Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have retired and live in a small travel trailer. It is just the right size for us. We have been on the road for almost a year and we are loving it. The only problem I have is my wife. She gets annoyed by our camping neighbors way too often. I am a retired State Police Officer, but she thinks I’m still on the job. I admit we do get some real winners parking next to us at times. We were just in Glacier National Park and our neighbor was breaking just about all the rules at one time. It was more than my wife could handle, so I went over and had a talk with him. That did not go well. We were in a no generator zone, no firewood gathering, and a no burn ban was on. This nut case had his generator fired up to run his electric chainsaw. He was cutting down trees so he could feed his enormous campfire. After I talked to him and he told me to buzz off, the campground host showed up. He did listen to the host and stopped his insanity. If I was the sheriff in town, he would have been fined so heavily he would have needed a loan to get home.
I don’t want my wife unhappy. I don’t want to be the law east or west of the Pecos, and I do not want to be annoyed. Am I asking too much for the campground administrators to do their job? Isn’t it part of what I pay for in my fees? Things are so lax that people keep pushing the limits of noise, rule breaking and litter. No consequences just embolden them. Do you think it’s my background? Do I need some professional help in letting my past training go?
--Cop off the beaten path
It is not just your background. We all deal with this insanity on a regular basis. We watched something similar one night in a Forest Service campground. The host came by, hesitated a moment, and moved along. I heard him say, mostly to himself, “People, ya gotta hate ‘em.”
In fairness to the host, it is not his job to police the area either. But it is his job to call in backup. Now with so many camping areas going to a concession status, jurisdiction keeps getting cloudier and law enforcement less available. If you are going to do anything, I would suggest you report to the nearest local management. At that point you have done what you can. Hang up the badge. If you can’t seem to hang up the badge, become a host. Just because it is not the host's job to confront unruly people, it doesn’t mean it can’t be. Every campground should have a chain of command. Someone’s in charge. Things can be done, it’s just not your job as a registered camper. You will not be considered someone of authority, just a complaining neighbor. You will find things get resolved much quicker by going through the proper channels. It is much better for your wife to be a bit frustrated than you in a verbal or physical confrontation with someone who obviously isn’t too squared away to begin with.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink