Fracking Frenzy

Anyone who's traveled in South Central Texas and stayed at an RV Park could not help but notice that many of the Rvers are long-term guests staying at the parks while working.  The Eagle Ford Shale region has been descended upon by the oil industry as a new tap to revive the weakened industry.  The employment of "fracking" has opened up a whole new way to obtain the precious oil and gas that Texas has been famous for in bygone years.

This new method of attaining the resource, fracking, is the latest topic to become an environmental hot button issue. Practiced in several states, Texas is a large user of the method.

Water, sand and chemicals are blasted deep underground to free natural gas from dense rock deposits, referred to as shale. The chemicals involved include arsenic (causes cancer) barium (damaging to human kidneys) a compound known as DEHP (added to plastics for flexibility and suspected of causing cancer) glycols (an antifreeze) manganese (damages the nervous system if ingested) methane (a poisonous odorless gas that if inhaled paralyzes the lungs and causes death). Methane and arsenic occur naturally underground. The concern is that with the blasting they may be freed to work their way into the water supply, along with the other chemicals and sand. If any of these substances get into an aquifer they would ruin the water quality. This is exactly what the people who live in and near the village of Dinrock, Pennsylvania think is happening to their wells. Similar concerns have been raised across the northern tier of states from the Dakotas to Washington, and in Colorado. Proponents have all noted that fracking is usually much deeper than the aquifers in question or sufficiently distant so as to pose no threat. Fracking is a promising way to extract natural gas on a wide scale from huge formations that otherwise would not be accessible with conventional drilling. More plentiful fuel and cheaper prices constitute the bottom line benefits for everyone. It’s a classic case of environmental concerns versus economic concerns. Since it is the government that must decide what regulations will apply, of course fracking has become a political hot button issue.

Although this presents a new challenge for RV Parks in making sure that their parks remain a clean and safe 'travel' atmosphere, it has also served to keep occupancy rates high and allowed for improvement projects to be funded more easily.  At Hidden Valley we've found that this new generation of working travelers are very clean, quiet and considerate and most have very nice RV's.   They comprise mostly men and a cross-section of both administration, foremen, helpers and laborers.  Some travel with their wives but many reside in their RV's Mon through Friday and travel home to their hometowns on some or most weekends.  Our experience has shown that they are from many different industries but all having increased employment here due to the oil industry boom.  Jobs range from construction related (building stores, hotels, housing, etc to service the new Texas residents,) truckers who haul in equipment and haul out the chemical laden soils after being blasted to those who labor in the fields themselves.

Rvers are also heavily involved in workamper opportunities at gate guard companies where they park their RV, share hours with their mate, and guard oil rig gates and check in trucks and workers who are allowed on the site.  The number of gate guard companies can no longer be counted on your fingers and provide a means for full timers to support their lifestyle.

Hidden Valley RV Park wants to thank all our guests for their loyalty this past year and continuing into the winter/spring season and are especially grateful to the new segment of our visitors who have become RV Park regulars...the oil boomers. 

 We are likely to hear a great deal more news about fracking as well as about how the oil boom is affecting the RV industry, so stay tuned!

Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with , Facebook and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV


Anonymous said...

I hope fracking does not contaminate local school wells

Hidden Valley RV Park said...

The thing is, fracking has been around for quite some time but only recently has it become an issue, undoubtedly due to it's much more extensive use. Frankly, I don't see how it cannot contaminate every piece of earth is is touched by. What will happen when miles of dynamited holes dapple with the very core of the earth...not to mention the 1000's of contaminants used in the process. Doesn't seem even the EPA is very upset over it. What's an earthling to do?

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