Some very good words of wisdom from the guy who started OvernightRVParking.com. Reprinted from a blog.
Poor behavior by some RVers will result in fewer places to stay
In 2020, some State and Federal lands have been closed to camping, because irresponsible campers have left trash and garbage behind and have improperly disposed of human waste. As with so many other things, we RVers are our own worst enemy. Getting the message across that responsible wilderness camping includes “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints,” we will continue to lose access to more of these places.
When it comes to Overnight RV Parking in non-wilderness places (i.e., “blacktop boondocking” in places where it’s allowed), COVID-19 itself has not affected the availability of many of these places.
For example, we know of only a handful of Walmarts and Cracker Barrels that have stopped allowing Overnight RV Parking due to COVID-19. There are some, but not many. Whether they will again allow it is unknown.
One thing that we’re observing is a marked increase in the kinds of retail stores and restaurants that are allowing Overnight RV Parking. Some of these are the businesses that have moved into buildings that formerly housed Walmart or K-Mart stores. Others are simply aware of the difficulty of finding RV Campground spaces and are willing to help out for one night. We now list hundreds of these places in our www.OvernightRVParking.com database.
The future availability of all of these locations depends more on RVers and our behavior than anything else. Over the past 14 years of developing and maintaining the www.OvernightRVParking.com website and database, one thing is perfectly clear:
While there are other reasons that places stop allowing Overnight RV Parking, the principal reason is RVer abuse of the Overnight RV Parking privilege.
Until we ALL understand that parking overnight in commercial parking lots is a privilege and not a right, and that we should treat their property as we would want a guest in our homes to treat our property, more and more of these retail, restaurant, truck stop and other locations will continue banning Overnight RV Parking.
Rules for staying in free overnight locations
Every RVer who wants to park overnight at a Walmart or other similar location needs to remember and follow these guidelines:
- Always get permission from the business. NO EXCEPTIONS. Speak with the Customer Service department or the Manager, or someone else at the business who is authorized to state store policy to the public, and to grant or deny permission for Overnight RV Parking. If you will arrive after the business closes, obtain this permission by telephone, before closing time.
- Park only where they tell you to park.
- Park without obstructing traffic lanes in any way.
- Stay one night only unless you have specific permission from the business to stay longer. Arriving late and leaving early is best.
- DO NOT set any “camping” type items outside your RV, including:
- No lawn chairs
- No BBQ grills
- No awnings extended
- Do not extend slideouts unless your RV cannot be used without them. In these cases, extend them ONLY over an area that will have no vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
- If you must use leveling jacks so that your RV is close to level (this is important if you have a venturi-type RV refrigerator), then use protective blocks or pads under your levelers to protect the surface of the parking lot. RV levelers can leave permanent impressions in the surface; these collect water in the summer and ice in the winter, and speed the deterioration of the paving material.
- NEVER leave any trash or garbage in the parking lot. Place it in proper trash receptacles, or carry it out with you.
- NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES empty gray or black water tanks in a parking lot or a storm drain. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Happy trails and take your trash with you. Leave no trace.