Editor’s Note: Michigan-based General RV donated a 32-foot Damon Motor Coach Class A motorhome to help the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) promote its Passport to Recreation program to rescue the state’s parks. The RV traveled throughout the state this summer to promote the program. Excerpts from a report on the program appear below. To read the full report click here.
In April 2010, the Recreation Passport legislation was passed, establishing a new funding model for state parks and recreation areas, as well as state forest campgrounds and pathways, historic and cultural resources, while also establishing a grant program for community recreation agencies.
For the first year of the campaign, the DNRE goal is for 50% of Michigan motorists to check “YES!” for the Recreation Passport on their license plate renewal form. Therefore it was imperative to reach out to more than just current park supporters. The “Road to Recreation” RV tour was developed to help reach Michigan motorists, to educate them about the Recreation Passport and to encourage them to purchase theirs.
For three months, drivers Eliot and Naomi Haycock (with support from many DNRE staffers) toured Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, sharing information about the Recreation Passport and encouraging people to check “YES!” for every vehicle, every year.
The RV tour covered 3,200-plus miles and introduced hundreds of thousands of people to the Recreation Passport at different events and locations.
About the RV
General RV generously donated the RV used throughout the tour. The 32-foot Class-A Damon was fully equipped with an extendable living area, full bathroom, private bedroom, full kitchen, and a large flat-screen television.
About the RV Graphic Wrap
The RV was wrapped in vinyl from front to back with dramatic images of outdoor experiences covering every side of the vehicle. The wrap, applied by TruckSkin of Traverse City, portrayed four seasons of outdoor recreation, with many of the photos being the same images used in the Recreation Passport promotional materials. This wrap was kindly paid for by Merrell, which was just part of their generous donation.
About the Freebies
Merrell provided apparel for the drivers, freebies to give away at events, bean bag toss games, and $100 gift certificates for every 25 entries. In addition to the carabiners, keychains, and cozies from General RV and Merrell, many thanks go to Oreo and Outback Steakhouse for providing free cookies and promotional scratch-off cards. These added to the excitement of the tour and helped make the visitor experience more rewarding.
About the Haycocks
Eliot and Naomi Haycock are residents of Chassell, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. They have been married for 43 years, serving the residents of Michigan as state employees, and most recently as volunteers supporting the successful implementation of the Recreation Passport.
The Haycocks have been enjoying Michigan’s recreational opportunities for the last 30 years, and supporting DNRE efforts to encourage everyone to do the same for nearly a decade. The Haycocks served as campground hosts at Ft. Wilkins State Park for the last five years. As the RV drivers, they dedicated three months, and nearly 24 hours a day to the tour. Even when Eliot found himself in the emergency room after an incident at one of the events, he took the opportunity to tell his doctor about the Recreation Passport.