Campgrounds at Full Capacity For Total Eclipse

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August 23, 2017 by   Leave a Comment

Monday’s (Aug. 21) solar eclipse was a major windfall for campgrounds all across the 14 states in the “Path of Totality” as facilities operated at full capacity while hosting events and watch parties to accommodate their guests.

Some campgrounds, like Fort Caspar Campground in Wyoming, have been booked solid since January 2015. Other parks have been preparing for months to host the influx of eager eclipse-viewers as the event provided the perfect opportunity for parties, music and other festivities.

In Nashville, Tenn., Jellystone Park Manager Janet Stowers said the day’s events were well orchestrated, particularly for the children in attendance, including a “sky-gazer” class before the eclipse offering safety information for the kids.

“It’s been crazy and we’re still super busy, but everything went great,” she said Tuesday. “Any time you implement food with any activity the kids learn well.” Earlier in the day children made crafts for a time capsule that will remain buried until the next eclipse. 

At Fort Caspar Campground in Casper, Wyo., the celebration also went smoothly, although Assistant Manager Karla Coqueugnoit reported that the line of cars heading north from Denver created an interstate traffic jam.   

“Everything went really well. I was expecting to have a few snags, but I was pleasantly surprised,” she said. “We had a comfortable population attend the watch party and people seemed to take advantage of the food trucks on site.”

With many campgrounds, RV resorts and hotels operating at full capacity, people traveling to see the full eclipse on a whim were forced to find alternatives. Cristina Bueno traveled from Chicago to Hillsboro, Missouri to witness the eclipse in totality, only to find all the campgrounds in the area were packed. 

“My friend lives in the area so we ended up camping on their property out in the country,” explained Bueno. “At first you could barely tell the moon was in front of the sun, but by the time the moon was covering it halfway we could see little crescent shadows.”

Jamie Hale of the Oregonian reported a more quiet, serene experience at Timothy Lake, which offered a view of Mount Hood along the northern edge of the “Path of Totality.”

“When I arrived at the Gone Creek Campground, I expected to find other eclipse watchers, like myself, who had booked sites six months in advance.” he said, “What I found instead was a scene of both total normalcy and eerie quiet.”

But he said in nearby Madras, considered a prime spot for viewing, “People were crammed into makeshift campgrounds on farms, at the county fairgrounds and at the local airport. Farther east in Prineville, thousands converged on the Symbiosis festival, while similar scenes played out at events across Oregon.”


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