MA - Wampatuck State Park, Not Camper Friendly

jjsul

Active Member
Aug 17, 2010
195
This afternoon DW and I traveled the 60 or so miles to take a look at the campground. We were surprised upon arrival at the ranger station that we were not allowed to drive through the campground [{}=] [{:)] [{}=] . We were handed a map and told we could walk through and that it wasn't far. We were told it was for security reasons.

It was a slow fall day with probably less than 10 percent occupancy what were two 60 somethings going to harm.

It's the first time in 30+ years that we have been denied the pleasure of preview a campground, State, County or Private. The non uniformed "ranger" told us that all the other state parks in Massachusetts that allowed access were breaking the rules.

In my mind the other campgrounds used discretion and good CUSTOMER SERVICE by allowing folks to look at PUBLIC land. From both our memory we have stayed at 5 state (MA) campgrounds in the last two seasons alone and we have driven through at least 5 others to look over the layouts and facilities. I guess there must be something super secret and valuable at Wompatuck

Well we did walk into the first section of the campground and frankly weren't really impressed with what we saw. It might be better further in and we may reserve a spot for a couple of days next year to try it. It would have been a very extensive walk if we wanted to look at more of the campground.

I think the bureaucrat that insisted on the ban should take a customer service program and allow their employees discretion when allowing the review of campgrounds (off hours, no obvious camp gear, etc.)

My rant will continue with a letter to the DCR commissioner and a state rep or two.

Jerry
 

silvermickey2002

Morris County, NJ
Sep 11, 2008
4,952
Morris County, NJ
We have been to a private CG about an hour away and we also were not allowed to drive thru to check it out. They said because we were not registered campers. So we walked thru the place. Friendly staff!
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
21,370
Southeastern PA
It’s too bad that you couldn’t do a drive through, but I have to agree with the ranger in a way. Yes, he could have handled it better, he could have just asked to see your driver’s license and then let you in, then no problem. If you were staying there for the weekend, there was no ranger on duty, someone drove in, and campsites were robbed, then this post would have been about how the State Park had no security. I for one would rather see the rangers at the gate 24/7 checking passes but too often the entrance is only manned a few hours a day and a ranger may drive through once or twice a night. I’m surprised Hollywood hasn’t done a slasher movie based on this scenario yet.

A darkened campground miles from anywhere, a tree falls to bock the road, no cellular phone coverage, and the rangers won’t be back until Monday morning.

Welcome to most State Parks!
 
Aug 19, 2010
66
Last month DW and I went to Bear Brook State Park here in NH to check it out. The ranger had us sign in,then we could take our car and drive around jotting down whichever sites we thought would be good for us in the future.It was a very nice park and we plan to camp there next summer.We also found out we could go on line and reserve our site .
 

peteacher

Active Member
Nov 15, 2007
462
Little Rhody
We have been to Wompatuck many times and have had wonderful experiences there. The campground is huge with 2 large loops. One loop has ectricity and one loop does not. We have only camped in the electric loop and find that the sites are large and well spaced. The rangers are strict which we like as this keeps the place quiet and clean. Wompatuck recently had to close for the weekend due to electrical problems so maybe they were still dealing with the aftermath.
 

NH-popper

Boldly going camping!
Mar 10, 2010
1,405
For what its worth, it's not a state reservation rule - we drove into Salisbury Beach Reservation today for free and the campground, while not in operation, was wide open to look around. I took some pics and posted them on the thread about the rally we're doing there.
 

jjsul

Active Member
Aug 17, 2010
195
No the campground was open. Funny thing is that if we wanted to do harm we could do it walking than we could in the car.

I've stayed in the majority of state parks in Mass and I've stopped by most of them to look them over. This is the first time I have been denied a quick drive through. We use our heads and never go at busy times so as to not be a pain in the neck. Seems like it's a Wampatuck policy only.

Jerry
 

jjsul

Active Member
Aug 17, 2010
195
PopUpSteve said:
Welcome to most State Parks!

My experience since the early 70's is just the opposite. Wampatuck is the exception rather than the rule. I "grew up" in state parks as did my kids and I've "previewed" most of the ones in Mass and many out of state.

Unless Wampatuck has a crime problem. I'll find out if the commissioner responds to my letter.

Jerry
 

Storm Trooper

Home is where you park it!
Feb 14, 2008
3,544
Where my camper is parked now.
No, it's not a Wompatuck policy.

We wanted to do a drive through of Mohawk Trail State forest a few weeks back. I told the rangers I was unable to walk through the park due to a knee problem and we were looking to do a rally there. The answer was still no.
 

Wizfisher

Super Active Member
Mar 5, 2009
1,271
While I agree that there should be a safe way to let campers "preview" the campground and the sites prior to making reservations, I do agree that the ranger did the right thing and was following the rules.
Expecting them to allow you in because you are a "two sixty somethings" I do not agree with. Your age should have nothing to do with who is let into a park and who isn't. Discretion isn't up to the rangers for a variety of reasons and the ranger following the rules prevents age discrimination in this case.

I think the ranger used good customer service by doing what is right for the customers inside the park. The example above says what I am thinking about if the situation were reversed and you were robbed while camping.
Just because it is public land does not always mean we are always entitled to use that land. I do wish it were the case sometimes too.

If I were you, I would write that letter with the intentions of them changing the way in which campers can preview the parks. Suggest the ranger at the gate hold onto your license, get your vehicle info. and let you in for a limited amount of time.
Some parks have to worry about "campers" going in to preview the park only to use the parks facilities without paying.

I'm sure there are reasons they don't allow just anyone in to look around, regardless of age, appearance, etc.

Make those reservations and stay there a couple nights and then let us know what you think of the park.
Hope you enjoy it there.
 

jjsul

Active Member
Aug 17, 2010
195
If it were a uniform policy I could understand, but as I mentioned I've never had a problem at the other state parks that I've visited in the system. The attendant said "All state parks have this policy."

This summer alone we looked at 4 other Mass State Parks with full acknowledgment and of the attendants some even gave us area/site recommendations. That's good customer service.

Frankly after all these years visiting private and public parks I don't take security for granted and I don't think it's the prime responsibility of the "gatekeepers." You have no idea who is staying in the campground or walking in through back trails. However, I make it a habit not to stay in a campground that goes unattended overnight so that there is no emergency or late access unless they have a lock system like Turkey Swamp GC in NJ which we visited last weekend. After midnight all campers get the combo to the gate lock.

My mentioning the age was that we weren't a bunch of teenagers on a joyride etc. They did allow us walking access which we did but being a large park it would have taken over an hour to review the possible sites.

Jerry
 

Storm Trooper

Home is where you park it!
Feb 14, 2008
3,544
Where my camper is parked now.
Wizfisher,

While I agree with you that age should not be a factor in letting someone preview a park. This was the first time I have ever been denied access to a state/federal or private park. I'd be glad to give them a license or whatever they wanted, but what Jerry was right about is the inconsistency in enforcement. Fact of the matter is if I was a thief, I would wait till after dark since most of the state parks here in the Northeast have no one at the gate and anyone can get access.
The biggest problem I had was that MA, like other states these days has kids (teenagers-part time) acting as park rangers. This is fine as long as there is a full time ranger there to oversee the park. Too many times, this is not the case.


Jerry, please PM me if you get an answer from the DCR commissioner.

Lou
 




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