Tips for avid campers

  • <br>For the Enterprise
  • Friday, February 29, 2008 11:34am

It’s that time of year again when campers dust off their gear and mark their calendars for a season of crisp morning air, hikes in the woods and fun in the sun.

At more than half of the 80 state camping parks, the public may reserve campsites for dates through Sept. 15 up to nine months in advance. Other camping parks are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

While drop-in campers are welcome at reservation parks when space is available, reservations (available by calling 1-888-CAMPOUT; or on the Web at offer peace of mind when traveling to distant or popular parks.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission recommends the following tips to help visitors enjoy a fun, safe and smooth camping experience:

• Know Washington state’s laws and parks rules and regulations. Check park bulletin boards for important instructions and information.

• Arrive as early as possible to avoid the evening crowd. Check-in time at most parks is between 2:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Campers are required to register within a half-hour of arrival at the park. Check-out time at most parks is 1 p.m.

• Bring extra cash. Campers make payment in full to confirm reservations through the reservations system. Although some parks accept credit cards, it is ideal to have your checkbook and/or extra cash on hand for first-come, first-served parks.

• Make sure you have plenty of fuel in your car. Some parks may be located a long distance from a gas station.

• Pack a map and know alternative routes to your destination. Also, bring necessary camping equipment and personal items, such as health medication, and be prepared for various types of weather.

• Step lightly on trails, beaches and elsewhere in parks. The fate of a rare plant or small beach creature may be under your foot. Picking plants or walking off trails decreases their survival and — with the exception of shellfish harvesting where allowed in season — removing wildlife from parks is prohibited.

• Check for burning bans due to dry weather by calling 360-902-8844. Some parks may have campfire restrictions.

• Visit to learn more about your favorite state parks or how to make, change or cancel a camping reservation.

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to, by fax to 425-774-8622 or by mail to Sports editor, The Enterprise, 4303 198th St. SW., Lynnwood, WA 98036.

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