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Mayor30

Pa

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Posted: 01/28/22 10:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

While making reservations at Army Corps of Engineer and Forest Service sites,I came across a few things. One is that the COE parks will only take credit cards from now on. Since credit card companies charge for each use, the government is making less money than if they were paid by check or cash.One of the parks I looked at would only take advanced reservations. So if you showed up at the campground and there were open sites,you could not use one. More loss of revenue. Another rule at many of these parks is no early check in. So even if the site is open,you cannot use the site even if you wanted to pay for early arrival.Most commercial parks allow for early arrival or late departure if you pay extra.On our upcoming trip to Texas from Pa, I wanted to make 2 reservations at one federal park in Arkansas. One for an over night going down and one coming back. At that park I could only make 1 reservation per call. So I called back the same day and made the 2nd reservation. Makes no sense but that's the way it is.At that same campground,with the Senior Pass,I pay $7.50 a night with water and electric hookup.That's the cheapest I found anywhere. In Arizona at one Forest Service campground with no hookups,we paid $12 a night and $18 at another with electric only. Not sure how they figure out what to charge. It varies from state to state.

agesilaus

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Posted: 01/28/22 10:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We arrived at one of the advanced reservation only COE parks and while parked at the window in the park logged onto the reservation site and made one right there. Host had no problems with this.


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bgum

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Posted: 01/28/22 10:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Agesilaus met the needs of the system and that is perfectly acceptable.

Yosemite Sam1

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Posted: 01/28/22 10:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The fees for use of credit card is still cheaper than hiring a full time employee just to process and deposit checks and cash that call for a trip to the bank for the latter.

Dutch_12078

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Posted: 01/28/22 10:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Reservation.gov site is operated by Booz, Allen, Hamilton. I suspect that's who takes the hit on credit charge fees.


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toedtoes

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Posted: 01/28/22 11:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mayor30 wrote:

While making reservations at Army Corps of Engineer and Forest Service sites,I came across a few things. One is that the COE parks will only take credit cards from now on. Since credit card companies charge for each use, the government is making less money than if they were paid by check or cash.


This may be because they are streamlining their processes and don't have the personnal to transport cash, they get too many bounced checks, etc. I suspect that they have determined that the expense of the CC fee is less than than the expense of dealing with cash and checks.

There have been instances of volunteers who skim the cash fees when collecting from the iron rangers, etc, so maybe they have been having a greater problem of that these days.

Mayor30 wrote:

One of the parks I looked at would only take advanced reservations. So if you showed up at the campground and there were open sites,you could not use one. More loss of revenue.


Most places that do this have found that they don't suffer a loss of revenue. A federal forest campground I know went this route. They are right off a major interstate and it was decided that all the drop in one-two night stays cut into the ability for folks to book for a week. A lot of that problem was that the drop ins made it difficult for the online system to identify available sites. So, someone would go online Monday at 10 am to book a site starting on Wednesday and the system says fine. Meanwhile a drop in arrives at the campground on Monday at 9:30 am and pays through Sunday. There booking didn't get entered into the system until 11 am because the camphost was cleaning toilets or the ranger wasn't scheduled to collect fees until 1 pm.

Mayor30 wrote:

Another rule at many of these parks is no early check in. So even if the site is open,you cannot use the site even if you wanted to pay for early arrival.Most commercial parks allow for early arrival or late departure if you pay extra.


If you want to arrive early, you simply make the reservation starting the night before. Even with campgrounds that have a "must occupy the site the first night", they don't cancel your reservation until checkout time the next day. So, if you want to arrive early on Monday, you book for Sunday night - as long as you arrive before check out time on Monday, they consider you to have " occupied" the site for Sunday night. There are few exceptions to this.

Mayor30 wrote:

On our upcoming trip to Texas from Pa, I wanted to make 2 reservations at one federal park in Arkansas. One for an over night going down and one coming back. At that park I could only make 1 reservation per call. So I called back the same day and made the 2nd reservation. Makes no sense but that's the way it is.


Most likely that is because it is a very popular campground and they want to give as many people the opportunity to book as possible. It's just an attempt to stop one person from booking up a campsite for every weekend before other campers are given an opportunity to book.

Mayor30 wrote:

At that same campground,with the Senior Pass,I pay $7.50 a night with water and electric hookup.That's the cheapest I found anywhere. In Arizona at one Forest Service campground with no hookups,we paid $12 a night and $18 at another with electric only. Not sure how they figure out what to charge. It varies from state to state.


Fees are based on what is reasonable and acceptable for the area. A campground near Yosemite or Yellowstone is going to be more expensive than a campground near nothing because more people want to stay there. A campground at the ocean will be more expensive than a campground in the valley because it is more desireable. A campground in Florida will be more expensive than a campground in Arkansas because people are willing to pay more for it. A state with state parks running at average $30 a night will have higher fees for other campgrounds than a state whose state parks run an average of $10 per night.

In the end, yes, federal campgrounds vary in policies and costs throughout the country. We are a very big country with very varied regions. The feds adjust policies and fees to best match the region. They don't simply follow the lowest (or highest) common denominator for the entire country.

And fees received in more popular campgrounds often help to support the less popular campgrounds - allowing them to stay open.

For me, I love these variations - it allows me to choose campgrounds that work for my wants and preferences and leave other campground available for those with different wants and preferences. If they were all the same, one of us is going to be left behind.


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naturist

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Posted: 01/28/22 11:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dutch_12078 wrote:

The Reservation.gov site is operated by Booz, Allen, Hamilton. I suspect that's who takes the hit on credit charge fees.


Nope, that's not who takes the hit. Actual Fact: whoever brings the money to the transaction pays the piper. Always. Doesn't matter who appears to take it, the cash ALWAYS actually comes out of the hide of the person forking over money. The fee can easily be hidden in the cost of the item/service, but it is in there. Always.





NatParkJunkie

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Posted: 01/28/22 10:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yosemite Sam1 wrote:

The fees for use of credit card is still cheaper than hiring a full time employee just to process and deposit checks and cash that call for a trip to the bank for the latter.


That's it. I stayed at a first come first served national monument campground that went to credit card payment only. They had a kiosk where you picked a site, and then went to swipe your card in the machine every day to pay for it. I talked to one of the rangers about it, and told them it was a lot more convenient for me than having $22.50 exact cash, or have to carry and write checks for every night, etc.
The ranger said the credit card system worked out much better for them too rather than accepting cash/checks. The park had to have 2 rangers sit in a locked room together and both count all the cash every day to verify it, take it to the bank, etc. The cost of their time was a huge savings for them as well.

Walaby

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Posted: 01/29/22 08:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

naturist wrote:

Dutch_12078 wrote:

The Reservation.gov site is operated by Booz, Allen, Hamilton. I suspect that's who takes the hit on credit charge fees.


Nope, that's not who takes the hit. Actual Fact: whoever brings the money to the transaction pays the piper. Always. Doesn't matter who appears to take it, the cash ALWAYS actually comes out of the hide of the person forking over money. The fee can easily be hidden in the cost of the item/service, but it is in there. Always.

Agreed. There is ZERO (only because I can't go below ZERO) chance that Booz Allen Hamilton pays the credit card transaction fee.

Either prices increased to cover the rate. Or the GOV made the decision it's cheaper this way. Rest assured if it was the latter (lower employee costs), at some point in the future, the prices will most definitely increase, and it will be included in the cost, rounded up to make it a nice even number that people can feel good about.

Mike


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JimR 1

Custer South Dakota

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Posted: 01/29/22 09:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"One is that the COE parks will only take credit cards from now on."

That may be true for Recreation.gov and some camps and yes there is more self pay kiosks being put up but cash at the first come first serve site can be used as well as checks.

JimR

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