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What has been your recent experience with a Golden Age Passport?

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We were told at Redwood National and State Parks in California that we could no longer use our Golden Age Pass for camping fees because the campgrounds have been privatized and the  concessionaires make the rules.  Is this true everywhere? We paid full price at Patrick's Point and encountered inefficiency (campsite number given to us already occupied) and upon getting a second site it was filthy - even had been used as a bathroom.  What is happening?  These parks used to be pristine.  Everything looked run down.  What are your experiences?

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We use it often in COE parks in the midwest and southeast, used it last month in GA and several times this past spring in TX and other states.  COR parks are always well maintained.  We get half off camping, great!  California is a different place so who knows.       Greg

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Concessionaire-run campgrounds can accept the passes if they choose.  In our experience, they often do not.

 

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We are camphosting for Rogue Recreation in Oregon and we accept the pass. If concessionaire doesnt meet specs complain to the forest service. They are under contract.

 

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We used our Senior Pass at concessionaire run Lake Powhatan Recreation Area campground in the Pisgah National Forest near Asheville, NC. They give you the 50% discount on the basic site rental fee, but not on the add-on fees for hook-ups, premium sites, etc. I believe the Salt Springs Recreation Area campground in the Ocala National Forest in Florida followed the same pattern when I reserved our site there for this coming January.

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We use ours in Forest Service, BLM, BOR cgs' in Idaho and Montana. Some are concessionaire operated  and do take the pass. Several years ago several of these outfits were going to quit taking the pass. It didn't fly as many customers took their bitch to the agency involved. I think many of us that used these facilities for years before the agencies decided to contract them out knew that at some time down the road this practice was going to raise it's ugly head which came true.

We had a situation several years ago at Swan Lake Forest Service CG in Montana. The concession had been rebid during the previous winter since the previous concessionaire retired. That previous concessionaire had a 400 mile round trip if he visited every cg he had. Well under the new bid the FS broke that situation up into several different areas. The first year of the new concessionaire which got the bid for "The Swan" was Barta Enterprises based in West Yellowstone, MT. They have the FS CGgs' from West Yellowstone to Bozeman and back out Hyalite Canyon operating as Yellowstone Country Campgrounds. They dba under the name of Flathead Valley Campgrounds in Western Montana. We went in Swan and got on unreservable site. You max out at 16 days if you want to stay that long. The cg is a mix of mostly reservable sites with several first come, first serve. The unreserable number have continued to be less ever since the concessionaire program got going. We were told by a source that they were going to post our site as reserved several days later for some group coming in. You can't even reserve the unreservable sites  on Reserve America. as it is blocked out. It also involved a couple of other campers. I decided to wait until they actually posted it on our site marker. A couple of days later that is exactly what happened. The hackles got up on my neck of course and we jumped in the truck and went into Big Fork, MT. where the closest FS office was located. Two gals at the counter with their best PR look on their face asked us "how is your day going"? First off, I'll say we have no problem with FS office. So my immediate answer was "just great, but we have a situation at Swan Lake CG". As soon as I said that, both their looks changed quickly and very, very friendly asked what the problem was. So when we said were being given the boot from an unreservable site before our time was up and it was being reserved, they unison said "they can't do that". At that time another lady in an office beside us came out and asked us to repeat the situation. She had overheard what was going on. She asked one of us to come back in her office and she called Sue Barta of Flathead Valley Campgounds. My wife went back to the phone as Sue wouldn't have wanted to talk to me at that time. My wife told her what was going on and she stated that she knew but nothing can be done. So my wife said "that's fine but the situation isn't ending here. The fine gals at the FS office and us said our goodbyes and hoped the situation could be remedied. We start back down to Swan where there is no cell service. As luck would have it, about 500 feet before the cell service would disappear, the phone rang showing a 406 area code which is Montana. I pulled onto the shoulder of the quickly. By golly it was Vickie Barta in West Yellowstone informing us we could max out our days. Just after we got back to the Swan, they came thru and removed all the reserved signs from the unreserved sites. About a month later when we were in Libby, MT. we got a call from a gal from the FS in Billings asking us to tell her what was going to happen at Swan. She thanked us and we never heard anymore, nor have we had anymore situations at "The Swan". We also frequent Bakers Hole FS cg just out of West Yellowstone which Barta, dba as Yellowstone Country Campgrounds, and have never had a problem but then again the FS office is about 4 miles in the road. There are numerous other situations in the Flathead Valley Campgrounds sector but since those happened to some other folks, I won't comment on them. Just beware and see who is in bed with who. 

 

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Love that "Geezer Pass!" We prefer COE campgrounds because of it. The only time we couldn't get the 50% off was when we tried to go to Land Between the Lakes. They would only give us two dollars off the regular price, so we went elsewhere (yes, we're cheap). Haven't stayed at a FS campground yet, but we might next month. We'll see. Probably ought to start thinking about that one of these days...

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Let's face it this is one method leading to privitization and IMO it is likely to get worse.

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17 hours ago, bigjim said:

Let's face it this is one method leading to privitization and IMO it is likely to get worse.

XX2

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