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Happy campers take note: reservations for the twenty-two most popular camping areas in the National Park System may now be made up to five months in advance.
Reservation days are staggered over three dates of each month: the 5th, the 15th and the 25th.
For Yosemite in California, reservations open on the 15th of each month for camping dates up to five months later; call 800-436-7275. For tours of Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Mammoth Cave in Kentucky and Frederick Douglass Historic Site in the District of Columbia, reservations open on the 25th of each month for tours up to five months later; call 800-967-2283.
For reservation information about other national parks call 800-365-2267. Campers can also surf the Internet to gather recreation information about national parks and public lands. At www.recreation.gov vacationers can learn about use permits, reservations and what's available, all listed by state, activity or government agency.
Camping: Preparation is key
(ARA) - Camping is a reunion option that allows members to spend time relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. It takes a little preparation, but the rewards outweigh the work. The following tips from camping experts, Kampgrounds of America (KOA), will ensure you'll spend more time unwinding than hunting for forgotten items.
Before you hit the road, remember to fully check your vehicle. Walk around and look for leaks, flat tires, or anything that may cause a problem. It's not a bad idea to check the oil or test your battery. A routine check now can save you from being stranded later.
Lay out everything youre taking before you begin packing your vehicle to anticipate how to make it all fit. If you dont own camping equipment, try renting before buying. That way you will know what you need next time.
Make a list of things youll need during your reunion
- If you plan to cook at your campsite, bring charcoal or a gas stove, cookware, plates, silverware, cups, napkins and extra garbage sacks for trash.
- Keep perishable items in airtight containers out of the reach of nature's critters.
- Bring something to hold water for cleaning.
- Essentials include a can opener, waterproof matches and duct tape for repairs.
- Stock up on plastic-lock bags to repackage food from bulky containers, store dirty silverware, transport wet swimsuits or loose items.
- Use bags to store pre-measured portions of laundry detergent or separate toiletries from clothing items in your luggage.
- Roll fragile items in a sleeping bag to transport them.
Plastic shower curtains or a tarp are great in case it rains or the ground is wet. Both can be used as ground cover under a tent. Carpet remnants make great sleeping pads. Bring extra sheets to line sleeping bags to keep bags clean. And for sticky zippers, silicone or wax can help get them unstuck.
If you are staying at a campground, make reservations ahead of time. KOA sites are great for new campers and those who enjoy extra amenities such as hot showers.
Arrive at your campground as early in the day as possible to allow enough daylight for settling in, exploring and getting to know your neighbors. Keep campfires small and trade fireside tales. Remember to extinguish all fires before turning in.
Finally, before you leave take a few minutes to double check that your area is garbage free and nothing is left behind.
More great travel tips can be found in the KOA Directory Road Atlas and Kampground Guide, available at any KOA Kampground, or on-line at www.koa.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content, www.aracontent.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 1996-2001, ARA Content
Let’s Move Outside
The National Park Service and the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition encourage American families to add outdoor activity to their days.
Kids can earn Let’s Move Outside Junior Ranger designation. Every family member can work toward a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA). Start your own group at www.presidentschallenge.org/participate/gp-groups.shtml
Let’s Move Outside Junior Ranger and the PALA activity log are available at 52 national parks. Following is a partial list of participating parks or visit www.nps.gov/aboutus/letsmove.htm for the complete of participating parks and activities.
Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida
Biscayne National Park, Florida
Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park,
Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, DC
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Pennsylvania and New Jersey
Eisenhower National Historic Site, Pennsylvania
Everglades National Park, Florida
Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Missouri
Missouri National Recreational River, Nebraska and South Dakota
Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee
Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, California
Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi
Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, Oklahoma
||Let’s Move Outside is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s nationwide campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation.
National Park Service, Office of Communications
1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240 United States
Row to reunion fun with OARS
Outdoor Adventure River Specialists (OARS) has hosted several large family reunions. One of their most successful reunions took place in Grand Teton National Park with a family totaling 40 members. Sleeping arrangements were based at a lodge and various daily river trips were offered in conjunction with other options. All ages and skill levels were encompassed into several days of river rafting and outdoor adventure.
Another reunion adventure stretched six days down the Salmon River in Idaho. The river presents some moderate rapids with placid pools for swimming. The Salmon River presents the option of camping or sleeping at a lodge as well as many other outdoor activities and river sports.
River vacations prove to be rewarding for families in many ways. Outdoor recreation enables families to concentrate on their time together and their surrounding environment without the distractions of our modern technological world. Kids love the fun challenge of rafting, hiking and camping and adults can relax and enjoy themselves, knowing the kids are gaining as much from the experience as they are. As a result, their vacation is more fulfilling.
OARS carefully selects family friendly guides based on their ability to work well with children. On each trip, the company designates a Fun Director, a guide who ensures that kids will never experience a dull moment and that adults can have some time to themselves. OARS guides do all the cooking and most of the cleaning and setting up necessary in camp. Members can rest assured that theyll have no responsibilities and can fully concentrate on spending time with the family.
OARS offers great discounts on trips (two adults pay full fare, all additional family members; cousins, grandparents, in-laws, receive 15% off the full rate). For more information or a free color catalog, call OARS at 800-346-6277; email@example.com; www.oars.com.