Most backpackers know that when money's tight and jobs are in danger, you don't need to drop loads of coin on an expensive summer vacation — you just throw on your pack and head for the outdoors. And from the looks of things, the rest of America might be catching on.
State park officials in Vermont have already reported a 7-percent boost in that state's summer camping reservations, which they attribute to rising gas prices and our current lamewad economy. Vemont's Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation claims that 10,375 spots have already been reserved for the upcoming season.
We'll be on the lookout for reports from the rest of the states, but if you live near a particularly scenic corner of the country or plan to visit one soon, you might want to start planning ahead. Your favorite camping spot might even be more busy than usual.
Oh, and if you see Joe and Jane Cancun next door loading up the Dodge Caravan with cotton t-shirts, jeans, and a tent from the 70s, you might want to tip 'em off about all the bears and mountain lions you've seen out in the wilderness so far this year. You know, just if you're feeling neighborly. — Ted Alvarez