Camp-California, the Camper’s Guide to California, which lists nearly 700 public and privately owned campgrounds across the Golden State, is now available for free in print and digital formats.
According to a press release, there are three ways to access the guide; view it online at Camp-California.com; download it from the iTunes or Google Play stores; request or pick up a print copy.
“It’s an app friendly, digital magazine,” said Susanne White, advertising manager for the California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (CalARVC), which produces the guide. “This camping and travel planning guide will live in your newsstand on your device if you want it to. You can flip through the magazine, and while connected to a network, access more content than the 80-page print version of the directory can hold.”
The digital version of the guide has links to a wealth of travel information as well videos of campgrounds and products or services of interest to camping enthusiasts.
The best part about the digital version is that you do not have to be connected. Just like the print version, you can flip through the pages at any time. Now it is simply a matter of choice. Find your perfect camping spot with either your favorite device or the traditional printed guide.
“The guide is a complete reference in and of itself,” White said. “It has locator maps so you can find the campground you’re looking for when you don’t have access to GPS or data. The guide provides all of the information you need, including descriptions of the parks.”
The cover of the camping guide also has a QR code that camping enthusiasts can scan for a chance to enter a sweepstakes for $1,000 worth of free camping. The sweepstakes winner will be announced in December and will be featured in the 2015 edition of the camping guide.
White said 200,000 print versions of the camping guide are being distributed to consumers free of charge through California Welcome Centers and Camping World stores throughout California as well as campgrounds, RV parks and resorts that are affiliated with California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds.
Anderson’s Brochure Service is also distributing the guide at camping and RV shows across the Midwest and East Coast.
Camp-California, the Camper’s Guide to California is a four-color glossy magazine that lists more than campgrounds and RV resorts throughout the Golden State. It is considered a critical travel planning resource for camping and RVing enthusiasts with information not only on RV and tent sites, but a wide variety of rental accommodations, including tent cabins, yurts, teepees, covered wagons and even motels.
It complements Camp-California.com, the travel planning website of the California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, which the association has improved in recent years with more detailed travel planning sections, including a section that lists campgrounds, RV parks and resorts that can accommodate RVs over 40 feet in length. Additional sections provide information on driver’s license requirements and road restrictions involving 40-foot plus RVs.
The California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) announced it has renewed its partnership for 2015 with Southeast Publications, a provider of Guest Guides for RV properties in the United States and Canada.
According to a press release, Southeast Publications will again bring its marketing and sales expertise to augment CalARVC’s efforts with its annual membership recruiting, sales and marketing of its Camp-California! products.
“Through a concerted sales effort by Southeast Publications on the 2014 edition of the Guide, CalARVC was able to greatly improve our efforts in the State,” said CalARVC Executive Director Debbie Sipe. “With their sales force in the field, our message was carried to more of our member parks, increasing our reach and sales to new members not only in California, but as far away as Canada. CalARVC is excited to enter into this agreement for next year.”
“While Southeast Publications’ legacy has been the industry leader in producing the millions of Guest Guides each year for RV properties across the nation, our company is honored to work with CalARVC again,” said Southeast Publications CEO Wally Warrick. “CalARVC truly offers the campers’ guide to California with its Camp-California! Marketing Program including www.camp-california.com, a comprehensive digital package connecting RV properties and businesses with the elusive RVer.”
Leisure Interactive LLC (LI), a leading outdoor recreation reservation and property management software as a service provider, announced it would not seek to extend its strategic alliance agreement with the California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (CalARVC) effective Aug. 1, 2013.
LI and CalARVC entered into the agreement in August, 2002, with the goal of delivering value for CalARVC members and helping to advance technology in the campground and RV Park sector, according to an LI news release. In addition to discounts and enhanced exposure for CalARVC members, LI provided the association with free reservation software and hosting for Camp-California.com.
In October 2007, LI announced significant strategic changes with the introduction of Hercules – a comprehensive suite of software to manage reservations and front office operations. This continued strategic focus has ultimately led to the decision to end the alliance. LI will continue to expand its outreach to commercial and public park operators and outfitters.
“We consider our alliance with CalARVC very successful and it has provided both organizations with a variety of benefits,” said Gary Pace, president and CEO of LI. “While we will not have a formal alliance or working relationship with our colleagues and friends at CalARVC, we are committed to continuing to provide CalARVC members with what we think is the best campground management software in the industry. Plus, we remain supportive and invested in many of the initiatives of CalARVC. This decision is purely about focusing our resources on the continued build-out of our software for individual operators and outdoor recreation systems.“
“Since inception of the agreement in August 2002, CalARVC and LI have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship,” according to Debbie Sipe, executive director of CalARVC. “We have learned a lot from each other over the years and LI and CalARVC remain committed to enhancing the camping lifestyle in California. It is likely we will find our organizations working side-by-side in the future.”
LI has offered to provide the same level of service for CalARVC on a month-to-month basis to help the association with a smooth transition to a new service provider. Benefits to members remain unchanged.
The California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) has re-examined its stance on state conventions. Despite the desire and interest of CalARVC’s staff and board, a decision was made to put CalARVC’s convention on a hiatus. The reason is waning attendance, according to the association in this week’s edition of “Wednesday Morning Coffee Talk & Updates.”
CalARVC noted, “The financial and resource commitment to produce a convention is well over $100,000. Documented attendance at CalARVC and other industry conventions has been in a steady decline over the past six years. The board and staff decided that it could not risk the money to finance such a venture. You entrust us to spend your dues dollars wisely. Producing a convention is no longer a wise use of your membership dues.
“The question then becomes, ‘How do we provide education and networking opportunities for our members?’ ‘How do we connect the essential services of the industry’s suppliers with our member campgrounds?’ We are looking for a select group of CalARVC members and suppliers to help us figure out a new delivery model for these services. Our members have always brought home valuable information and insights from the convention. They have always connected and built relationships with each other and vendors. In this day and age of the Internet, smart phones and social media, fewer and fewer people are willing to take time off of work and invest in off-site meetings….even when they know and admit it was always worth the time and investment in the past.”
Veteran RV park and campground owner/consultant John Imler is finally stepping away after nearly 40 years in the business.
According to a report by Woodall’s Campground Management, as of June 1 Imler will discontinue his web page, www.imlerconsulting.com, and the five books listed on the site will be out of publication.
Imler and his wife, Ruth, developed their first RV park, Campers Inn, in Dunnigan, Calif., starting in May 1974 and in 1975 attended as members the very first state convention of the California Travel Parks Association (CTPA).
While the Imlers added Dunnigan Mobile Home Park in 1978, John later served as president of CTPA (now CalARVC) and as a board member of the National Campground Owners Association (NCOA), subsequently renamed the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). He also was on the board of regents of the National School of RV Park & Campground Management.
Although the Imlers sold their RV and mobile home parks in 1985, they remained active in the industry. Imler authored five books dealing with the RV park industry, including “The RV Park Business” and “Designing RV Parks & Resorts for the 21st Century.” The texts were widely read and followed throughout the industry.
“Ruth and I have enjoyed our years of working in this great industry but those years have finally come to a complete close. This is a decision we have been putting off, since during those years we have made many friends and trust that we have been of help and service to some.
“We continue to wish you many joys as you continue in your service to the RV park industry.”
Since 2009, Imler has focused his attention on his spiritual side, writing a book titled “It’s Never Too Late” and writing a regular blog on the topic.
Campgrounds and RV parks in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills are finding it pays to be green, including Auburn Gold Country RV Resort in Auburn.
According to a press release, the 66-site park, which also has three rental cabins and a small tent section, just completed installation of $500,000 solar power system.
“It’s a 105 kilowatt system that covers about 60% of our electrical needs,” said park owner John Grant.
Grant received a federal grant for the project, which covered $150,000, or 30% of the cost. He financed the remaining $350,000 with a 6% loan from Placer County.
“We’re a big rig park and those big RVs draw lots of power,” Grant said. “But the savings from generating our own solar power will offset what we have to pay in loans, so we’ll break even.”
Grant added that he’ll receive additional tax and depreciation savings as a result of installing the solar power system, which includes 444 panels on a 1.5-acre section of his park.
The solar system will also offset a considerable amount of carbon emissions each year, including 212,000 pounds of carbon dioxide; 145 pounds of NOX, a leading cause of smog; 36 pounds of S02, a leading cause of acid rain; and 42 pounds of particulates.
“We’re able to achieve these carbon pollution offsets because the power we consume with the solar system doesn’t have to be generated elsewhere,” Grant said.
Auburn Gold Country RV Resort is not the only privately owned RV resort in the Sierra foothills to have solar power. Other facilities include:
• Angels Camp RV & Camping Resort in Calaveras County installed a solar energy system three years ago.
• Campland on the Bay in San Diego invested in water saving showerheads and recycle bins. The park also encourages its employees to bicycle across the park as much as possible.
• Cottonwood Cove Resort and Marina on Lake Mohave, which is owned and operated by Forever Resorts, plans to build the nation’s first ever LEED certified floating green building this year. The floating eco-friendly structure will house boat rental and servicing operations.
• Coyote Valley RV Resort in Morgan Hill has invested in native, drought tolerant plants.
• Far Horizons 49’er Village RV Resort in Plymouth opened a new swimming pool complex three years ago that includes energy efficient pumps. Additionally, the park invested about $25,000 to develop a new source for raw water for resort irrigation needs.
• Pinewood Cove at Trinity Center, a 100-site campground uses only environmentally friendly cleaning products as well as energy and water saving devices, such as fluorescent light bulbs and low-flow shower heads
• Pleasure Cove Marina at Lake Berryessa, also managed by Forever Resorts, uses fluorescent light bulbs and low-flow shower heads at the marina’s campground.
• Vineyard RV Park in Vacaville, a 119-site park, has invested in water and energy saving fixtures after requesting water and power audits from its local utilities.
The California RV Dealers Association (CalRVDA) testified this week against a bill that would have put a “sunset date” on the state’s New Motor Vehicle Board, which would have effectively abolished the board.
According to a press release, after lobbying legislators over the past two weeks and testimony by the California New Car Dealers Association, the state’s motorcycle dealers association and CalRVDA, the bill was denied passage by the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Policy Committee.
CalRVDA was the driving force behind placing the RV industry (dealers and manufacturers) into the state board’s jurisdiction. RV dealers wanted to have their disputes with manufacturers adjudicated at an in-state forum and by knowledgeable staff and law judges instead of hiring attorneys and pursuing their claims in various superior courts throughout California.
“CalRVDA’s mission is to represent, enhance, and protect RV dealerships and maintaining a visible presence in the Capitol is a significant part of enabling us to achieve that mission,” said CalRVDA Executive Director Skip Daum.
The California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) will once again be partnering with other sectors of the tourism industry to create awareness of the enormous impact tourism has in California.
According to this week’s edition of CalARVC’s “Wednesday Morning Coffee Talk & Updates,” CalARVC members are being encouraged to gather on the afternoon of Feb. 22 beginning with lunch with CalARVC’s lobbyists. Next, members will join Visit California for a Policy Forum, providing legislative and policy updates on travel issues.
Then CalARVC members are encouraged to visit their legislators. This is their chance to showcase their business and industry. The day will conclude with a Legislative Reception and Premier of “Dreamland,” an inspirational new film chronicling a day in the life of innovative “True Californians.” This documentary will air on PBS stations throughout the U.S. and key international markets.
On other CalARVC news, the board is working on plans for the 2013 convention. Previously, the board decided to not hold a convention this year, opting to support ARVC’s annual Outdoor and Hospitality Conference slated for Nov. 28-30 in Las vegas.
Later this spring, CalARVC will hold its annual business meeting in conjunction with a CalARVC board meeting.
OutdoorAfro.com founder Rue Mapp, her three children and nephew took their first RV trip Aug. 12-14 at the Ponderosa RV Resort in Northern California.
What a trip for the 39-year-old community servant, who’s raising awareness of the beauty of the outdoors to the nation’s African-Americans via her website and outdoor activities promoted on it.
Promoting the outdoors to African-Americans has become her life goal, and she’s working hand-in-hand with the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) to make this happen. The August trip was the first of four she plans to showcase camping in California in each of the four seasons and to show that RVing can be a year-round experience.
“My kids have been camping since the womb but this is the first time we ever tried RV camping and stayed in an RV park,” she told Woodall’s Campground Management.
Enter American River Sales in Auburn, which donated a tear-drop trailer rental for the weekend. Mapp took her family gold panning, visited the local Gold Discovery Museum and even took her teenage son Seth river rafting. Throughout the weekend, she Tweeted, uploaded photos to Facebook and blogged about the family’s experiences. All told, her social media contacts exceed 7,000 each month and is growing.
Mapp found at Ponderosa RV Resort “an instant sense of community among fellow campers, a lot of people enjoying this balance between their creature comforts and exploring nature.”
In essence, this is precisely what she is trying to show to the nation’s black community, which underuses outdoor recreation sites like RV parks and campgrounds. She was not surprised that she and her family were the only black campers at Ponderosa all weekend, but she discovered a pleasant surprise during her weekend.
CrossRoads RV, Topeka, Ind., will provide the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) with a 2011 Slingshot RV travel trailer to be awarded as a grand prize during the California State Fair in a sweepstakes competition designed to promote camping and RVing.
CalARVC Executive Director Debbie Sipe and CrossRoads RV President Mark Lucas announced the promotion recently during the association’s annual convention and tradeshow in Reno, Nev.
“I can’t tell you how excited we are to have a partnership with CrossRoads RV,” Sipe said. “They understand the importance of promoting RV and camping options in California. Our members and the camping public will benefit from this partnership for years to come.”
Lucas said he, too, is excited about the promotion. “The California State Fair is a great opportunity to showcase the family friendly activities available throughout the state and we’re thrilled to have our Slingshot as the grand prize,” he said “Just as camping is accessible to all types of families, this trailer, the lightest in the industry, can be towed by all types of vehicles. There is no need for a special heavy-duty truck because fuel-efficient minivans, small SUVs and crossovers are the perfect tow vehicle for this unit.”
The Slingshot travel trailer to be awarded at the California State Fair will be provided by Happy Daze RV’s in Sacramento. “We think this is a great opportunity. RVing is about spending time with family. It’s also a great way to see California,” said Ronnie Radigan, general sales manager for Happy Daze RV’s.
The CrossRoads Slingshot and other RVs will be on display along with other camping equipment July 24-27 at the California State Fair at Cal Expo in Sacramento.
Campgrounds, RV parks and resorts and travel destinations will also be featured at the fair, which will include a 2,500-square-foot display that shows people how they can camp in different parts of the state. “We’ll have hands on activities, such as geocaching, demonstrations on how to set up a tent and use a Coleman stove as well as classic outdoor games, such as sack races and water balloon tosses,” Sipe said.
Monthly drawings are already being held to determine the semifinalists who will compete for the Slingshot travel travel in the drawing . Other prizes, including free camping opportunities and camping equipment, will also be awarded to contest participants.
For a list of campgrounds and RV parks that are participating in the RVing Rewards! Scratcher Program as well as other rules and restrictions governing this promotion, please visit www.Camp-California.com.
The occupancy at private RV parks and campgrounds in California in 2009 was 57.8% or down 0.6% from 2008, according to a study by the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC).
The 2009 occupancy rate was down 2.7% from 2007 and down 4.9% from 2006, making 2009 the lowest occupancy for the past 10 years, CalARVC noted in its current Wednesday Morning Coffee Talk & Updates e-newsletter.
Occupancy was highest in 2005 at 63.8%, followed by 2001 at 63.5%. Statewide occupancy at 57.8% is 0.6% less than the average for the past 20 years. This slip in occupancy is widely attributed to continued high fuel prices and a slumped economy that resulted in many job losses and home foreclosures.
Occupancy decreased in eight regions, with San Francisco showing a 15.4% decline. Monthly regional averages vary in accuracy depending upon which CalARVC members respond in any month resulting in a margin of error of plus or minus two to five percentage points. The error of margin for the statewide averages is one to two percentage points.
Average statewide occupancy increased over last year in six months, and decreased six months resulting in an overall decrease of approximately a half percentage point.
Shane Ott, director of campground relations for Thor Industries Inc., has been confirmed as a keynote speaker for the ReV Up in Reno Western Region Convention and Trade Show April 19-21 in Reno, Nev. The event will be held in John Ascuaga’s Nugget Resort and Casino.
The second annual event is sponsored by the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) and other western state campground associations.
Prior to joining Thor this past year, Ott was the president and COO of Kampgrounds of America Inc.
Ott’s wide breath of experience in both the campground and RV industries affords him a unique perspective on the past, present and future of RV Parks and campgrounds in the West.
He will address current trends in the RV industry and how these will drive business to – or away from – RV parks and campgrounds.
Park operators must not allow their recreational park trailers or ”park models” to be used as full-time residences. And they should also beware of the low-cost FEMA trailers, many of which have damage and mold problems in addition to failing to comply with established building codes.
Those were the two primary warnings issued Jan. 13 by Bill Garpow, executive director of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), during CalARVC’s Education Day at Newport Dunes Waterfront RV Resort and Marina.
While Garpow had previously warned park operators not to allow their guests to use park trailers as full-time residences, he said the reminder is needed because the economic downturn has prompted some people who have lost their homes to relocate to campgrounds and RV parks — at least temporarily.
”The problem with it is that, in many cases, the local unit of government is aware of the hardship that is going on with regard to families and foreclosures and, as such, they may be inclined to ignore the improper use of a campground as a place of residence,” Garpow said.
Trouble is, when guests are allowed to establish a residence within a park, it can be very difficult to remove them. ”You’re setting yourself up to become a trailer camp if you allow people to live full-time at your park,” Garpow said.
Using RV or park model sites for full-time residents can also reduce the value of the park, while making it less appealing to transient RVers or destination campers looking for a true recreational vacation experience, Garpow said.
While long-term renters seeking a form of low-cost housing provide income stability, they don’t mix with transient travelers or participants in the RV lifestyle, Garpow said. Sometimes, he added, long-term renters can ”develop an attitude” toward visitors who are just passing through. This changes the very nature of the park and the true RV customers may seek another location.
”The only way I would even consider allowing full-time residency within a park would be if you worked with your city or county and had them pass an emergency housing ordinance that allowed you to use your park for this purpose,” Garpow said. ”But even then it should only be for a limited amount of time so that the local unit of government could also step in and help you move those people out after the housing emergency was over. I would also try to separate the two types of tenants, as they just don’t mix well.”
The California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) has added the GuestRated review function to Camp-California.com, which gives consumers the ability to rate their camping experience, according to a news release.
“Consumers can now rate private campgrounds and RV parks throughout California using a survey tool that coverts their responses to letter grades,” said Debbie Sipe, executive director of the Auburn-based CalARVC, which manages Camp-California.com.
Private parks can be rated on their service quality, property condition, campsites and restrooms. “Overall grades are assigned to each park that has been surveyed,” Sipe said, adding that the number of surveys completed for each park is also displayed.
Sipe said the rating system, developed by Murrieta, Calif.-based GuestRated.com, was added to Camp-California.com this summer in response to consumer demand for an independent rating system for private parks throughout the Golden State.
“The letter grade system is a powerful marketing tool for parks with high scores since Camp-California also offers consumers the ability to sort parks by their ratings,” Sipe said. “Of course, it also provides an incentive for parks with lower grades to address areas of consumer concern if they want to remain competitive with their peers in the industry.”
Consumers can review campgrounds and RV parks they have visited by clicking on the “reviews” tab, which appears at the top of the screen after they click to see detailed information about the private park of interest to them. The rating form provided by GuestRated.com will then appear on the screen.
Sipe said more than 3,200 surveys have been completed for roughly half of the campgrounds and RV parks listed on Camp-California.com and those numbers will increase significantly as word spreads about the new ratings function.
The ratings capability was one of several upgrades made to Camp-California.com this summer by Orange, Calif.-based Friend Communications Inc., which manages and hosts for CalARVC.
Other improvements include the creation of subdomains on the site, which make it possible for consumers to bookmark park listings for future reference. The computer coding in URLs throughout the site has also been replaced with recognizable keywords to make it easier for consumers to find parks listed on Camp-California.com when they conduct Google searches or searches with other Internet search engines.
Parks listed on Camp-California.com can also be sorted by location and by the amenities or recreational activities they provide. They can also be listed alphabetically or by their ratings.
“We are continually fine tuning Camp-California.com to make it more user friendly and to give consumers the information they need as quickly as possible,” Sipe said.
For additional commentary, statistics and sources on the latest camping trends in campgrounds, RV parks and resorts in California or for leads on parks in your news coverage area, contact Sipe at (530) 885-1624 or (530) 906-4592 (cell).
Rev Up in Reno, an event that brought together some 200 campgrounds owners and operators from several western states in the spring, will return April 19-21, 2010, at John Ascuaga’s Nugget hotel and casino in Reno, Nev.
The California Associaiton of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) was the lead organizer for the first-time effort and announced the dates this week.
“The hotel is great and the energy among 200 delegates from across the Western States is an atmosphere not to be missed,” CalARVC stated in its current Coffee Talk & Updates e-newsletter.
More details will follow.