Editor’s Note: Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), issued the following letter to members on Thursday concerning the possibility of state parks joining the organization.
As an unexpected, but welcomed outcome of ARVC’s non-member mail campaign launched in mid-June, we have received several inquiries from state public parks that see the value of ARVC membership.
As a result of these discussions, I am pleased to announce the board of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD), which represents approximately 2,200 state parks and 7,800 recreation/natural areas in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, has voted to encourage each of its 51 state directors to join ARVC on a six-month trial basis. These state park directors will be making independent decisions to participate in the trial over the next few weeks, with the possibility of joining ARVC and the state associations at the trial’s end.
Per ARVC bylaws, public parks have been allowed to join ARVC for many years and we certainly welcome their participation. Please be advised all participating public parks will be admitted as non-voting status, again per our bylaws.
If certain states do not currently allow public parks as members of their association, we encourage them to consider doing so, as these public parks may also be desirous of joining not only ARVC, but their respective state association as well. This will be mutually beneficial to ARVC and the state associations for the following reasons:
• Growth: There is strength in numbers, both financial and political. Already, states like California, Maine, and Colorado have recognized the wisdom of welcoming public parks to their associations, as does ARVC nationally.
• Industry Unity: Working together as an industry for the good of all is not only outwardly beneficial in our dealings with the press, governmental officials, and consumers, it can also have far reaching benefits to you as a local private campground owner. The natural trails, rivers, lakes and woodlands available on these public park lands could become more accessible to private parks as a result of this relationship, expanding your own amenities, which in turn makes the camping experience more enjoyable for all. Alternatively, state parks generally do not have the pools, stores and infrastructure of our private parks, opening up the likelihood of referral business from them to you.
• Government Advocacy: Together, as a more unified industry, we will have a stronger voice in Washington and at the State Capitol level on matters that affect our common industry interests. Clearly, the “unfair competition” issue between private and public parks that existed in years past has been rapidly changing as well. Due to state government cutbacks, these parks have had to survive more as business entrepreneurs these past few years, incorporating new access fees and increasing their site rental rates in the process. This trend will surely continue, eventually erasing most, if not all, price gaps that may exist today.
Times are changing and ARVC, along with its represented and non represented States, look forward to joining hands in welcoming the NASPD into our fold.