Frequently Asked Questions

What is CampingCon 2024?

CampingCon is a conference that explores the practice and ethics of public history in the great outdoors. Instead of meeting at conference hotels or convention centers, this conference offers attendees to directly experience nature under rustic settings.  Some may choose to camp, others to stay in bunk houses.  Indeed, others may stay in nearby hotels and short-term rentals.  The presentations will take place at picnic shelters, in quaint structures, or walking along forested trails.

How do I register and what it is the cost?

The cost of the conference is $80 per person and $40 per person for students.  Registration includes conference fees, access to the host facilities, and most meals. Participation is limited to 40 attendees. Registration will open June 1 and end September 15, 2024. 

When and where?

This year’s event will take place on October 10-12, 2024 in the American Southwest, near the community of Mimbres, New Mexico. The host site is Camp Thunderbird, a 25-acre former church and Boy Scout camp along State Highway 35 at the edge of the Gila Forest.  Note that the area is over 6,000’ in elevation.

What are the camp facilities?

Camp Thunderbird includes a main lodge that seats 125 people with a commercial kitchen, three dormitory-style bunkhouses that sleep approximately 30 people each, and two restroom/shower houses with hot water.

The camp also offers to attendees an outdoor chapel, screened-in recreation building, a group fire pit, a large covered gazebo, a basketball/volleyball court and sporting equipment, a swing set, horseshoes, and firepits, picnic tables, and grills are scattered about the grounds.

Linens and laundry are not provided. Ice and firewood are available at cost. Free WIFI is provided and cellular service is accessible although it greatly depends on your provider.

Please contact conference organizer Dylan McDonald ([email protected]) if you require any additional accommodations (ADA, service animal, etc.).

What are the sleeping accommodations?

When registering to attend, participants will select their desired accommodations. Those staying at Camp Thunderbird will have access to the WIFI, clean bathrooms with hot showers, drinking water, and waste disposal. Please bring your necessary linens as the camp does not provide them. All attendees are required to pay the full registration fee regardless of where they choose to stay:

  • Tent camping on the grounds of Camp Thunderbird.  You will need to provide all the necessary equipment to do so – tent, sleeping pad and bag, etc. – and will have access to the rest of the camp facilities including the bathrooms.
  • Bunk houses mainly divided by gender. These bunkhouses are made up of several rooms that sleep up to eight people. The rooms are separated by doors and contain a mixture of single, double, and bunkbeds. You will need to provide your own linens; however, it is easiest to bring a sleeping bag and pillow.
  • There are limited RV sites available that require additional fees. These spaces offer water filling and dump stations.  Please contact Camp Thunderbird directly to handle arrangements.

Am I required to stay at Camp Thunderbird?

No, we realize “roughing it” is not for everyone and we still want your participation.  If you wish to stay at a nearby hotel or a short-term rental in Mimbres, Pinos Altos, and Silver City, you are welcome to do so.  The nearest hotel/cabins are the Inn at Lake Roberts and the Lake Roberts Cabins, although this is not an endorsement of these establishments. Be aware the drive to Camp Thunderbird can be up to an hour away depending on where you choose to stay.  Note that you are still required to pay the full registration fee if you choose this option.

What about food – are meals provided?

The following meals are provided to registered attendees:

  • Thursday lunch and dinner
  • Friday breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Saturday breakfast

The water from any tap or spigot is potable. You may choose to bring snacks and other food if you wish.  The commercial kitchen in the lodge is available for use, however there is limited refrigeration space, so please do not bring food/snacks that require food to be kept cool/frozen.

The nearest grocery stores are in Bayard (Bayard Food Basket and Family Dollar), Santa Clara (Dollar General), Silver City (Walmart, Albertsons, and Food Basket), and Deming (Walmart and Albertsons). Limited groceries at high prices are available at the Lake Roberts General Store, which keeps daylight hours.

What kind of weather should I expect? What kind of gear and clothing should I bring?

October in the Gila National Forest is a pleasant time to visit. You’re likely to encounter sunshine and temperatures in the high between the high-60s to low-80s, and the lows in the high-20s to low-40s. It is best to come prepared to dress comfortably in layers to add and remove clothing as the temperature dictates.  Plan to spend a lot of your day in the great outdoors, thus comfortable sturdy shoes are a must.  As some session may take us along trails, plan to bring a small day-pack, a large water bottle, sunglasses, trail snacks, and a hat.  While the monsoon season has largely passed, it is best to also bring at rain jacket/windbreaker.  Other basic items to bring include your needed sleeping kit, towel(s), toiletries, sunscreen, lip balm, and handkerchief.

How do I get there?

Camp Thunderbird is located on New Mexico State Highway 35, just north of Mimbres, New Mexico.

3951 NM-35
Mimbres, NM 88049

By car, it is approximately 3 hours northwest of El Paso, Texas, four hours northeast of Tucson, Arizona, and four hours southwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The commercial airports in these cities are reachable by all national carriers and have car rental options.  

The Grant County Airport south of Hurley, New Mexico offers commercial flights via Advanced Air to Albuquerque (Sunport), Phoenix (Sky Harbor), and Los Angeles (Jet Center LA/Hawthorne). Note that all third-party transportation into Silver City for a car rental or a rideshare to Camp Thunderbird must be arranged in advance. There are no public transit options into town at the present time.

Other options include Amtrak or Greyhound to Deming, New Mexico, and arrange for third-party transportation into Deming for a car rental or a rideshare to Camp Thunderbird which must be arranged in advance. There is limited transportation from Deming via Corre Caminos (two trips per day) to Silver City: 575-388-3180 or toll-free at 866-934-3866.

Things to do post or pre CampingCon?

Gila National Forest

Catwalk Recreation Area

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

City of Rocks State Park

Silver City

Continental Divide Trail

Silver City Museum

Western New Mexico University Museum

Fort Bayard Historic Site