Who doesn’t like free stuff?

A lot of time and effort can go into planning an RV, camping trip or even a day trip in the car. You must decide where you want to go, what to do when you get there, what to eat, and how much it will cost.

Speaking of cost. Wouldn’t it be nice if it didn’t cost so much? After food, fuel, and gear, you can still expect extra fees when you reach your destination.

However, in the year of 2012, the National Park Service (NPS) is waiving entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees at over one hundred National Parks in an effort to boost tourism. You may still have to pay for reservations, camping, and use of concessions, but hey, if you’re interested in paying less for your family vacation, read on.

The program began in April with National Park Week, an entire week of free admission to National Parks across the country. But do not worry if you missed this great week of free admissions, mid summer offers Get Outdoors Day and in early September NPS grants free admission for National Public Lands Day. Finally, the NPS offers free dates for Veterans Day Weekend in November.

Mark your calendars for the following fee-free dates later this year:

  • June 9, 2012 – Get Outdoors Day
  • September 29, 2012 – National Public Lands Day
  • November 10-12, 2012 – Veterans Day Weekend

For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm

I would like to encourage you to take advantage of this offer as I have in the past.  It is a great way to see some beautiful areas of our great nation at a reduced cost.  Regardless if you are towing your RV or  just taking a day trip by car.  Gas up and go!

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

RVing is a great way to Support our National Parks

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It’s about time to start talking about your 2012 RV travel plans. If you plan on staying at some of the more popular national parks, you may want to go ahead and make your reservations now. Please consider adding in some more visits to the national parks in 2012. They could use your patronage now.

Having already grown accustomed to a dwindling budget in recent years, the National Park Service is now facing the prospect of a decade of across-the-board cuts starting at nearly 8 percent in 2013.

What this could mean is shorter seasons at some national parks, staff reductions, deferred infrastructure maintenance, campground closings and reduced amenities.

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) released a report stating that in fiscal year 2011 the National Park Service had funding reduced by $140 million, including $11.5 million for operations. Since 2002, the report states, the agency’s discretionary budget has decreased from $3 billion to $2.6 billion in today’s dollars.

The organization’s report arrives at a time when the nation is mired in debate over how to trim the federal government’s deficit. The Budget Control Act of 2011, enacted in August, calls for cutting the deficit by roughly $900 billion through caps on discretionary spending beginning in 2012 and ending in 2021. Those spending caps will affect the national park system.

So, even though the nation park system is a tiny part of the federal budget, they will almost certainly be affected. Please do what you can to support our national parks. Plan a RV tour of your favorite parks for 2012!

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Great Smoky Visitors Can Now Check Road Conditions Digitally

I recently discovered this article in a Trailer Life magazine.  I thought I would share it with my readers as well.  This is just another way technology has found a home in mainstream society and into the RVing lifestyle.  If anyone out there has any other ways technology has helped the RVing lifestyle, please post it.

Visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park may now sign up to receive status updates about the park’s most frequently used roads via text message or on Twitter. In the past, travelers had to place phone calls to the Park to determine the status of the roads, which can change frequently with changing weather conditions.

The Park’s recorded information line receives more than 1,000 calls per day during the severe winter weather from people inquiring about road conditions. When all of the incoming lines are in-use, the calls rollover to the park’s Communications Center staff, often resulting in more than 600 calls to be answered, hampering the staff from responding to calls requesting park information and emergency assistance.

Those who wish to be notified of the status of the Park’s four most popular roads — Newfound Gap (U.S. 441), Little River Road, Laurel Creek Road, and Cades Cove Loop Road — can opt to get text messages to their cell phones by texting follow smokiesroadsnps to 40404. To stop receiving the text message alerts, text stop smokiesroadsnps to the same number. Standard text rates will apply.

The public can get that same information via the Internet by going to: twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps to read recent road notification postings. This is a Twitter website maintained by the park, but anybody can access it at any time, without having to establish a Twitter account.

Anyone having a Twitter account can go an extra step and choose to have updates set to them by going to the site listed above and clicking the “follow” button to see the updates on their own account page and receive the notifications in the manner they specify. In addition to notifications of winter road conditions, park officials plan to notify travelers throughout the year of road openings and closings due to rock slides, fallen trees, and accidents. Anytime the status of one of the listed roads changes, a message will be sent.

As the National Park Service prepares for its 2016 centennial celebration, officials are increasingly utilizing technology to connect the American people to their national parks.

For more information about Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and for a link to the Twitter site, go to www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm. Information on all of the roads in the Park as well as other Park information may be obtained by calling the park’s information line at (865) 436-1200 and following the prompts.

FREE Entrance Days in 2011 at our National Parks.

US National Park Logo/BadgeThe National Park Service has just announced the fee-free days at more than 100 national parks in 2011. Mark your calendars and take your family on a fun-filled road-trip through one of our Nation’s National Parks.  Accidentally I took advantage of one of these days last year, I was able to enjoy the Skyline Drive for free from the seat of my Harley Davidson.  I passed a lot of RV’s on that trip as well.

National Park Waterfall Pic

Yosemite Falls is visible from numerous places around Yosemite Valley, especially around Yosemite Village and Yosemite Lodge.

So be sure to plan your trips accordingly.

Here are the dates for the fee-free days in 2011:

  • January 15th to 17th (Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday weekend)
  • April 16th to 24th (National Park Week)
  • June 21st (First day of summer)
  • September 24th (Public Lands Day)
  • November 11th to 13th (Veterans Day weekend)

Did you know: There are 394 National Parks and many of them don’t charge an entrance fee!

Click Here to visit the National Park Service’s website.
Click Here to view the Fee-Free Days Announcement.

Betty White becomes an Official Forest Ranger.

Betty White with Smokey the Bear

Betty White with Smokey Bear in background as she's made honorary forest ranger(AP)

Actress Betty White, 88, was made an honorary member of the Forest Service on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 in a special ceremony held at Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Forest Service presented her with a badge, a ranger’s Stetson hat and a Smokey Bear toy.

Betty White loves animals and is also dedicated to protecting the forest. White said in an interview with CBS News, the “Wilderness is harder and harder to find these days on this beautiful planet, and we’re abusing our planet to the point of almost no return. In my heart I’ve been a forest ranger all my life, but now I’m official.”


Betty White: aka Forest Ranger
(CBS.com News Report)

U.S. Forest Ranger Betty White (ABC.com News Report)

Another Record Season for Yellowstone National Park

I was reading through some online RVing articles and stumbled across this one about our great national treasure, Yellowstone National Park. Three years have passed since I visited this great park. That trip was the quintessential RV experience. Two weeks long and done in a 31′ Class C motor home from the inventory at your Central PA RV Dealership. So as winter gets closer and the forecast starts to get colder, Yellowstone National Park has probably started to gradually close down. So I thought I would post a small article detailing a banner year for the park.
Scenery at Midway Geyser Basin
‘Yellowstone National Park had 3.4 million visitors so far this year, securing another record-breaking year for attendance. This year’s record has already beat last year’s by 100,00. The record in 2009 was 3.3 million visitors. The last remaining facilities that are open will close on Sunday, November 7th, giving the park a little more time to add to their record.’

Congratulations to Yellowstone National Park for another great year of attendance! As the number of RV owners increase, I hope to see the attendance numbers at our great national parks continue to increase.