Monday, May 22, 2017

ACOE Campgrounds: Who knew?

If you've been keeping up, you know that the last three places I stayed were ACOE Campgrounds.  If you didn't know or look it up, ACOE stands for Army Corps of Engineers.  Don't feel bad if you didn't know.  The only reason I knew anything about the ACOE was from my previous job, where the Corps was a customer.  Here's a general overview of the ACOE from their website so you don't have to look it up yourself:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approximately 37,000 dedicated Civilians and Soldiers delivering engineering services to customers in more than 130 countries worldwide.

With environmental sustainability as a guiding principle, our disciplined Corps team is working diligently to strengthen our Nation’s security by building and maintaining America’s infrastructure and providing military facilities where our servicemembers train, work and live. We are also researching and developing technology for our war fighters while protecting America’s interests abroad by using our engineering expertise to promote stability and improve quality of life.

We are energizing the economy by dredging America’s waterways to support the movement of critical commodities and providing recreation opportunities at our campgrounds, lakes and marinas.

And by devising hurricane and storm damage reduction infrastructure, we are reducing risks from disasters.

Our men and women are protecting and restoring the Nation’s environment including critical efforts in the Everglades, the Louisiana coast, and along many of our Nation’s major waterways. The Corps is also cleaning sites contaminated with hazardous, toxic or radioactive waste and material in an effort to sustain the environment.

Through deeds, not words, we are BUILDING STRONG.

I knew that they worked on large projects like dredging the Delaware River and building levees in New Orleans, but hadn't realized they also worked on recreational projects, like campgrounds and hiking trails.  I seem to learn something new every day on tour.  Sometimes it's that nipples can chafe right off in the right conditions and sometimes it's that the Army is responsible for hundreds of campgrounds.

I don't know who or where this is.  The ACOE has a ton of free images on their website.  (Credit: ACOE)

Here's the gist with these ACOE spots.  They're a lot like any other regional and state park campgrounds, meaning running water, warm showers, and clearly marked camping spots.  This means that much like most regional and state parks, they cater heavily to RVs.  Regardless of how you feel about RVs, it seems the majority of Americans think camping involves air conditioning and satellite television.  Since these spots cater to RVs, they aren't cheap.  They're about $20 a night, and there aren't discounted rates for tent campers.  These campgrounds appear to be mostly run by volunteer retirees, who, if you remind them of one of their grandkids, they might let you stay a night for free.  Who knows.  Be nice and find out.

In any case, if it wasn't for the ACOE campgrounds, I really would have struggled to find places to camp in the South.  It's not like Wisconsin or Minnesota or Oregon where you can't throw a stick without hitting a state park.  I was happy to have them, but now that I'm done with the South, I'm happy to not need them.  I'm not a huge fan of RVs.

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