CO - Chapman Lake Campground

Discussion in 'Colorado' started by icsopris, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. icsopris

    icsopris Is it Friday yet?

    186
    1
    Sep 28, 2011
    We love camping along the frying pan river and at Chapman Lake. In fact we've been camping at this campground and our favorite site for over 20 years and never had any issues.

    I't's cold and snowy on January 24th when I wake up early, pull up ReserveAmerica.com and make my reservation for our favorite site for 6 months away, June 24th. I alert friends and family to join us, this is going to be a great summer weekend, something to look forward too while it's snowy and cold.

    The much anticipated day arrives! After waking at 5 am to pack my camper Friday morning and then working a full 8 hour day we pull out of the house at 5pm and head to our favorite camping site 2 hours from home.

    We have dinner packed and ready to eat when we arrive at our site. A nice car ride along the Frying Pan river, truly a beautiful place and a beautiful evening. We arrive at 7 pm, pull into our loop and get to our site to find a monster 5th wheel parked and setup in our site. Wow, even the reserved sign doesn't have our name on it. What is happening? Did I have the wrong site, date, or am I going crazy? Luckily I had printed my itinerary and retrieve it from my bag. Yep, correct date, correct site, not crazy, wth?

    Rather than approaching this person, "The Parents" as indicated on the reservation sign, we drive back down the entrance of the campground to look for the campground host. We arrive to find several other campers frustrated and looking for the host as someone was in their sites too! The host was nowhere to be found so we drove back up to our site to politely let the person know he is in our spot and we have reservations. We approach "The Parents" who were relaxing by a fire with beer and wine, which is where I should be!

    Mr. Parent let us know they arrived Thursday, no "reserved" signs were up so he paid for this site for the weekend and he felt it's theirs. I show Mr. Parent my reservation confirmation and Mr. Parent says there was a mixup and he's already setup and we can go find another site. His wife then reports that the campground host did return later in the day and told them that the site was reserved and he was late putting up the sign. Apparently, then The Parents persuaded the elderly campground host to let them stay by writing a letter explaining how they feel they should have the site for the weekend and it's too much work to break down and move. That afternoon Mr. Parent moves my "reserved sign" and selected us a site down the road. They ask us to please just take that site and all will be fine. This site they selected for us in the full sun, did not had the 2 foot grass cut and did not have room for our pop up!

    We drive back down to the host site to find the host to let him know we are not accepting this alternative site and I want the site I booked 6 months ago. We have friends staying in sites adjacent to this site. We finally find the elderly campground host who let's us know he had an emergency in the morning and left the campground without putting up the reserved signs or cleaning the bathrooms. By mid day Friday the operations manager was alerted that the bathrooms were not cleaned and reserved signs were not up. Reinforcements were called in. Two campground hosts from nearby campgrounds were called in to come clean bathrooms and get the signs up. We then ask the elderly, visibly upset host to accompany us to the site to ask "The Parents" to leave. He states he cannot and that we need to go speak to Carol as she is now in charge. Carol was out and about dealing with other campers who were in the wrong spot, other campers were moving and understood the situation. We find Carol on her golf cart dealing with this mess, let her know our predicament and she willingly she drives over to ask "Chad" to move. I find it odd they are on a first name basis, she let's me know the couple begged them to stay in our spot too! We did not accompany her but according to our friends camping next to our site, "Mr. Parent" was combative, screaming and yelling, making threats and would not leave our site. Carol drives back down to let us know he's not moving. This is unacceptable, who's in charge I ask?

    Carol calls the district operations manager and wakes him up at 9pm and he makes the drive up to the campground from town, he's not happy about this. He too then asks "The Parents" to move which "Mr. Parent" then states he's had too much to drink and cannot drive. Jeff the operations manager caves in and let's them stay in our spot for the night. By now the campground is almost full leaving us an unused campground host site as our only alternative to spend the night. I then state, fine, if he's too drunk tonight, then he's out at daylight tomorrow. The operation manager agrees and drives back up to the our site to let "The Parents" know they must leave before 9am Saturday morning.

    It's now 10pm, we've had no dinner, no campfire, no libations! We opt to pop up our camper and make the best of it and get to bed about midnight.

    We rise early and fish at the lake and catch lots of beautiful lake trout. It was a great morning and now we're ready to go get our site and make some breakfast. It's 9am and the operations manager arrives and heads up to evict "The Parents" who were not even awake yet! By 11am they were out, Mr. Parent pissed, I'm pissed, the campground operations manager is pissed and the elderly campground host lost his job. All of this is due to the fact that the Parents' chose a reserved site and would not move. By late Saturday morning, he is now packed and cuts his 4 day weekend short and drives his enormous fifth wheel back to Denver, good riddance!

    We pull into our site at noon on Saturday and get to making breakfast, we are finally eating and have permission to stay late into Sunday as no other reservations were made for that night. This is the best site at Chapman Lake and we now spend the afternoon relaxing at our beach and fishing and enjoying the cool mountain air. Saturday night was awesome sitting at the campfire with our friends and enjoying our beloved spot.

    All in all, we will be getting a full refund for our camping fees for the two nights. We love this campground and will continue to make reservations and camp here.

    All I can say is, please check to make sure you're not in a reserved site. If it is reserved, then move, it's why this whole online booking system was setup to prevent situations like this. I understand that Mr. Chad Parent thought he was in the right due to the lack of signage. However, he did learn the site was reserved and then pleaded verbally and wrote a letter persuading the wishy washy campground to let them stay, whereas he should have packed up and moved and all this would have been avoided. Way to go Mr. Chad Parent, I hope you learned your lesson and won't be poaching campsites any longer!

    Thanks for reading, happy camping and may you never meet "The Parents!"
     
  2. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

    10,114
    144
    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    Wow- thankfully we have never encountered such a combination of events. While camp hosts vary a lot in how, and how well, they do their jobs, many have been great.
    One interesting thing is that in some of the campgrounds, including the USFS one last weekend, the current and upcoming reservation signs are posted. That way, the reserved sign doesn't get posted just the morning of the arrival. It wouldn't stop someone from removing it, but I haven't seen that happen but (maybe) once or twice.
    This does make me want to double-check that I have our official confirmation in hand, in hard copy. We usually do take it with us, and have seldom been asked for it.
     
  3. icsopris

    icsopris Is it Friday yet?

    186
    1
    Sep 28, 2011
    Good point, I always print my confirmation, rarely asked to show it, but it did help me prove I had not lost my mind and we were in the correct spot, on the correct date. The campground hosts have their list printed and we were on it for this site.

    Unfortunately, this is the second time this year someone was in our spot. The first time the person was very nice, very apologetic and moved right away.

    Mr. Parent was not a nice person.
     
  4. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

    10,114
    144
    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    No, it sounds as though he was not a nice person, and the (fired) host not up to the job. (In some ways, I'd love to host, but putting up with such antics is not one of my gifts. I couldn't do the cleaning and other work reliably anymore, either.)
    We had reservations to camp in a small USFS CG in the Platoro area. The people camped in the site decided to go fishing, and were still there after checkout time. The host was waiting for us, to direct us to a place to park until they returned (apparently they had gone too far for him to hunt them down). Thoughtless on the part of the other campers, very thoughtful camp host.
    For those who want to linger a while, please remember someone will probably be arriving for your site. Most campgrounds have an area where you can park your rig, after you have packed up and moved from the site by checkout time.
     
  5. Boatnman

    Boatnman Active Member

    975
    196
    Jan 19, 2017
    western Colorado
    We'll be at Chapman for 3 nights starting Friday, August 4, 2017 - our first time there. Any tips or suggestions about the campground? We have our reservations and hopefully we won't have any issues.
     
  6. icsopris

    icsopris Is it Friday yet?

    186
    1
    Sep 28, 2011
    I have heard the outfit that was managing this campground has been replaced this year.
    Bring your fishing pole and "Blue Fox" fishing lure to catch the lake trout.
    We use Cinnamon oil as mosquito and gnat repellent, works great, they are vicious up there!
    Enjoy the nature trail hike by the lake and have a great time!
     
  7. Boatnman

    Boatnman Active Member

    975
    196
    Jan 19, 2017
    western Colorado
    Thanks for the feedback. We're hoping the mosquitos will have thinned, but early August might still be too early for such hopes. (It can't be as bad as the Grand Mesa!) Cinnamon oil? But then we'll smell like cinnamon instead of insect repellent. (Thanks for the tip - it does sound better than "Off".)

    We'll be there with 2 of our grandkids so it should be fun. Our 6 year old grandson is quite the fisherman - he even explained "catch and release" to Grandma.

    We're looking forward experiencing a new campground. We are close to retirement and really want to travel around the state with our PUP.

    Thanks for the advice.

    EDIT: Just checked by tackle box and I have a good supply of Blue Fox lures.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  8. Boatnman

    Boatnman Active Member

    975
    196
    Jan 19, 2017
    western Colorado
    Chapman is a very nice campground! It's popular, but far enough away that it takes a little effort to get to. We reserved a camp site that backed up to the Frying Pan River on a loop where the camp sites are very private. It appeared the vault toilets were fairly new (all concrete construction) and they were kept very clean. Potable water is provided but we only saw a few water locations that had a hose bibb. Chapman Reservoir is a small lake with trout and there are other lakes nearby for fishing. We'll be going back!
     
  9. sleach

    sleach A short run will get you within walking distance.

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    51
    May 17, 2014
    I saw something at a recent AOC rally that made a lot of sense. We were at Whitestar CG, on Twin Lakes, south of Leadville, CO. This is a very popular CG, for good reason. At each site there was a small white board clipped to the number post that listed current and upcoming reservations, showing dates and names. Where there was a gap between reservations the board said "Open". As I was packing up the CG host was neatening up an adjoining site, including updating the board from the list in his golf cart. He said when someone uses an "Open" time slot he gently reminds them of check out time.

    This strikes me as a good system.
     
    kitphantom and kcsa75 like this.
  10. Boatnman

    Boatnman Active Member

    975
    196
    Jan 19, 2017
    western Colorado
    We were at Turquoise Lake in June and saw that system, but never saw an "open" marker. I believe all of the campgrounds in that area are managed by the same company out of California. It was a different company at Chapman but same great hosts. At Chapman, they posted white cards with "Available X nights" if the site hadn't been reserved.
     
  11. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

    933
    189
    May 7, 2013
    Eastern Idaho
  12. sleach

    sleach A short run will get you within walking distance.

    539
    51
    May 17, 2014
    f5, thanks for posting the link to the Denver Post article on privatization of public lands. I now have a better understanding of what has happened, and a hint of the future.

    One thing I really don't like about current management of campgrounds on public lands, but especially USFS lands, is the way CGs are closed earlier and earlier in the year. All USFS CGs in Colorado seem to be closed before the start of the major hunting seasons. USFS CGs are good places to camp when hunting- good access roads, level or nearly so sites, basic sanitary facilities, etc. I have no problem with water service being shut off, or trash collection being suspended. I haul my own water and rubbish.

    Closure of CGs forces hunters to set up camps in undeveloped spots, generating new "roads", new fire pits that are less safe than USFS models, and digging of latrines. In other words, unnecessary resource damage.

    End of rant.
     

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