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Thousand Trails Public Access Increased?

Martin T

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Has anyone else noticed that a vast majority of dates are full at Pio Pico and Wilderness Lakes starting last month (when I noticed)? At first I thought perhaps it was just pent-up demand, but it has continued. But here's what I discovered: I tried to book some days next week at Wilderness. Only one day was available. A friend who is not a member went online and could book as many days as he wanted (@ $75/night). This is really irksome for those of us who paid thousands of dollars to upgrade our memberships for more usage (and many thousands more for us "legacy members" to join) but are no longer able to book more than a few nights at a time.

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You need to book TT at least 60 days out.  And for some parks, that isn't enough, especially in some really "hot" areas between Memorial Day and Labor Day.   I was amazed that the TT Birch Bay actually had a few sites open over 4th of July, but then a lot of those who use this park come from Canada, and since they couldn't cross, there was room for others.   

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At one time Thousand Trails gave free stays to the general public so long as they agreed to sit through a sales pitch.  Ultimately, they discovered that they could set aside the same site inventory and make it available to the public at a high price and people would pay it.  Even without a sales pitch, they decided that people who would pay that much for a campsite would be interested in joining.  Put up some signs, have some "manager's meetings" and get the same result - new members. 

The burden of this approach falls on existing members, especially those with only Zone Pass memberships and others who decide late that they want to go camping.  I guess the flip side of this is that the high rent stays with the campground and should be used for upgrades - but that's an entirely different discussion.

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