ReV Up in Reno Campground Meeting Begins

April 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Carolyn Beteta

Carolyn Beteta

Opening day Monday (April 19) saw 110 California campground delegates get off to a good start at the “ReV Up in Reno” RV Park and Campground Western Convention and Trade Show at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nev.

The conference kicked off at noon with Carolyn Beteta, executive director of the California Travel and Tourism Commission and former chairwoman of the U.S. Travel Association, who spoke during the opening lunch.ReV up in Reno 2010 logo

“She did a phenomenal job,” said Debbie Sipe, executive director and CEO for the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC). “There was a lot of great information and two sets of seminars yesterday, followed by our annual meeting.”

The energy is up among those in attendance and everyone is looking forward to today’s events, according to Sipe.

“Today we start with an opening keynote address with Linda Profaizer, ARVC president and CEO, more seminars and then the trade show,” she said. “We’re just getting into the convention itself.”

Tonight there will be a presentation to award the California Stan Martin Award — the recipient of the award will remain unnamed until after the ceremony. The award is given to someone who has contributed greatly to the camping industry in the state of California, and for their overall commitment and passion for the industry.

“So far people are very excited and they are very pleased with the diversity of seminar offerings and the quality of speakers,” Sipe said. “We look forward to hearing from each of them.”

The conference concludes Wednesday.

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [Facebook] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

SlingShot to be Given Away at California Fair

April 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The SlingShot built by CrossRoads RV.

The SlingShot built by CrossRoads RV.

Continuing on its drive to get more campers camping, Camp-California Marketing will showcase camping and RVing to over 160,000 attendees at this year’s California State Fair July 14-Aug. 1 at the Cal Expo fairgrounds in Sacramento. Joining it in this endeavor is new partner CrossRoads RV, a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc.

The Grand Prize Giveaway for Camp-California RVing Rewards Scratcher program will be a CrossRoads RV 2011 Sling Shot RV. The drawing for the grand prize will culminate four days of a 2,500-square-foot camping display highlighting all the activities and destinations California offers campers, according to the current issue of Wednesday Morning Coffee Talk & Updates, an e-newsletter of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC).

This partnership is an offshoot of the partnership between Thor and the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) providing ruggedized units to RV parks and campgrounds.

Camp-California Marketing’s CEO, Deb“I can’t tell you how excited we are to have a partnership with CrossRoads RV,” said Debbie Sipe, Camp-California Marketing CEO. “Not only does CrossRoads bring additional income options for our members, they understand the importance of promoting RV and camping options throughout California. Our members and the camping public will benefit from this partnership for years to come.”

Over the course of four days, 160,000 visitors will have the opportunity to explore what camping and RVing are all about. The CrossRoads RV Slingshot trailer, along with other RV models, will be on display along with traditional camping scenes. Sponsors and member RV parks will have the opportunity to showcase their destinations and business. Hands on activities such as geocaching, how to setup a tent,Coleman stove usage, classic outdoor games such as sack races and water balloon tosses will draw visitors into the display.

The grand prize concept is the culmination of our 2009 RVing REWARDS! Scratcher Program, validating the usage of Camp California’s guide, website, and e-newsletter. The prizes drive campers to participating parks to get their chance to win.

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [Facebook] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

Law Would Ban RV Holding Tank Chemicals

April 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

CalARVC logoEditor’s Note: The California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds(CalARVC) is strongly in favor of recently introduced legislation to ban RV holding tank products that contain several chemicals because they can disrupt septic systems and harm groundwater supplies. The alternative is for consumers to use environmentally friendly holding tank products. This legislation, if approved, could set the stage for similar legislative efforts across the country.

California Assemblyman Bill Monning, D-Santa Cruz, has introduced legislation that would force the state to ban the use of six chemicals that have proven to be capable of damaging various types of septic systems while posing significant threats to groundwater supplies.

The legislation, AB 1824, would ban the use of holding tank products containing bronopol, dowicil, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, paraformaldehyde and para-dichlorobenzene, according to a news release.

“We fully support this legislation and think it will encourage businesses to step up their marketing and distribution of environmentally friendly holding tank products in California,” said Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC), which has spent the past five years trying to find ways to protect its members’ septic systems and nearby groundwater supplies without forcing private park operators to become “potty police.”

California, in fact, has a blemished record of enforcing holding tank regulations.

In 2005, the State Water Resources Control Board sent cease and desist letters to 25 RV parks and campgrounds in Southern California notifying them that they must not allow RVs to empty waste into their septic systems. In addition, the state closed down at least two state park dump stations. At the same time, the state board was writing new septic system regulations that would make it illegal for RV parks and campgrounds to allow “deleterious or biocide” products to be dumped into septic systems.

“In order to prevent RV parks and businesses from having to play ‘potty police’ with their guests, we asked the California Department of Substance Control to review its 1979 law banning toxic, non-biodegradable chemicals from RV & boat holding tanks,” Sipe said.

After pressing the issue for three years, the Department of Toxic Substances Control sent Sipe a letter in April 2008 confirming that the formaldehyde used in RV holding tank products was prohibited under state law. It took the state agency another nine months to complete a fact sheet explaining the prohibition under the 1979 law, which it posted on its website. Sipe sent copies of the posting to manufacturers and distributors of chemically based holding tank products.

But after a single company disputed the state’s findings, Sipe said the Department of Toxic Substances Control buckled and removed the fact sheet from its website, signaling that it wasn’t serious about enforcing the 1979 law.

Sipe then sent letters to the CEOs of major retailers and distributors of chemically based holding tank products, including Wal-Mart and Camping World, asking them to refrain from selling chemical-based RV holding tank products in California.

Sipe suggested these companies could make a positive statement on this issue by announcing their decision to ban chemically based holding tank products and instead carry environmentally friendly holding tank products before April 22nd 2009, when the nation was to celebrate Earth Day.

No one took her up on the offer.

That may change, however, if Assemblyman Monning’s proposed legislation banning the use of six non-biodegradable chemicals in holding tank products becomes law.

“Perhaps after this legislation is approved,” Sipe said, “companies that market chemically-based holding tank products will see that they have more to gain, economically and otherwise, by marketing and distributing environmentally friendly holding tank products.”

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [Facebook] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

CalARVC: Enforce State Septic Regulations

March 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

CalARVC logoEditor’s Note: This article was written by Don Gilbert, Mike Robson, and Trent Smith on March 1 and appears in the current issue of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) newsletter. It describes the bureaucratic inaction that has befuddled California’s RV park and campground owners for years.

It would be an understatement to say that CalARVC members have been patient with state bureaucrats over their failure to enforce state laws and regulations banning the use of “nonbiodegradable toxic chemicals” in RV toilet additives. We have been working with CalARVC on this issue since the fall of 2005.We are pleased to announce that the Legislature will finally take up the debate, as Assemblyman Bill Monning, D-Santa Cruz, has introduced AB 1824  on behalf of CalARVC. The bill defines six chemicals commonly found in RV toilet additives as nonbiodegradable toxic chemicals.


These six chemicals are proven to be detrimental to certain types of septic systems. In 2005 when we first met with representatives from the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the Department of Toxic Substances Control, neither state department was aware that there was an ongoing  problem with septic systems failing in RV parks because of the chemicals used in RV toilet additives.

We suggested  that the SWRCB address this issue in pending regulations. However, a month or so later we were notified that current  law (passed in 1978) prohibits the use or sale of RV toilet additives if they contain “non-biodegradable toxic chemicals.”

We believed our problem had been solved. However, for almost the next two years we tried to get DTSC or SWRCB to enforce the law, but we were told there was not a problem or that the “other” department had enforcement responsibility.

Next, in April of 2007, a local SWRCB inspector in the Palm Springs area cited over two dozen RV parks and issued notices to park owners to prohibit RV owners from hooking up to the RV park septic systems. The notice stated that RV toilet additives were causing park septic systems to fail and pollute surrounding soil and groundwater.

We were able to get the CalEPA to rescind the notices because they admitted that they had not enforced the prohibited chemical additive law despite the fact that we had requested they do so almost two years earlier!

We considered introducing a bill in 2008 to clarify current law regarding prohibited chemicals. However, we were encouraged by legislators to meet with DTSC once again to see if they would enforce current law. We met with DTSC in February of 2008.

In that meeting they agreed that there was a problem with chemicals used in some products and that they would look into the issue.

In April of 2008, DTSC sent CalARVC a letter agreeing that some chemicals used in RV toilet additives are prohibited under current law. We were pleased with this determination, but we requested that DTSC notify manufacturers and retailers of their conclusion. CalARVC provided DTSC with lists of products, manufacturers and retailers.

Unfortunately, it was not until January of 2009 that DTSC completed a background sheet listing the chemicals prohibited under current law.

These background sheets were sent to manufacturers and retailers.The background sheets were also posted on the DTSC website. In the Spring of 2009, the DTSC notified CalARVC that a product manufacturer disputed DTSC’s analyses and that DTSC was, therefore, pulling their background sheets from their website and would not enforce their findings. We worked further to try to get DTSC to reverse its decision, but they believed the law was unclear with regard to the testing methods and definitions of nonbiodegradable toxic chemicals.

Legislation Needed

We subsequently worked with staff from the Senate Environmental Quality Committee to pressure DTSC to  everse their decision to pull their background sheets. However, after staff talked with the DTSC in late July 2009, it was determined a legislative solution would be necessary.

We have worked for several weeks to draft legislation that would not violate the Green Chemistry Program, a program created under law last year that sets up a panel of scientists to review specific chemicals to determine if they pose a threat to public safety or the environment. The goal of the Green Chemistry program is to head off bills that outlaw specific chemicals without reliable independent scientific evidence supporting the ban.

In previous years the Legislature reviewed dozens of bills focused on banning certain chemicals. It was difficult for legislators, a vast majority of whom do not have science backgrounds, to sort though the competing scientific evidence presented by both the proponents and opponents of the various chemical ban bills. Thus, the Green Chemistry program was created. We believe AB 1824 is narrowly drafted and achieves our goal of eliminating harmful RV toilet additive products from the market without violating the spirit of the Green Chemistry program.

AB 1824 will be heard in its first policy committee in late March.

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [Facebook] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

California RV Park Occupancy Down 0.6% in ’09

March 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

CalARVC logoThe 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.

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [Facebook] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

CalARVC Touts Votes for Travel Promotion Act

February 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

CalARVC logoEditor’s Note: The following letter appeared in a current e-mail from the California Associaition of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) to its constituency, urging support for passage of the U.S. Travel Promotion Act.

The U.S. Travel Association has reported that the travel community is on the cusp of final passage of the Travel Promotion Act, the landmark legislation which will for the first time create a public-private partnership to promote travel to the United States. After months of focus on other issues, including health care reform and jobs stimulus legislation, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that final consideration of this important bill is imminent. President Obama also touted the value of the legislation during his comments in Las Vegas this past Friday.

We urge you to please start reaching out to your senators today to ensure that when the bill is brought to the floor they are ready to support it. Speak to them about the immediate need to pass this bill in order to help our economy by attracting new spending, creating new jobs and reducing our national deficit, all at no cost to American taxpayers.

In order to help you make the case, we worked in conjunction with Oxford Economics to develop a new analysis of overseas travel to the United States titled “The Lost Decade,” which shows the failure of the United States to simply keep pace with the growth in international long-haul travel worldwide and how much it has cost our economy:

  • 68.3 million lost visitors, each of whom on average spend well over $4,000.
  • $509 billion in lost spending, including $214 billion in direct spending and $295 billion in downstream spending at restaurants, retailers, and scores of other small businesses.
  • 441,000 lost jobs, direct, indirect and induced,in all regions of the country.
  • $32 billion in lost tax revenue at the federal, state and local levels.
  • $270 billion in lost trade surplus, export funding needed to rebuild our economy.

As you know, the senate passed the Travel Promotion Act in September (S.1023) with a strong bipartisan vote of 79-19. The Travel Promotion Act was then unanimously approved by the House of Representatives in November as part of H.R.1299. Because the legislation creates “revenue” for the federal government, the Constitution requires that the Travel Promotion Act originate in the House. Therefore, the Senate must now take a final vote on H.R.1299.

It’s important that every senator who supported the legislation in September hear again from members of the travel community thanking them for their original vote of support and urging their continued support in the coming weeks for final passage of the legislation.

Your relentless grassroots advocacy for more than two years has moved the United States one giant step closer to its first multi-million dollar, nationally coordinated travel promotion program. Let’s get the job done in the Senate with final passage.

Call or e-mail your senator today and let him/her know that you value their support for the Travel Promotion Act.

Click here to see a list of the 79 senators who supported the act.

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [Facebook] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

Thor’s Shane Ott to Keynote Campground Event

January 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Shane Ott

Shane Ott

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.

ReV up in Reno 2010 logoPrior 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.

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [Facebook] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

Park Trailer Seminar Set for Newport Beach Resort

January 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

CalARVC logoThe California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) reminds manufacturers, suppliers and campground owners located in the West to sign up for its recreational park trailer seminar scheduled for Jan. 13 at Newport Dunes RV and Waterfront Resort in Newport Beach, Calif.

A panel of park owners, operators and vendors will cover these issues:

  • Pros and cons of renting park trailers for vacation use, including marketing, usage policies, housekeeping issues and maintenance.
  • Pros and cons of long-term leases for seasonal/annual use, including marketing, policies on out-buildings, landscaping, age limits and upkeep.
  • How and whether to purchase or lease and financing considerations.

Speakers include:

  • John Pentacost, an attorney with Hart, King & Coldren, who will speak on the state’s eviction law for park trailers.
  • Brad Harward of California Housing and Community Development, who will speak on the state’s laws regulating park trailers, from park trailer design to installation.
  • William Garpow of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), who will provide an update on industry trends, new products and innovations.

The fee is $75 for the first attendee and $65 for each additional attendee.

Lunch will include brief introdutions from the program sponors. A tour of the resort’s park trailers also will be available.

For more information, contact CalARVC at (530) 885-1624.

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [Facebook] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

Timid U.S. Lenders Stifle RV Park Development

December 14, 2009 by · 1 Comment 


Springs at Borrego resort

Springs at Borrego resort

As winter approaches, campsites quickly fill up at The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Course in eastern San Diego County, Calif.

The 90-site low desert resort, located minutes from the scenic grandeur of Anza Borrego State Park, is a popular winter nesting ground for Snow Birds from all over the Pacific Northwest and Canada.

“We would love to build another 110 sites and think we could do so for about $1.2 million,” said Dan Wright, the park’s general manager.

Trouble is, Wright can’t get a loan. “Everyone we have talked to tells us that financing for RV park construction and development is non-existent at this time,” said Wright, who also serves as president of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC).

The problem isn’t limited to RV parks and resorts. Despite the billions of dollars in bailout funds that the Bush and Obama administrations have provided to the banking industry during the past year to make credit more available, bank financing remains difficult for any small business to obtain, according to the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged the problem last month in a widely quoted speech to the Economic Club of New York, in which he stated that banks’ continuing reluctance to lend is “limiting the ability of some businesses to expand and hire,” effectively delaying the nation’s economic recovery.

From Wright’s perspective, the banks’ unwillingness to lend to profitable businesses is costing millions in lost revenue, not only for his business, but for the community of Borrego Springs, whose restaurants, stores and fuel stations depend to varying degrees on the snowbirds who spend the winter at his RV resort.

“We track every reservation request that we cannot fill,” Wright said. “Since the beginning of 2008, we have turned away over 8,000 nights’ worth of business due to a shortage of campsites. But even with numbers like these, lenders still can’t bring themselves to provide us with a loan. It makes no sense.”

Ken Jeffries, one of the owners of Angels Camp RV & Camping Resort in Angels Camp, in the Sierra Nevada foothills, is facing a similar scenario. The park, with 63 RV sites, 14 tent sites, five cabins and a camp office and store, is in desperate need of expansion to accommodate growing numbers of camping enthusiasts. In fact, between Jan. 1 and July 29 of this year, the park had to decline 513 nightly reservations for lack of space, Jeffries said. But despite the obviously strong demand for campsites at the park, the owners have not been able to obtain even a relatively small loan.

“We need $50,000 to put in 19 more campsites, but the banks are real tight for some reason,” Jeffries said. “The interest rates are down, but they won’t loan any money. Of course, it doesn’t do any good to have low interest rates if they won’t loan the money. I feel the small business man is being squeezed terribly.”

Frustrated with the lack of credit, Jeffries and his partners are paying for his park’s expansion on their own. “We’re taking the money out of our own pocket and are doing the expansion ourselves,” he said. “It’s very difficult to do this, but we have no choice. We’re losing business by not expanding our park.”

Harriette Groth, co-owner of SunBasin RV Park in Ephrata, Wash., said she also is losing business because she has not been able to obtain the $350,000 to $450,000 in loans she needs to make needed improvements to her park. She’d like to put in more campsites, create more pull-through sites, and build a new bathhouse and showerhouse, but can’t find lenders willing to refinance her existing loan and provide her with capital for improvements, let alone provide her with a second loan for improvements. As a result, her improvements are limited to relatively minor cosmetic improvements, such as new signage and landscaping.

John Grant, owner of Park Brokerage Inc., a San Diego company that specializes in RV park sales, said the scarcity of loans is hard for RV park and campground operators to swallow, particularly given the resiliency of the camping business during the recession. “All businesses need access to capital to expand, to improve their facilities. But there’s just no commercial real estate capital available for RV parks and campgrounds,” he said.

Ed Mayer, who has developed four successful RV resorts in Florida in the past six years using the Elite Resorts of America brand name, said he is now seeking financing from private investment groups after failing to obtain loans from conventional lenders. “Everybody is scrambling to find money,” he said. “I’ve dealt with small banks, medium banks and large banks and I’m getting the same answer across the spectrum.”

Mayer said many lenders simply have no experience working with the RV industry and don’t want to take any chances investing in a market segment with which they have little or no experience, despite the financial successes RV parks and resorts have enjoyed throughout the recession. He conceded, however, that while there are many successful, high quality RV parks and resorts across the country that are worthy of loans, there also continue to be sizeable numbers of neglected parks. “Some RV parks are in the hands of people trying to get out of the industry and they’ve allowed their parks to deteriorate,” he said.

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [Facebook] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

CalARVC Seminar Looks at Park Trailer Industry

December 4, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

CalARVC logoThe California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) will sponsor a day-long seminar titled “Everything & Anything You Need to Know About Park Trailers” Jan. 13 at Newport Dunes RV & Waterfront Resort in Newport Beach, Calif.

A panel of park owners, operators and vendors will cover these issues:

  • Pros and cons of renting park trailers for vacation use, including marketing, usage policies, housekeeping issues and maintenance.
  • Pros and cons of long-term leases for seasonal/annual use, including marketing, policies on out-buildings, landscaping, age limits and upkeep.
  • How and whether to purchase, lease and financing considerations.

Speakers include:

  • John Pentacost, an attorney with Hart, King & Coldren, who will speak on the state’s eviction law for park trailers.
  • Brad Harward of California Housing and Community Development, who will speak on the state’s laws regulating park trailers, from park trailer design to installation.
  • William Garpow of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), will provide an update on industry trends, new products and innovations.

The fee is $75 for the first attendee and $65 for each additional attendee.

Lunch will include brief introdutions from the program sponors. A tour of the resort’s park trailers also will be available.

For more information, contact CalARVC at (530) 885-1624.

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [Facebook] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

« Previous PageNext Page »