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Camp Without Roughing It
If you've already experienced the serenity and fun of camping with your towable recreational vehicle (RV), you know the freedom of getting away. Now, you can travel even farther and discover your own quiet haven in nature. Without leaving every convenience behind, your family can dine amidst tall pines, identify constellations in clear night skies and then flip on the lights to enjoy a favorite novel before turning in. New products such as quiet, dependable power sources can make comfort and security part of your travels, wherever the trail may lead.
"The U.S. Forest Service includes 192 million diverse acres across the nation that are waiting to be enjoyed," says Jim Miller, dispersed recreation program manager, USDA Forest Service. "Most campsites in our system do not have electrical hookups and many forests offer even more primitive or 'dispersed' camping opportunities. Depending on local forest regulations, campers can travel off main roads and pick out their own sites along less-developed routes, as long as they do so responsibly, with respect for other visitors and as little environmental disruption as possible."
Miller notes that dispersed sites tend to appeal to campers with some camping experience who are looking for their own quiet spot. What they often find are breathtaking vistas, colorful sunrises and close-up looks of surrounding nature.
"Many choosing dispersed sites stay near favorite hunting or fishing spots," Miller notes. "Mountain bikers or hikers also prefer to camp close to favorite trails for easy access."
Camping -- Not Roughing It
Even without electrical hookups, piped water or toilets, campers can enjoy many comforts from home when they travel in a camper carrying its own power source. Onan's new compact generator, Camp Power, provides big-RV power for smaller trailers, folding camping trailers and truck campers. The generator's fully enclosed design is quiet enough to operate in many national parks, although park authorities should always be consulted regarding local regulations.
"Towable RVs can be compatible with rustic or dispersed campsites, where it's highly important to tread lightly on the land," says Joyce Drinnin, marketing manager, RV marketing, Onan. "Since most toilet and cooking facilities are available in towables, it's easier to leave natural surroundings undisturbed.
"With an unobtrusive power source, campers can enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a hearty meal without building a fire. Plus, in some camper units, you can even cool down in air-conditioned comfort after a long, hot day on the trail."
For other benefits, Drinnin points to added security from dependable campsite lighting and communication systems that provide advance warning when stormy weather is on the horizon. "Today's active families build strong ties when they spend time together camping," she adds. "These extra safety features can reduce stress and enhance the time busy families enjoy together."
Preparation for remote camping experiences is key to ensuring a pleasant camping experience, says Miller. His recommendations for campers are:
Contact the U.S. Forest Service in the area you plan to visit for current campsite information, since rules and regulations vary around the country. Motorized equipment is not allowed in designated wilderness areas.
Bring water filters or purification tablets for purifying lake or stream water, in case you need more water than you've brought along.
Follow local campfire regulations. If fires are permitted, build only small ones, never leave them unattended and always put fires dead out, especially when retiring for the night.
Use the portable toilet facilities in your towable. Other options are to bury human waste in decomposable layers of soil, normally at least 6 to 8 feet away from water, paths and campsites, or use toilet devices that allow you to sanitize waste for safe disposal when you return from camping.
Pack out everything you bring in. Always leave campsites the way you would like to find them.
For more information about U.S. Forest Service camping, visit www.fs.fed.us or www.recreation.gov. The U.S. Forest Service is listed under the U.S. Department of Agriculture in phone directories. For additional information about Camp Power, see the Onan RV Generator Store on this site.
Remote Camping Adventures
Pack your camper and experience nature in U.S. forests, across the nation. Here's just a sampling of the adventures that await.
Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire and Maine. Spectacular foliage is a key fall attraction at White Mountain National Forest. The forest includes Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast, and a variety of wildlife, ranging from moose and black bears to peregrine falcons. Visit www.fs.fed.us/r9/white or call 603-528-8721.
Superior National Forest, Minnesota. Nearly 2,000 lakes and streams offer unmatched canoeing, boating and fishing in northeastern Minnesota's north woods. Trails for novice through advanced hikers meander through 3 million scenic acres and include access to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Visit www.superiornationalforest.org or call 218-626-4300, ext. 2.
Dakota Prairie Grasslands, North Dakota and South Dakota. Four separate grasslands, including the Maah Daah Hey Trail, offer rare views of wildlife and opportunities for hiking, canoeing, fishing, hunting and backpacking. These diverse sites range from tallgrass prairie on rolling hills to stark badlands. Visit www.fs.fed.us/r1/dakotaprairie or call 701-250-4443.
Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests, Colorado. Located on the western slope of the Colorado Rockies, these three forests offer some of the most spectacular scenery in the mountain range. Sites include Bridal Veil, the tallest waterfall in Colorado; Grand Mesa, the world's largest flattop mountain; and Dry Mesa Dinosaur Quarry, home of the world's largest dinosaur bone fossils. Visit www.fs.fed.us/r2/gmug or call 970-874-6600, ext. 6676.
Custer National Forest, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. This ecologically diverse area includes elevation ranges of less than 1,000 feet up to the 12,799-foot Granite Peak in Montana. Other highlights include ancient sand dunes covered with grasslands, rugged badlands and fields of alpine wildflowers. Visit www.fs.fed.us/r1/custeror call 406-446-2103.
Angeles National Forest, California. Not far from bustling Los Angeles, Angeles National Forest offers diverse topography, ranging from 10,000-foot mountain peaks to 1,200-foot canyon bottoms. Forest trails wind through 800 miles of rugged backcountry, scenic ridges and tree-lined canyons. Visit www.r5.fs.fed.us/angeles or call 626-574-5200.
Willamette National Forest, Oregon. This 1.6 million-acre forest stretches 110 miles along the western slopes of the Cascades. Trails, roads, campgrounds and viewpoints allow visitors to enjoy the forest's abundant rivers, streams and lakes. Seven major volcanic peaks are part of the Willamette, along with the forested Cascade Range of mountains. Visit www.fs.fed.us/r6/willamette or call 541-465-6521.