Those of you that follow this blog on a regular basis know that I am all about free camping and boondocking. I have encountered many RVers that feel free camping and boondocking opportunities are only available in the western United States where there is an abundance of federal public land.
While I agree that the opportunities are better in the eleven western states, there are plenty of opportunities as you travel east as well. I haven’t had the privilege of doing any boondocking in the eastern states, but I have been building a database on free boondocking opportunities so that when the day comes my wife and I will be ready!
The newest addition to my database comes straight out of the second half of 2 Corinthians 5:17 “The old has gone, the new is here!” American Electric Power (AEP) employed this verse in both principle and name of their ReCreation Lands. AEP ReCreation Lands are tens of thousands of acres of outdoor recreation areas built on land formerly strip-mined for coal.
They have received multiple awards for their restoration efforts from environmental and conservation groups for going above and beyond the legal requirements for land reclamation. In 1998, ReCreation Land was recognized by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as the largest single outdoor recreation facility in Ohio.
Their efforts to reclaim the land include planting over 63 million trees, creating more than 600 lakes and ponds, building trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrian users, along with nearly 380 campsites!
Best of all, the outdoor activities and camping are FREE to the public! Camping ranges from primitive camping (aka boondocking) to developed campgrounds. While I haven’t had the opportunity to visit the camping areas in person, I have seen pictures and videos and “flown” over them via Google Earth and can definitely say they are worth a visit.
Click here for maps, campground locations, and additional information on ReCreation Lands. Keep in mind that camping is free, but a permit is required to visit, which can be obtained online or picked up at various locations.
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.