Campsites Are Being Illegally Resold on Secondary Market
A new issue is occurring in state parks: campsite reselling. This is also known as the “blackmarket of campsites.”
Campsite resellers reserve one or multiple campsites in a park and resell them online, often for higher prices.
Is campsite reselling legal? Is it moral? We’ve got the full story here.
Campsite Scalpers At Work in Kansas
According to officials from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, campsite resellers are hard at work in Kansas State Parks.
Campsites are being reserved in mass and sold on the “secondary market,” similar to ticket scalping. Resellers reserve all the campsites in the state parks and then sell them to other people to make a buck.
Officials from KDWPT say that this is a problem, and it’s occurring in many state parks around the state.
It is unclear who is behind the campsite reselling, but officials at state parks all over Kansas are monitoring the situation heavily.
What is the Secondary Market?
A secondary market is any market other than the original market, such as the Kansas State Parks website.
Popular places to advertise campsites include Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Groups, and Craigslist.
Campsite resellers use secondary markets online to generate interest in unavailable campsites and resell them at a higher price to campers who want to get into the park.
Is Campsite Reselling Legal?
According to a post from Kanapolis State Park, renting and reselling campsites is against agency regulations.
“KDWPT regulation K.A.R. 115-8-19 states that no person shall advertise, engage in, or solicit any business, or make a charge for any event or service except as authorized by the department-on-department lands and waters. Persons or businesses found to be engaging in this activity can be ticketed resulting in a court appearance and related fines/costs.”
Kanapolis park manager Jason Sunderland says that reselling campsites is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by fines and court costs.
Although fines have not been issued yet, officials with KDWPT are ready to give violations if the problem persists.
It’s Not Only Scalpers Reselling Campsites
Many Kansas State Parks won’t issue full refunds for campsite reservation cancellations. This prompts campers who cannot use their reservation to try and resell at the last minute to recoup campsite reservation costs.
Although it is unclear who is behind all the campsite reselling, it isn’t all campsite scalpers. According to comments on this Facebook post, many people believe resellers are regular people trying to get money back on an unused reservation.
Campsite Reselling Can Be a Safety Issue
Not only is campsite reselling a misdemeanor offense, but it can also be a safety issue. When a campsite is reserved and resold, the contact information remains the same. This can present safety issues in inclement weather if park officials can’t get ahold of the actual camper in the spot.
Tips For Always Getting A Campsite
Camping is more popular than ever this year, which means campsite reservations are even harder to come by.
Campsite reservations are always hard to get in popular destinations but are becoming next to impossible on any weekend at campgrounds and state parks around the country.
Here are some tips to always get the campsite you want without resorting to buying resold reservations.
Plan ahead when booking campsites, especially at popular destinations. Campsites in places like Yellowstone National Park open six months before and sell out within minutes! If you want a campsite reservation in a popular place like a national park, find out the release date and how far ahead you can book.
Planning ahead isn’t always something you can do, especially when you want to take a last-minute camping trip.
Have Plenty of Options
If you want to take a last-minute camping trip, keep your options open. You may not always get the specific campsite that you want, but if you’re flexible on location and amenities, you have a better chance of getting the reservation.
Whether you have more than one park option or multiple camping loops to choose from, keeping your options open gives you a much better chance. You can make the most of any camping trip; the most important thing is just to be able to get out there.
Pro Tip: Boondocking can be a great backup plan. Here are the 21 best free campsites in 2021.
Be Prepared to Wait for First-Come, First-Serve Campsites
Some campsites and campgrounds don’t allow for reservations by phone or online. These campsites are ‘first-come, first-serve’ campsites. First-come, first-serve campsites are given to the first person to arrive and choose them.
In the case of these campsites, be prepared to arrive early in the morning and wait for campsites to open to grab the best spot.
In places like Yellowstone, campers start lining up at 5 am or earlier to snag a spot!
Don’t Contribute to Campsite Reselling
Campsite reselling is an issue in Kansas State Parks, but it might not be limited to Kansas alone. Campers can help end the problem of campsite reselling by refusing to purchase resold tickets.
Plan ahead to get the campsite that you want. If a park is sold out, go somewhere else! There are always other options without having to pay extra or purchase resold tickets.
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