Outdoor Hospitality News

For owners, operators, team members, and anyone else interested in camping, glamping, or the RV industry.

Payson Ranger District Reopens Campgrounds Under New Forest Service Management

The Payson Ranger District in Arizona, has announced the reopening of all campgrounds after converting them to Forest Service management during the winter. 

This marks the first year of the Forest Service taking over from a long-time campground concessionaire. For decades, Rim Country Forest Service developed campgrounds from Houston-Mesa near Payson to Sharp Creek below the Rim off Hwy. 

260 were managed by an outside company responsible for maintaining the facilities. Last year, the Tonto National Forest decided to take back management of the campgrounds.

One notable change in the management transition is the payment process. Susan Blake, the public information officer for the Tonto National Forest, stated, “None of the campgrounds will accept cash or check payments.” 

To accommodate this change, the Forest Service has installed pay machines at six of the campgrounds. 

Some campgrounds will only accept fees at a machine, while others will offer a Scan & Pay option through Recreation.gov, providing campsites on a first-come, first-serve basis online. The Lower Tonto Creek campground will be Scan & Pay only once it opens up.

Planning a camping trip this season? Recreation.gov offers a convenient platform to reserve campsites and access information on federal properties. 

To use the Scan & Pay function, campers need to create an online account before their trip. Once a camper selects a campsite, they visit the campground’s kiosk to scan the QR code for instructions on how to pay for the campsite, then prove payment.

It’s important to note that none of the campgrounds will sell firewood. Campers should plan to purchase firewood from vendors in town or make other arrangements for their camping needs.

Private campground owners and operators may be impacted by this change in management as well. The transition could result in increased competition for privately-owned campgrounds in the area. 

To stay competitive, private campground owners may need to focus on offering additional amenities, unique features, or superior customer service to attract campers to their sites.

Moreover, private campground operators can learn from the Forest Service’s new payment system by adopting technology for easier payment processes in their own campgrounds.

By implementing a similar online reservation and payment process, private campgrounds can streamline their operations and provide customers with a seamless and convenient experience, ensuring continued success in the ever-evolving outdoor recreation industry.

The Payson Ranger District’s management transition brings new payment options and services for campers. 

As the Forest Service adapts to the new management structure, private campground owners and operators should also consider embracing technological advancements for a more streamlined and customer-friendly experience. 

The future of camping in Payson and the surrounding area looks promising, with numerous options for campers to explore and enjoy the great outdoors.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
March 15, 2024 12:35 pm

Outdoor enthusiasts! Excited for the new ranger-led programs at Payson Ranger District campgrounds? Don’t forget to grab those trail maps for a nature-filled adventure! 🌲

John Clark
John Clark
May 21, 2024 6:26 am

I’m curious about the new campground changes! It’d be interesting if they go green with recycling or eco-friendly initiatives. Let’s see how the payment switch affects our camping adventures at Payson Ranger District.


Send this to a friend
Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Payson Ranger District Reopens Campgrounds Under New Forest Service Management! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/arizona/payson-ranger-district-reopens-campgrounds-under-new-forest-service-management/