Imagine making the drive to a National Park, excited to sleep under the stars, explore the trails, and live among nature for a bit, only to find out that all of the campsites are already taken. What a pain! Now you need to either find a hotel, motel, or a parking lot where you can sleep in your car over night! There is, of course, the option to reserve a campsite ahead of time with most National Parks, but those are often booked out months, if not years ahead of time, and who can plan that far ahead!
National Parks often have first come first serve camping options but, as presented in the above hypothetical, those can fill up, and you don’t really know what you’re going to get. Shenandoah National Park in Virginia recently announced a sort of remedy for this issue. Visitors now have the option to text either SHENCAMP or SHENALERTS to 888777 to receive specialized park updates.
Texting SHENCAMP will give visitors alerts relating to the number of first-come, first-serve campsites available for the day, as well as an alert for when all of the first-come, first-serve sites have filled. SHENALERTS, on the other hand, will give visitors updates on road closures, hazardous situations, and other major incidents.
You can now track campground status on the weekends and be advised of Skyline Drive status and other important safety information. Opt-in to our new alert system. Text to 888777: SHENCAMP for campground status and SHENALERTS for closures and safety info.
— ShenandoahNPS (@ShenandoahNPS) October 20, 2022
So, should this be the new standard? I think yes. If you head to Recreation.gov, the main website for national park campsite reservations, and look up your local park, I can almost guarantee that you’ll have a hard time finding decent available sites within the next year. First-come, first-serve sites, than, are often the only option for people who aren’t able to plan months, if not years, ahead of time. Relying on those open sites can be risky though. On top of that, showing up to a National Park only to find that a major part of the region is closed would be devastating, so I think allowing visitors to plan ahead through closure alerts is definitely a solid.
To be honest, I can’t really think of too many negatives for this. It might draw more people to the first-come, first serve sites, but I don’t believe in gate keeping, so let them come if it means an easier time for everyone! I would, personally, love to see bigger and more popular National Parks adopt this text alert operation.
Image Credit: Shenandoah National Park via Facebook
This article was originally published by Unofficialnetworks.com. Read the original article here.