Posts tagged ‘Forest Service Campgrounds’

Forest Service Campgrounds Free in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi

One of my company's primary businesses is to operate National Forest campgrounds.  We have been told that starting immediately, and for an unspecified period of time, many of the campgrounds in the US Forest Service in East Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi will be waiving camping fees for the foreseeable future.  We have been told that anyone can camp for free, and that they do not need to prove they are a hurricane refugee, nor do they even have to be from one of the affected states, to get the free camping.  The Texas Campgrounds we operate are now free to campers, but we have been instructed to still charge fees for day use and for purchases (such as for firewood).  The number of states affected may be larger than just these three, but so far the campgrounds we operate in Kentucky, Florida, and New Mexico are still charging fees.  Update:  campgrounds in Alabama, Arkansas and Oklahoma are also included, see below.

Texas_campground2 Texas_campground1_2

Subsidizing camping for refugees makes sense, though I am not sure why the Feds are subsidizing camping for everyone, but I guess they despaired of coming up with a fair way to separate homeless refugees from regular campers, so they made it free to everyone.  I have not been instructed whether the usual 14-day stay limit enforced by the Forest Service is still in effect, but I will assume it is until informed otherwise.  The 14-day stay limit has also been waived.

Update:  OK, here is the release:


Washington, Sept.3, 2005 - The USDA Forest Service is taking another
step to assist survivors of Hurricane Katrina by temporarily rescinding
the fee requirement for campgrounds and the 14-day stay limit for
camping on some National Forest System lands in the Southern Region.
The normal fee range is $4.00 to $25.00 depending on the location.

The forests offering free camping include the Kisatchie National Forest
in Louisiana, the National Forests of Alabama, the Ozark-St. Francis
National Forest in Arkansas, the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas
and Oklahoma and the National Forests and Grasslands of Texas. In all,
106 campgrounds are open without charge to victims of Hurricane Katrina
as they transition through these first weeks of the disaster.

Per comment below, an update on free camping opportunities here.

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Browser Market Share? Depends on Who You Ask

I have been a marketer for almost 20 years, and one of the classic mistakes in marketing is to rely too much on your own experience and preferences.  Its often easy to fall into the trap of saying "everyone I know would like that" or vice versa, only to find that "everyone you know" are not necessarily representative of the market as a whole.

When I was a consultant at McKinsey & Co., we often asked people we were interviewing questions like "what is the market size for window glass in Mexico".  The key to successfully completing the exercise was to break the problem down into cascading assumptions, each of which could theoretically be researched and checked.  For example, with the window glass problem, a good answer might be:

The glass market is probably made up of housing, commercial buildings, automotive, and other.  Take the housing market.  Assume 80% of the market is new construction.  Assume the population of Mexico is 50 million, and there are 5 people per home, so there are 10 million homes, and lets assume the housing stock is increased by 5 % a year and that each home has 100 square feet of glass..  etc etc.

It was kind of fun to see if they get to the right answer, but the whole point was to see how they could break down and analytical problem.  The reason I bring up this whole episode was sometimes we would ask our recruits, typically Ivy Leaguers, to come up with the market size for annual snow ski sales.  So they would work through the logic that there are 300 million people in the US and x% ski and these people replace their skis on average every 5 years, etc.  However, it always made me laugh that these folks would be guaranteed to miss the number way, way high.  Why?  Because in coming up with the percentage of people that ski, they would look around the room and say, well 80% of my friends ski and so lets assume 30 or 40 or even more percent of Americans snow ski.  In fact, I have not looked up the number lately, but the actual percentage of Americans that ski is something less than 5%.  Recruits intuition was fooled because, at least in terms of skiing, they were surrounded by an anomalous population.

All of this is a long, long, overly long intro into an interesting set of facts around browser share between IE and Firefox.  A while back I wrote that, from my traffic logs for this site, Firefox appears to be killing IE.  In fact, since I posted this, Firefox has gained even more share on this site:


Now, to the issue of this post, one might suspect that my traffic might not be representative of the whole market.  I would argue that blog readers probably are heavier Internet users, more Internet-savvy on average, and therefore more likely to have investigated browser alternatives beyond the one pre-loaded on their PC.  It turns out that I have a way to test this.  I have another group of sites for my business, including sites for Forest Service Campgrounds, Lake Havasu Jetski Rentals, and Campground Jobs.  The readers of these sites tend to be older on average and less computer proficient.  The browser market share at these sites looks like this:


Wow, that is a huge difference.  Take it from me, its unusual to find a market segmentation that dramatic.  It makes me wonder about all of the talk about blogs replacing the MSM.  How much are we breathing our own exhaust?

Postscript: This is an age-old problem and takes many forms in many businesses.  For example, thousands of farmers have bankrupted themselves in the commodities futures markets making bets on worldwide crop prices based on their local weather and harvest expectations.

Disclosure: Yes, I did take the opportunity to shamelessly Google bomb my own sites.  Sorry.  I don't do it very often, maintaining a pretty solid firewall between my business and blog.