Let me preface this review by saying that the issues I have primarily rest on the shoulders of Canyonlands’ senior management team and Sun Resorts. The Park Manager and Facilities Manager were empathetic and did all they could given their positions. Canyonlands RV Resort is located in a prime location in downtown Moab, UT. Close to the major national parks, dining and amenities Moab has to offer. The grounds were nice, well kept, and manicured each day. Upon arrival, I was informed that extra vehicles “must” be parked in an overflow lot located down a hill near a creek. The fee for the extra vehicle is $5 per day. This sort of policy is not unheard of, so I paid the fee and moved my extra vehicle to the designated parking area. Around the overflow parking areas is a creek, dog park, picnic area, and tent camping sites. Muddy branches and leaves scattered the area and a work truck was loaded with debris, presumably awaiting a trip to the dump. As far as I knew, the tent sites were available to rent when I checked in. That night, several thunderstorms rolled through the area. A flash flood warning was issued for the area at 11:30pm. At 2:00am, remembering the debris in the overflow parking area, I decided to check on my vehicle. I found my vehicle lifted by flood waters and pinned between trees, surrounded by park debris (tables, planks, etc). It was clear the vehicle had severe water damage. I quickly retreated from the life-threatening situation. The next morning, park staff found me to discuss the situation. I tend to pay close attention to how organizations respond to situations like this and I have a few thoughts. First, this is not the first time a flood has impacted the overflow parking area. Less than a week before my stay, flood waters inundated the area and the staff was still cleaning up the debris. There were no signs indicating the lower lots were prone to floods nor did the staff even mention this. It was made abundantly clear through in the informational handouts that vehicles “MUST be parked in the overflow lot”. While the flooding event was in fact an act of god, the resort’s policy mandated vehicles be parked in a known flood area. Informed consent would be critical here, where the staff lets you know that if there’s a chance of rain, you should park elsewhere; I absolutely would not have parked at the resort had I known this. Vitally, no such warning was given. Second, this was a life-threatening, late-night flood event. Had tent campers been in the area, they would have been faced with a truly serious situation. The walk bridge from the park to the tent sites was washed away in the flood. The sites may have been closed, but there was no signage anywhere indicating the danger of the area. The lackadaisical approach of senior staff to the deadly area on their own property is, in my opinion, negligent and could have killed people. Luckily, only property was lost and hopefully lessons gained. Third, Sun Communities staff still has not reached out to me directly to offer any apology or discuss the way forward. I’m currently moving as part of an official active-duty military move and lost hundreds of dollars of household goods items that were in the vehicle. There has been no discussion of compensation for these items, assistance with the loss of this vehicle, or otherwise. It’s worth noting I have still been charged the $5/day for parking it. Fourth, park staff admitted that flooding has plagued the area as recently as a few days ago. It was clear the park knew of this issue. I hope this information assists anyone considering a stay at Canyonlands RV Resort in Moab, UT.
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