Survey: Wi-Fi a Key Factor for 68% of Campers

February 2, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

CalARVC logoEditor’s Note: The following story comes from the current issue of the CalARVC News, a publication of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC).

A recent survey conducted at took a look at the impact of Wi-Fi on a camper’s decision-making process.

Participants responded to the question, “With other factors equal, do you choose a campground based on whether they have Wi-Fi?” There were 354 campers who participated from Nov. 2 to Dec. 28, 2010.

Survey results:

  • 156: Yes, only if it is free.
  • 85: Yes – Always.
  • 35: Sometimes – when I have to do business.
  • 34: Rarely.
  • 32: No – I don’t travel with my computer.
  • 12: No – I don’t ever use Wi-Fi.

A significant majority (241 respondents or 68.1%) said they did choose a campground based on whether Wi-Fi was available. An additional 19.5% said they sometimes or rarely used Wi-Fi – indicating it was not a significant part of their decision making process.

Only 12.4% said “No.” They indicated they either didn’t ever use Wi-Fi or didn’t travel with their computer.

Campers seeking information about Wi-Fi (either for free or with a fee) will find it easy to find at They simply click on the “Add Amenities and Lifestlyle Options” link and select Wi-Fi from the Amenity List. This returns a list of parks that offer Wi-Fi.

If appropriate, each park’s listing includes information about Wi-Fi. If it is offered at no charge, that information is stated in the park’s description.

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CalARVC Revises State Convention Concept

December 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

CalARVC 2 logoThe California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) has shelved its plan for a Western association convention and opted instead for a state meeting, which will be held March 1-2 in the Anaheim area.

CalARVC is just one of several state associations re-evaluating the convention concept.

CalARVC Executive Director Debbie Sipe wrote about the plan in the recent issue of the CalARVC News newsletter.

She writes:

“With the decline in attendance at traditional convention and trade shows, a couple of years ago four Western state RV park and campground associations, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon and California teamed up to create “Rev Up In Reno,” a multi-state convention and trade show that was meant to increase attendance and get our members re-enthused.

“We thought it was a great idea! Well, I can’t say we fell flat on our faces, but it definitely brought us to our knees. So, in an effort to find new ways to deliver education to California RV parks and campgrounds, we went back to the drawing board and penciled out a format for “The CalARVC Road Show.”

“Unfortunately, with an unforeseen budget shortfall, the Road Shows had to be put on hold until the 2011-2012 membership year. Not to be discouraged, we forged ahead and now in the works is the “Education Forum” for California RV Parks & Campgrounds tentatively scheduled for early March 2011 in or near Anaheim.

“This won’t be your parents’ convention. This will be a mean and lean event. We have scheduled two days full of education with five hours set aside to eat and visit with vendors.

There will not be the formal trade show.We will create a market place with table tops rounds and the chance to interact with the vendors. They are as much experts in our industry as are the speakers and our peers. The theme of the event….’Get Your Smarts ON!”’

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California RV Parks See Strong Winter Season

November 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Several California RV parks and resorts that cater to snowbirds are reporting stronger advance bookings for the upcoming winter season than last year at this time, according to an informal survey of private park operators.

“Business is looking up,” Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) said in a news release. “Several of our affiliated parks in Southern California are reporting very strong bookings for the upcoming winter season.”

Of course, not every park is seeing an upswing in business. Campland on the Bay in San Diego and Rancho Los Coches RV Park in Lakeside both anticipate slight declines in their winter business compared to last year. But their experiences appear to be more the exception than the rule. Here’s what other park operators are seeing:

  • Happy Traveler RV Park in Palm Springs: “We’ve been booked (for the upcoming winter season) since June,” said park owner Diane Marantz. She said the park has 125 to 130 sites and that the same people come back year after year.
  • Fountain of Youth Spa in Niland: “Our rental units are booking up nicely,” said Jolene Wade, the park’s managing director, adding that the park’s winter RV site rental business is “on par or a little stronger than last year.”
  • Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina in Newport Beach: Andrew Theodorou, the park’s general manager, says he anticipates his winter bookings to be “flat to a slight increase over last year.”
  • Rancho Los Coches RV Park in Lakeside: This park’s winter business is expected to be down slightly from last year’s figures, according to park operator Bill Milligan.
  • Shadow Hills RV Resort in Indio: “It’s unbelievable how we’re doing right now,” park owner Paula Turner said of the 120-site park. “We’re already at 93 (advance reservations) for Jan. 15 and 108 for Feb. 15.” Turner added that she has seen the pace of reservations accelerate at her park even though she has raised her rates. She attributes the increase to new snowbirds who have never come to her park before as well as her park’s dog friendly atmosphere. “We are very dog friendly,” she said. “I would say about 50% of our guests have dogs.”
  • Sunland RV Resorts, which owns and operates RV resorts in Palm Desert, Hemet, San Diego, El Cajon and La Mesa: “We’re going to have as good of growth as we had last year and double digit growth at some of our facilities,” said Greg Sidoroff, operations manager for the La Jolla-based RV resort chain.
  • The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Course in Borrego Springs: Spaces at this 90-site RV resort are sold out for the January to March period with a waiting list of roughly 100 people, said Daniel Wright, the park’s general manager.
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CalARVC Lauds RV Holding Tank Discussion

August 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC), issued this press release following the Aug. 18 veto by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of AB 1824, a bill designed to limit the types of chemicals for RV holding tanks in that state. CalARVC supported the bill and some of its members lobbied for its signing by the governor.

It is with great disappointment that we report Gov. Schwarzenegger’s veto of AB 1824 last week. With only three nay votes in the entire legislature, we had hoped that the governor would see the truly bi-partisan support of the bill. While being a pro-environmental issue, this was also a pro-small business issue. We thought the combination of these two items, along with our members’ letter writing campaign, would convince the governor to sign the bill. However, the governor, backing his Green Chemistry Initiative Program, chose to veto the bill.

What is the Green Chemistry Initiative? Perhaps you will remember the legislation from several years ago banning certain chemicals in plastics, specifically the type of plastic in baby bottles. The scientists put forth evidence on both sides contradicting each other’s findings. During that same year, 11 other chemical related bills tried to make their way through the legislature. Eventually, the legislators and the governor threw their hands in the air, knowing that none of them had the collective education to understand the science behind each piece of legislation. As a result, the Governor created the Green Chemistry Initiative, a process by which chemical issues will now be thoroughly researched by the California Department of Toxic and Substance Control (CTSC). Their findings will create regulations in which to address each individual issue.

CalARVC submitted our holding tank issue to the Green Chemistry Initiative in November of 2007. However, because of our close work with CTSC, they told us up front that it will be years before our issue gets to the “top of the pile.” Knowing that CTSC would be tackling issues that affect the greatest populations first, we grappled with the decision to move forward with AB 1824. But with the support of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board, we decided it was worth the risk.

So, what’s next politically? Our Government Affairs Committee will be reviewing our next strategic steps in September. RVIA, FMCA and the major chemical companies have offered to meet and find mutually beneficial solutions. While chemical based treatment products are a major problem for septic and small municipal treatment facilities, it is not the only challenge facing campground operators in regards to wastewater output. Perhaps the combined efforts of everyone in the industry can find ways to work together. And even though the campground industry is a relatively small piece of this great industry, without successful campgrounds, all other parts of the industry will suffer.

We will chock this battle up to a loss, but are pleased about the amount of conversation we created around the country within and outside our industry. More, now than ever, awareness of the problems surrounding chemically based holding tank products is at its greatest point.

Thetford, the largest manufacturer of chemical based products, launched their Eco-Smart line in January of 2009. Dometic Corp. has permanently removed formaldehyde from the contents of its products. Just last month ELS, the largest owner of RV & manufactured housing communities, announced a brand new product—free of formaldehyde and other chemicals. Then there have been the longtime believers in bacterial or enzyme based products all along: Eco-Save, Heartland Labs, just to name a few. The tide is coming in and it is our sincere hope that these companies will choose to support fellow members of their industry rather than continue to sell problematic, environmental-unfriendly and hazardous products here in California and around the country. We ask campgrounds and aftermarket stores to only stock environmentally safe and septic tank friendly bacteria or enzyme based RV holding tank products.

We’ll take a lesson from Canada’s “Camp Green, Canada” campaign and create our own “Camp Green, California.” We will create a central point for consumers and campground operators to access resources. We’ll provide links to the best research we can find, the EPA alert and the Univ. of Arizona publications. We’ll provide a complete list of all products available and their contents.

So, yes, we lost this battle. But with the help of our members, consumers and the collective RV industry, we hope to win the war!

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CalARVC Regroups After Holding Tank Veto

August 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

CalARVC logoMuch to the surprise of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC), California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed bill AB 1824, which would have banned the use of certain holding tank deodorants utilized in waste facilities and toilets on boats and RVs.

The law’s intent was to protect campground owners, their guests and Californians at large from potential hazardous effects from products containing bronopol, dowicil, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, paraformadelhyde and paradichlorobenzene.

Debbie Sipe, CalARVC director, told that due to the large amount of chemical-related bills presented to the California legislature in recent years, the governor created the Green Chemistry Initiative. The initiative is a way to better address these bills through scientific research done by the Department of Toxics and Substance Control (DTSC).

The DTSC previously told CalARVC it would be taking on more broadly affected chemicals first before they addressed AB 1824, since it concerned a smaller niche market.

Sipe said CalARVC knew this was a risk when it submitted the bill for consideration, but still felt hopeful after it passed through all other levels of legislation with huge bipartisan support and only three nay votes.

“The governor vetoed it because he wants all of this to go through the Green Chemistry Initiative,” Sipe said. “We had lobbied the governor’s office and had letters to his office and we were hoping we could get through because we are a smaller niche.”

Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thetford Corp., a manufacturer of holding tank chemicals for both the marine and RV markets, Dometic Corp., Elkhart, Ind., a Thetford competitor, and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) opposed the bill – essentially urging the state of California to back up their reasons with science that proves these chemicals are fouling up septic systems.

In response to the veto, Kevin Phillips, Thetford’s vice president of sales and marketing, stated, “RVIA and other concerned industry organizations rallied together and helped to provide education and understanding regarding this bill. Without them, this veto, which preserves consumer choice in RV deodorants, may not have been achieved.”

CalARVC will hold a meeting to discuss its next steps and will be asking manufacturing companies to do their best to push and promote organic-based products.

“We failed in our efforts, but we hope the manufacturers will back the campground industry and help support us,” Sipe said.

CalARVC also plans to submit a list of green-based products as the recommended guide for consumers and will be adding an educational section to its website to educate people about environmentally-friendly products.

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CalARVC to Offer Free Sites to Returning Vets?

July 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

CalARVC logoThe board of directors of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) may undertake what it is calling “Operation Reconnect” to help U.S. armed forces upon their return from overseas deployment.

In today’s (July 14) issue of Coffee Talk & Updates, CalARVC outlines its proposal to help the vets returning from active duty.

According to the article, California has thousands of military personnel deployed overseas. When these personnel return home after a year or longer, it is often very difficult for them to “reintegrate” with their family. The military branches have even established a “reintegration” program for these men and women that includes counseling and special services. “Operation Reconnect” would utilize camping as the main tool to help these families reconnect. In addition to providing a valuable service for our military, this activity would also provide valuable elements to our association.soldier

What Operation Reconnect hopes to achieve:

For military personnel:

  • An opportunity to reconnect with their family through an outdoor experience on neutral turf.
  • An opportunity to travel with their families and make discoveries together.

For individual campgrounds:

  • A way to give back to their industry and community.
  • A way to develop new loyal customers and future revenues.
  • A way to gather participation and recognition from their community for a worthy cause.
  • An opportunity to reach the serviceperson’s extended family.
  • An opportunity to do something significant that only a team of parks can accomplish.

For CalARVC:

  • To establish a common goal that CalARVC parks can rally behind.
  • Create positive PR that highlights the value of camping. Both the association and individual parks will benefit.
  • Introduce camping to new families and children to the outdoors.

For Camp-California Marketing:

  • Increased traffic to as stories are posted about soldiers reconnecting with their families.
  • Increased awareness of Camp-California Marketing as the media’s “go to” source for California camping information.
  • Develop relationships with new advertisers and corporate sponsors in a mutually beneficial effort.

Operation: Reconnect – The basic program components:

Donations are solicited from campers and corporate sponsors. These funds are used to host military families at participating RV parks and campgrounds in a rental RV or a park model for a period of one week. The family can choose to stay at a participating park for a full week, or stay at a combination of parks along a route that totals 7 nights.

Procedurally, the newly formed 501(c)3 company will receive requests from qualified military personnel and then facilitate their request matching their needs to available campgrounds and resources.

While discounting or comping your sites is not required to participate, doing so will greatly extend the reach of the program and the contributions received to serve more military families.

CalARVC is surveying its membership to gauge their interest in the proposal.

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California Resort: From Disaster to Success

July 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the luxury cabins at Yosemite Pines RV Resort

One of the luxury cabins at Yosemite Pines RV Resort

When John Croce led a group of investors to purchase Yosemite Pines RV Resort near Groveland, Calif., from a bankruptcy court seven years ago, they had their work cut out for them.

“It was a disaster when we first showed up,” Croce said in a news release. “When we first started to look at this park, it was in foreclosure, receivership and bankruptcy all at the same time.”

To make matters worse, the campground’s previous owner had not only failed to maintain the property and stripped it of its physical assets, but he had double- and triple-booked campsites and cabins to people from across the country and overseas, while pocketing the cash from these bogus reservations.

Croce found out about the previous owner’s misdeeds when he took over the property mid-2003. “We had people showing up with confirmed reservations for cabins that didn’t exist,” Croce said, adding that he spent $15,000 to $16,000 booking campsites and hotel rooms in other facilities nearby so that visitors would not have to suffer the consequences of the previous owner’s misdeeds.

“I remember we had one lady who came from England. She had already paid for a cabin, which didn’t exist. We put her up in a bed and breakfast hotel,” Croce said.

But the problems didn’t stop there. The previous owner also left town owing just about every vendor and utility company money. “The trash people almost threw me out of their office when I first showed up,” Croce said. “The same thing happened with the propane company. They had all been burned by this guy. It took a lot of convincing to explain that we were different.”

But in time, Croce succeeded in doing just that.

They joined the chamber of commerce, sponsored the local parade and other community events and informed everyone in the business community that they had no connection with the previous owner. Croce and his team also set about making more than $2 million in improvements to the park, which included upgrading the electrical and sewer services, renovating the clubhouse, general store and bathhouses, and purchasing 28 park model cabins and eight yurts, which the park uses as rental accommodations for people who don’t have a tent or RV.

As a result of their efforts, Yosemite Pines has re-established positive working relationships with the businesses and service providers in Groveland and surrounding communities, and developed a successful business base that now includes more than 40 tour groups.

“We do a lot of business with the Dutch and the Germans. There are tour groups from Europe that love our park and send groups there all the time. We just had another group come in from India. They were all doctors and attorneys and they rented all of our park models for about a week.”

The park is generating so much business, in fact, that it now generates more online reservations than any other campground in California, according to the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC).

“Newport Dunes RV Resort beats us in terms of actual revenue generation, but we have the highest actual number of reservations,” Croce said, adding, “On a typical summer day, we probably have 1,000 people at Yosemite Pines.”

The park’s profitability has also increased, with revenue growing more than fivefold from $250,000 during its first year to $1.3 million or more, Croce said.

“We told members of the chamber of commerce that we could bring more people to the Groveland area than any other business in town, which we successfully did,” Croce said, adding that guests at his park patronize local businesses, providing a significant economic multiplier effect for the community as well as tens of thousands of dollars in tax revenue.

“We’re real pleased with the success John Croce has had in transforming Yosemite Pines into a true vacation destination,” said Debbie Sipe, CalARVC executive director.

Sipe added that the private campground industry is attracting growing numbers of investors who are purchasing parks and transforming them into attractive weekend retreats or vacation destinations California residents as well as visitors from outside the state. “Entrepreneurs and investors are increasingly realizing that the campground business is a viable and growing niche within the travel and tourism industry,” Sipe said, adding that the campground industry has been the most resilient segment of the tourism business during the recession.

For more information about Yosemite Pines RV Resort, contact John Croce at (714) 756-2483 or visit his website at

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RVIA & Dometic Oppose California Legislation

July 1, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

More opposition has emerged to AB 1824, a controversial California bill that would ban the use of holding tank products containing six specific chemicals – bronopol, dowicil, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, paraformaldehyde and paradichlorobenzene.

To date, Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thetford Corp., a manufacturer of holding tank chemicals for both the marine and RV markets, had been the only vocal opponent to the proposed legislation.

Now, Dometic Corp., Elkhart, Ind., a Thetford competitor, would specifically like the inclusion of bronopol pulled from the bill, and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has stepped up to oppose the bill in its entirety.

RVIA’s position is apparently similar to that of Thetford’s in that both are asking the state of California for better science – more proof – that these chemicals are fouling up septic systems in the state. Thetford contends that use patterns – the fact that many people often dump holding tanks in a short period of time – is a more serious root cause of septic system problems.

“We do not feel that we have been shown any science that shows that the six chemicals that are being banned are going to address the problem,” said Diane Farrell, RVIA vice president of government affairs. “It seems like a remedy and yet we have not seen the right data pointing us to the problem at hand. California is a leader in the green movement, and one of the premises of that is to get chemicals into the hands of the scientists and this seems to be avoiding that process.”

The bill is moving swiftly, having passed out of both the Senate Toxics and Environmental Quality and Appropriations committees in the last two weeks. Next it goes to the full Senate and then, if it passes, to the California governor’s desk for a signature. Estimates are that that could happen by August or September at the latest.

Meanwhile, one of the most ardent proponents of the bill, the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC), is unswayed by RVIA’s opposition and Dometic’s request to pull bronopol from the bill.

“Dometic has put a letter in opposition suggesting that bronopol be pulled from the bill and that is when we had to dig deeper into the science,” explained Debbie Sipe, executive director for CalARVC.

According to Sipe, the California Department of Toxics and Substance Control has looked into this question, but is coming up with inconclusive results. So, CalARVC will continue to support the bill as it stands.

“Fundamentally all chemicals, even green chemicals, have a risk associated with them,” explained Ed McKiernan, Dometic director of development for product sanitation at Dometic’s plant in Big Prairie, Ohio. “When you ban chemicals and just say ‘this is banned,’ you don’t know what all the consequences could be. In the case of this law, one of my biggest fears is that it is going to cause more difficulty and more harm to campground septic systems than if the law didn’t happen.”

In fact, McKiernan claims banning these chemicals, which come from a list assembled 10 years ago by Dr. Katherine Farrell-Poe, PhD, of the University of Arizona, will have virtually no positive effect on the environment.

“The level of bronopol that is used in a 40-gallon tank will virtually have no impact on a septic system based on studies that have been done at sewage treatment plants,” McKiernan explained. “At the time the list was put together it was thought that bronopol was another name for formaldehyde, and it’s not. There has been a lot of research done and it is clearly a different product. Bronopol is a good chemical because it is cost-effective, does a good job of odor control at high temperatures and has very minimal environmental impact.”

McKiernan said RV owners can – and often do – use alternative products that contain ammonium compounds, calcium nitrates or enzymes/bacteriological kinds of additives.

“The difficulty with those three alternatives is there are issues with biodegradability and odor control,” he said. “Nitrates are not removed when they go to the septic tank. They go into the leach field. You are going to be adding more nitrates and causing a bigger problem for the environment.”

Some of the greener products generally don’t work at high temperatures, according to McKiernan, and in the state of California where high temperatures are the norm, he maintained, fighting bad odors could become a way of life for the RV enthusiast.

When you take away products containing bronopol, McKiernan maintained, RV owners will likely start using homemade concoctions containing things like Drano or bleach, which kill all the bacteria in a septic system. “This will have a very negative environmental effect,” he said.

“We want to do the right thing environmentally, but we want to do the right thing by giving the RV owner products that work in high temperatures,” McKiernan added.

McKiernan would like to see California do an in-depth study on bronopol to gain a clearer understanding before passing the bill as it stands.

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California Bill Revives Old Formaldehyde Debate

May 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

CalARVC logoThe California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) has taken an aggressive stance in support of state legislation banning the sale of RV and marine holding tank products containing six chemicals – most notably formaldehyde — on the premise that these substances threaten ground water quality.

That bill (AB 1824) unanimously (73-0) passed out of the full Assembly in mid-May and went to the Senate Toxics and Environmental Quality Committee for a hearing sometime in June.

“This means it is one more hurdle in the process,” remarked CalARVC Executive Director Debbie Sipe, who has been outspoken in advocating the proposed holding tank chemical ban and feels the bill has a good chance of moving through the Senate Appropriations Committee, then the full Senate and, finally, across the California Governor’s desk by August or September.

Debbie Sipe, CalARVC executive director

Debbie Sipe, CalARVC executive director

“We’ve got some strategies to get more support for the bill, but we are not disclosing all of that right now,” Sipe told RVBusiness.

“Toxic chemicals, like those used in many common RV toilet additives, kill the natural bio-organisms and cause the septic systems to fail, causing sewage to seep into surrounding soil and groundwater,” CalTIA legislative advocate Teresa Cooke wrote in a letter to Felipe Fuentes, chairman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. “AB 1824 will help keep the state’s groundwater clean, and benefit hundreds of small businesses throughout the state, potentially saving them tens of thousands of dollars that would otherwise be spent on repairing or replacing their parks’ septic systems.”

Nineteen chemicals already are banned in state regulations. “AB 1824 will simply clarify that six additional chemicals cannot be used in RV toilet additives for the same reasons as the 19 currently banned,” Cooke said.

Taking a vocal position against the bill is Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thetford Corp., which markets a complete range of RV and marine sanitation products from toilets to waste evacuation systems to holding tank additives, including some affected by the potential ban and some not targeted by California legislation – including an array of third-party-certified, formaldehyde-free Eco-Smart holding tank deodorants and additives.

Kevin Phillips, Thetford. Corp.

Kevin Phillips, Thetford. Corp.

Thetford’s contention is that California’s proposed law is a bit overzealous with regard to formaldehyde-type products and doesn’t take into account some of the general habits of the camping public and the functionality of many septic systems. And the company has been trying to get that message across.

“We are trying to get a broader discussion going about this,” Kevin Phillips, vice president of sales and marketing, told RVBusiness in a recent interview. “This might move very quickly through the legislative process in California and miss the key issues. CalARVC has been dealing with issues around their sanitation systems for years. This goes back decades that they’ve been having struggles with their legislative entities about their septic systems and their wastewater treatment plants.

“From time to time, we’ve been providing them with data, information, resources, and education, trying to help them navigate that problem,” Phillips added. “We are very sympathetic to the issues California campgrounds are facing. We just don’t think the bill they put in place is going to solve those problems.”

The bill puts the focus on deodorants and holding tank additives, and Phillips maintains that that’s not the main issue. “You’re out for a holiday weekend and everybody leaves Memorial Day Monday and they all dump at once,” he explained. “So you get a very large volume of very highly concentrated waste entering the system. These systems are very sensitive to both the organic load and the volume of waste. They also have to be properly maintained. They have to be properly sized, the waste has to be metered in so that it’s not hitting all at once in a short period of time, and you’ve got to monitor these systems.”

Thetford’s Mary Burrows, manager of chemical development, also doesn’t believe that the ban, as proposed, is the answer. “The products we are talking about and the two that are used most predominantly, formaldehyde and bronopol, are actually biodegradable,” she explained. “They don’t exist in a properly functioning system after a period of time.”

Burrows, for her part, suspects that the real issue concerns misuse.

“Eliminating deodorant is not looking at the real problem,” she said. “What they need to address, at least look at and make sure, is that their systems are sized and operated properly so we can verify what the problem is. Again, we need data. Right now there are just assumptions.”

Phillips, on the other hand, agrees that Thetford doesn’t have enough scientific evidence itself to point to the exact problems California campgrounds are facing. “That’s the part we find to be very short-sighted about pushing this bill through so quickly with this one approach,” he countered. “There’s been no data presented, there have been no studies, no analysis that we know of that say that the deodorant actually causes the problems in the systems in these campgrounds.

“What we have seen is some studies that say the septic systems aren’t working,” he added. “We know that people have been cited for that, even though the citations were later removed. But it’s about the outflow of the system, not what’s going into it. That’s what we are saying. This is kind of a rush to judgment, a rush to a conclusion that is a bit unseemly.”

Phillips, in summary, feels that California needs to do more homework and then work together to solve the problems campgrounds are facing. Just how far Thetford gets with that position, however, remains to be seen because Sipe and her allies in this legislative effort apparently aren’t backing off.

“We know there are additional issues with septic systems and that solids are a concern and we hope to be able to work with Thetford in the future,” said Sipe. “But when all is said and done, formaldehyde is a preservative and you don’t want that in a septic system. You don’t want a product that is eating up the natural bacteria in a septic system.”

Sipe says she’s well aware that, along with formaldehyde-based products, Thetford markets “green” holding tank deodorants and additives that are third-party certified as environmentally safe. “Thetford’s two green alternatives are awesome alternatives that folks are using,” she noted. “Camping World recently had a sale on both of these green Thetford products and Thetford’s traditional (formaldehyde) Aqua-Kem. “The Aqua-Kem shelf was mostly full while the green alternative shelf was half empty. There is already a natural movement toward the greener products by the consumer.”

Time will tell what occurs with the current legislation. But Sipe is already planning on life after the ban is passed. “When this bill passes,” she said, “our goal will be to put out huge amounts of education throughout the entire country that these products are not allowed in California.”

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CrossRoads to Donate SlingShot to CalARVC

April 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

CrossRoads RV SlingShot

CrossRoads RV SlingShot

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

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