Fights break out at campsite over who booked campsites

Sunnyside County Park in Linn County, Oregon was anything but peaceful at times this summer as ‘camping pirates’ fought over the sites they claimed to reserve, but others argued they were theirs. The park near the town of Sweet Home has 165 RV and tent campsites, 42 of which are first-come, first-served.

Some campers ripped reservation tags from campground kiosks and replaced them with their own, leaving the original parties confused – and angry – when they showed up and found their campsite occupied, the Statesman’s Diary reported.

“Tensions were also high at first-come, first-served campsites,” the newspaper reported. “Wracked with the question of who came first, the rangers had to play mediators and detectives to determine the rightful occupier of the site. Two people even threw punches, said Brian Carroll, director of parks and recreation for Linn County.

EARLIER THIS YEAR the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation reported that assaults and harassment of park rangers had increased to the point that the agency would seek legislation to give rangers additional protection and increase the penalty for attacking them. Rangers reported not only being physically assaulted, but being stalked by campers armed with firearms and even attacked by the campers’ dogs. Last April, graffiti was found at the State Capitol State Park that read “die rangers” in a bathroom along with a racial slur.

“Traditionally, about 1% of our visitors really struggle to comply with rules and regulations,” said Dennis Benson, recreation manager for Deschutes National Forest. “Now we have more than 10% of the population disobeying or adhering to rules, regulations, that sort of thing, which lends itself to more problematic behaviors on public lands.”

Read more in the Statesman Journal

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