The following is a position statement by National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) President Paul Bambei on the acceptance of public parks as non-voting members.
The purpose of this email is to clarify ARVC’s position on its acceptance of public parks as non-voting members.
During a Special Called Board meeting that took place on 6/7/11, permission was granted to pursue a marketing campaign targeted at all non member parks.
The motion that was approved, as excerpted from the minutes of this 6/7 Board meeting that was shared with all BOD members afterwards, read as follows: “5. Request Board approval for remainder of monies from VA building sale (after $300k investment sic,PB) to be allocated with Excom approval for two- phase direct mail membership drive: 1. In states with no formal campground membership organization; 2. Will also work with existing state partnerships on a second direct mail piece to increase memberships in affiliated states and co-operating states or in non affiliated states that may have a formal campground membership organization.
A motion was made to approve the remainder of the monies from the VA building sale to be used as operational funds for the association for 2011. It was seconded and passed.”
In essence, permission was granted to market to all non member parks. There was no distinction between publics and privates, because ARVC Bylaws have for many years welcomed public parks, ie Under Section 2, Subsection D. Non Voting Membership: “Public Sector Member shall be a public agency operating a campground, RV park or cabin facility on the federal, state or local level.”
This was further reinforced in a 1994 Memorandum of Agreement (to see the agreement click here) between ARVC and the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD), the same organization we engaged with this past summer when they wanted to take part in the non member free trial. Clearly, the former Chairman of ARVC, Conrad Dumke from Florida, understood the importance of collaboration over dissention back in 1994 and acted to solidify the two organizations.
Given all the above, ARVC has a bound duty to accept public parks as non voting members and for the good of the camping consumer, wants to live by the principles established in that MOA written 17 years ago, the ARVC bylaws, and the Board approval granted 6/7/11.
Today, there are several states enjoying the fruits of collaboration. California, Colorado, Maine, Virginia, and Maryland are among them. Just this past weekend, Mari Garland, co-President of the Colorado Association (CCLOA) and owner of Junction West Campground, enjoyed wonderful overflow business referred by her nearby state parks during a huge wine festival in her home city of Grand Junction, CO, because she decided to work with, not against, the public parks in her state.
However, we know 50 years of poor relations in other states might take time to heal and doesn’t happen overnight, if ever. For this reason, we have stated over and over, if your state chooses not to collaborate with public parks, we at ARVC will respect that wish. We will not interfere by inviting public parks as direct members if you are an Affiliated State and do not wish to accept publics, and we will stay out of your business on this sensitive issue. To date, we have received such requests from Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, New York, and Florida. If you wish to be added to this list, please let us know and we will respect your decision totally.
I hope this clarifies ARVC’s long-standing position. Regardless of your state’s provincial position, what matters most is that we continue to have clear and positive communication on this, and all issues facing our industry.
I look forward to a continued working relationship, communicating always, so that our industry and our Association moves forward for the benefit of all its members.
And now, a final word from ARVC Chairman, David L. Berg:
The private park just up the street that belongs to your state association and/or ARVC is also in direct competition with you, yet there are no issues of them paying dues to your state or national association. Why? Because we are all in the same business, camping. Some private parks have lots of amenities, and some have few, but there is a customer for every type of park. Because you do what you have to do to make your park the very best it can be, and advertise wisely and promote camping and your park. Your goal is filling your sites with happy campers.
If we ignore public parks they are not going to go away, you can be certain of that. Yet, if we continue to allow them in our national association as we have for so many years, we can work together whenever possible, and not only collaborate on promotion of camping, but we can show them where they need to raise their rates to cover all expenses.
This is becoming much easier with the times we are in, in fact, in Rhode Island, they have raised their rates twice in the last two years and are now above that of many private parks due to state budgets being slashed. A site in Rhode Island public parks is now $35 a night plus the $10 booking fee for the first night total cost of $45 for a non resident, and $35 for every night thereafter, and that is for a site with no services! Now that is good for private campgrounds!
States like Maine and others have had all of their state parks as members of their state association for many years. Those parks pay the same exact dues as all of the private parks do. That has provided a great boost for our dues income as well as improving our working relationship. We have partnered on projects and have even had free passes to state park recreations areas (non camping areas) given to all of our private member parks to give to our customers to save them entrance fees.
This working relationship has been a win win situation for us both. We got past the days of old, set aside our differences, and realized that working together for the common goal of promoting camping was good for everybody involved.