SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Taking the comfort of inside to the great outdoors. Officials with Utah’s Department of Natural Resources are hoping to make the wondrous sights and sounds of their parks and campsites more attractive to the avid indoorsman.
‘No worry’ campsites
“You show up and everything is furnished for you,” said Chris Haramoto, Park Manager at East Canyon State Park. “All of your bedding. Everything you’ll need for your camping experience is provided for you right on site.”
What he’s describing is the DNR’s latest experiment with changing the traditional campground scene — or at least making more options available.
Thanks to a partnership with Tentrr, five Utah state parks — including East Canyon — are installing a total of 48 canvas tents at new locations.
The sites, which are set away from other campgrounds, feature several luxury amenities. That includes an already set-up tent, a queen bed on a raised platform, chairs and a basic shower and toilet.
Tentrr is a New York-based company that has been installing similar setups on private lands since 2015.
Utah is set to become the second state to try out the ready-made sites. Maine already placed some on its public lands last year.
Haramoto expects the campsites to be popular. He says Utahns are always seeking something different and looking to “change the norm” when it comes to being outside.
“Up here we have yurts that folks can stay in [and] cabins,” he said. “We have an RV that you can rent out, cool wagons that kind of have the pioneer feel and hammock campsites. But we really wanted to push it a little further.”
The other state parks creating space for the tents are Fred Hayes at Starvation, Steinaker, Red Fleet and Wasatch Mountain State Park.
Coronavirus concerns are also playing a role in the early stages of this partnership. Haramoto said the tents are required to sit empty for at least one day between groups of visitors.
That’s an added precaution that allows a Tentrr employee to thoroughly clean the tent, bedding and facilities between visits. The company is hiring one individual at each park to manage the sites and perform cleaning duties.
So far, the only snag has actually been getting the materials to Utah and set-up for use. All five state parks are behind schedule due to shipping delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Everything got slowed down a little bit,” Haramoto said. “We were actually hoping to get these up-and-running a few weeks ago. We’re hoping now to get them up-and-running for this weekend.”
According to him, the materials only came in on Wednesday, May 20, but it should be a fast turnaround to get the sites constructed.
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