It’s summer time and the camping life is easy unless you’re a newcomer to the camping experience. This week, I’ll  show you an easy, friendly way learn campout basics on a getaway to Silver Falls State Park where no one is left behind when the call goes out: “Let‘s Go Camping.”

It’s a Saturday morning in mid-July and Eric and Mindy Markman and their young kids hope to leave all their worries behind on a special campout at Silver Falls State Park.

“Have fun and try not to make too much work” is a key message for the folks who signed up for the Oregon State Park program called “Let’s Go Camping.” It’s a bit like a class in Camping 101 where no assumptions are made about your outdoor skills, abilities or experiences.

Oregon Parks and Recreation staff member, Kevin Farron, plus a core volunteer group operate 12 “Let’s Go Camping” seminars for newcomer campers at as many state parks through the summer. The goal is to introduce beginners to the techniques and equipment that many car campers (folks who stay in a tent rather than a trailer or RV) might consider for their own camping trip.

In fact, if you don’t own camping gear that’s ok because they will loan you the tent, sleeping bags, pads and stoves to set you on the right path. And the price is right too! On this weekend, 8 families signed up for an overnight session at Silver Falls State Park and each family paid just 20 dollars to go to the camping school.

Park rangers assist the class with lessons on safety. For example – showing and talking about the ten safety essentials you’d want to take with you on a hike. Volunteers also show and share camping techniques like the proper way to build a fire.

Farron said there’s even a cooking lesson – dutch oven style: “Everybody loves dutch oven cooking – it’s new to most people and you get a tasty treat at the end so it’s very interactive. Plus, the kids help out.”

Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Fridays and Saturdays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network.

about author Grant McOmie

Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.


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  1. Carol says…

    Great video presentation. The kids are so cute putting up the tent on their own. By the way, your “Let’s Go Camping” seminar is brilliant. Educating newcomer campers is really very necessary. I salute the volunteers for the project. What you are doing is remarkable.

    Written on August 25th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
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