWRs that permit boondocking. Our favorite is Buenos Aires NWR on Arizona 286 towards the border crossing at Sasebe. You have to check in with the HQ and let them know where you will be staying. The area has sensor lines for the Border Patrol and they want to know who is where.

 

Reed and Elaine

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I agree completely with Big5er. Somehow, many in the RV community became self-deluded into a sense of entitlement when it comes to Wal-Mart parking. Calling an entire community
"RV Unfriendly" because they don't allow parking in Wal-Mart is nonsense. And comparing truckers being allowed to overnight in a truck stop to RVers parking in Wal-Mart is apples and oranges. Truckers are required by federal law to take breaks, they're working, and truck stops prepare areas for them - how does this compare to an RVer? I've lost all respect for Nick Russel's writing after his latest petulant tantrum. So he can skip Medford and I'll skip his "Journal" and blog.

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I don't see how you can think that blocking RVs from parking - with permission - at Walmart is somehow different than a truck parking at a truck stop. Why wouldn't it be RV unfriendly when they could just as easily draft an ordinance that would limit the number of consecutive nights and evict trouble makers at the request of Walmart?

 

And Eugene and Ashland are the first two towns north of the Siskyou Pass which is often closed during winter storms. When I-5 closes for snow removal finding a place to park in two towns where parking is illegal becomes a safety issue.

 

To compare a 5er or motor home with cars parked for weeks or months is certainly not apples to apples, yet none of you noticed that little factoid.

 

We narrowly missed a pass closure on this last trip south after Christmas and have been forced to stop for hours on I-5 during snow removals often. Ashland and Medford have always been critical to safety. Driving around on snowy streets during the hours of darkness trying to find a place to just stop isn't all that safe, either.

 

On the few times we've parked overnight at Walmart we've always bought groceries in the store and have been careful to not appear to be camping there... simply parked.

 

In my opinion to issue a blanket ban to parking of RVs is RV-unfriendly.

 

WDR

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I just don't get it. You spend mucho dollars for an RV and aren't willing to plunk out a few for a campground...and expect Walmart to provide you with a free campsite. Maybe those towns or Walmarts that are prohibiting such parking are simply getting tired of being used and abused. It doesn't mean the town isn't RV friendly. It may just mean that they are tired of having to police and deal with those that abuse the privilege.

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I prefer to spend my money where I'm welcome. Billings, Montana and Lake City, Florida were two towns that quickly realized how many dollars RVers spend when they stop for a night. And keep in mind, the way most of these regulations are written, it also means you cannot visit your kids in that town and park in their driveway overnight either. It's not about whether I can afford a campground or not, it's about a town saying "If you stay here you have to spend money at one of our RV parks."

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I just don't get it. You spend mucho dollars for an RV and aren't willing to plunk out a few for a campground...and expect Walmart to provide you with a free campsite. Maybe those towns or Walmarts that are prohibiting such parking are simply getting tired of being used and abused. It doesn't mean the town isn't RV friendly. It may just mean that they are tired of having to police and deal with those that abuse the privilege.

 

Walmart is happy to provide me a free spot to spend the night, they seem to think it is good business. It is when the local city tells them they can't let me stay that makes me unhappy with the city, not Walmart. Reasonable rules are one thing, a ban is another.

 

If a town doesn't want me there I have plenty of other places to spend my money.

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Why must this be an all or none issue? Why can't cities just ban stays in excess of, say, 3 consecutive nights? That covers most truckers that miss the Fri delivery cutoff and must wait till Mon to unload. It also would allow most RV'rs who are "waiting for the pass to open" to stay and play while allowing the local LEOs to get rid of the undesirable long term campers.

 

After all, isn't it all about making the undesirables move on down the road while not impacting those that benefit the community.

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As is the case in many of these discussions, there is little or no recognition that there is a real legal difference between parking an RV and living in/inhabiting an RV. Many local zoning laws and other regulations such as public health regulations do distinguish between the two. According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parking "Parking is the act of stopping and disengaging a vehicle and leaving it unoccupied..."

 

Walmart is happy to provide me a free spot to spend the night, they seem to think it is good business...

It is good business as long as it does not cost them anything or require them to comply with additional regulations. Walmart is not completely innocent in this matter. It is not uncommon for state and or local laws to require businesses that allow two or more inhabited RVs on a property to be required to comply with health/safety and other regulations. Unlike Cabela's which generally includes designated large vehicle parking areas and often even RV dump stations at their facilities; to the best of my knowledge, Walmart makes no attempt to do so or address the requirements for allowing habitation of their properties. In the cases where there are zoning and other regulations, Walmart and other business could be cited for violations. It seems that many local governments, even those that have specific zoning and other regulations, choose to deal with problems caused by transient Rvers by passing overnight parking regulations that fine or remove the RVer rather than taking legal action against the business/property owner that pays local taxes and employs local residents.

Edited by TCW

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Why must this be an all or none issue? Why can't cities just ban stays in excess of, say, 3 consecutive nights? That covers most truckers that miss the Fri delivery cutoff and must wait till Mon to unload. It also would allow most RV'rs who are "waiting for the pass to open" to stay and play while allowing the local LEOs to get rid of the undesirable long term campers.

 

After all, isn't it all about making the undesirables move on down the road while not impacting those that benefit the community.

 

I think this is a decent compromise, but I can understand why some communities would not go for it. In short, it's easier to enforce an all or nothing policy than it is to deal with parkers/campers on a case-by-case basis. If no over-night parking is allowed all an officer needs to do is say, "Get on the road or be cited." But if s/he has to determine whether a parker/camper meets the criteria for an exception, that takes time and in some cases an "extended discussion" with certain kinds of folks. If the town has limited resources and/or insufficient staffing it's just easier to say "No Over-night Parking" and be done with it. On the other hand, it would be wise for police agencies to know when to look the other way. My guess is that even in Medford when there are serious storms and dangerous road conditions they don't enforce the regulation.

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Why must this be an all or none issue? Why can't cities just ban stays in excess of, say, 3 consecutive nights? That covers most truckers that miss the Fri delivery cutoff and must wait till Mon to unload. It also would allow most RV'rs who are "waiting for the pass to open" to stay and play while allowing the local LEOs to get rid of the undesirable long term campers.

 

After all, isn't it all about making the undesirables move on down the road while not impacting those that benefit the community.

I think this is a decent compromise, but I can understand why some communities would not go for it. In short, it's easier to enforce an all or nothing policy than it is to deal with parkers/campers on a case-by-case basis. If no over-night parking is allowed all an officer needs to do is say, "Get on the road or be cited." But if s/he has to determine whether a parker/camper meets the criteria for an exception, that takes time and in some cases an "extended discussion" with certain kinds of folks. If the town has limited resources and/or insufficient staffing it's just easier to say "No Over-night Parking" and be done with it. On the other hand, it would be wise for police agencies to know when to look the other way. My guess is that even in Medford when there are serious storms and dangerous road conditions they don't enforce the regulation.

Sounds like Walmart needs an RV volunteer host program to check the RVers into and out of their parking lots. :lol:

Edited by trailertraveler

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. Unlike Cabela's which generally includes designated large vehicle parking areas and often even RV dump stations at their facilities; to the best of my knowledge, Walmart makes no attempt to do so or address the requirements for allowing habitation of their properties.

Are you telling us that the laws prohibiting parking for the night at Walmart and similar stores do not apply to Cabala's stores because of this? History has shown that there are two things which usually are behind the passage of such laws. In some cases it is a problem because of a very high volume of RV traffic, such as in Yuma, AZ where there is(or was) also overnight parking prohibiting law. But towns like Billings, MT and many others the laws were passed to appease very vocal RV park owners. I suspect that there are probably at least some cases of the support coming from nearby homeowners who object to the visual side of such RV visits. To me, the validity of such a complaint is at least partly dependent upon the location of the parking at issue.

 

In the cases where there are zoning and other regulations, Walmart and other business could be cited for violations. It seems that many local governments, even those that have specific zoning and other regulations, choose to deal with problems caused by transient Rvers by passing overnight parking regulations that fine or remove the RVer rather than taking legal action against the business/property owner that pays local taxes and employs local residents.

While this is certainly true, in cases such as Yuma, such laws are very likely supported by some businesses which feel that RV parking takes up too much of the space needed for their paying customers. Yet another issue is that the local police do not wish to be expected to know if an RV has been parked more than one night and so they simply act when any RV is parked in a lot after the store has closed.

 

I think that part of the question is also what restrictions on RV or any other large vehicle are applied to the streets and other private parking areas of the particular community. Very often such rules in residential areas come from the HOA and not from the city. In such cases the enforcement is also not by the police generally. When the parking issue is local health codes or other such restrictions they are rarely enforced if the violator is only there for one night as it takes more to get the code enforcement people to the scene.

 

To me the "RV Unfriendly" title should probably be based upon more than restrictions on overnight stops in parking lots, but that is the first hint of possible attitude issues. It seems to me that communities that restrict where we can park very often have additional restrictions as well.

Edited by Kirk

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...Are you telling us that the laws prohibiting parking for the night at Walmart and similar stores do not apply to Cabala's stores because of this?...

That is not what I said or meant, but perhaps I was not very clear in what I said. The point I was trying to make is that Cabela's actually makes an effort and goes to some expense to accomodate RVs by having designated RV and large vehicle parking and dump stations. These facilities are shown on the site plans submitted for approval and clearly show the intent to welcome RVs. I know of at least one store where the approval of the site plan clearly included that no overnight stays in the parking lot would be permitted and Cabela's went ahead with providing the RV parking and dump station anyway.

Edited by TCW

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These facilities are shown on the site plans submitted for approval and clearly show the intent to welcome RVs. I know of at least one store where the approval of the site plan clearly included that no overnight stays in the parking lot would be permitted and Cabela's went ahead with providing the RV parking and dump station anyway.

I'd be curious where that store is.... I do know that often the new stores like it are outside of city limits but if inside it might be interesting to also see how the city applies their rule or does approval of the store plan then wave the rule? I would be highly doubtful that any of the communities that forbid overnight stops in a parking lot would change the rule for a Walmart store that did put in a dump station, water supply, and designated RV parking spaces. I think that they would require them to build an RV park and license it as one. And that same issue can apply to more than just Walmart. We have stayed in as many Lowe's stores as we have Walmart. There is an outlet mall near Gainsville, TX which has RV sites nicer than some RV parks but it is also in a rural area without city regulation.

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