The prevailing opinion in the outdoor hospitality industry is that efforts to reduce federal spending by cutting back on all government services, including the nation’s public lands, will be bad for private RV parks and campgrounds as well.
The deadline to avoid implementation of the so-called sequestration is Thursday (Feb. 29). Otherwise, the cutbacks take effect on Friday.
“I wish I could tell you there will be no impact,” Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), told Woodall’s Campground Management. “The impact will be a lot less than a lot of the hype in the media, and less than the impact of rising gasoline prices over the last month.”
However, he said the current crisis is a good time for the private sector (RV park and campground owners as well as RV manufacturers) to be proactive with the federal government and help scrutinize their expenditures.
“Owners can sit back and accept those cuts, then complain to members of Congress or they can look for a sustainable solition to become a partner with federal programs we would like to make sustainable, no matter what happens,” Crandall said.
“First of all, whether or not sequestration happens in its current form, we’re looking at a lean period for budgets of National Park Service (NPS) and other public land providers,” Crandall said. “Sequestration gets all the (current) spotlight, but the overall budget projections for federal agencies that now serve a billion visitors are not good for the next several years. It is an issue that everybody in the recreation field should be looking at.”
The private sector is good at operating on reduced budgets – businesses routinely do so during lean times, Crandall said, but the concept is almost alien to the federal government.
“Most of us had our personal budgets affected by the downturn in the economy starting in 2007,” he said, “but the recovery spending of 2008-2010 allowed the federal agencies to continue without any impact from the recession.”
Crandall opposes across-the-board cuts in agencies like the National Park Service, because such cuts would cut “muscle and bone as well as fat.”
Instead, Crandall is taking this opportunity to ask agencies like the NPS, which faces a $115 million cutback via sequestration, to work with the private sector for the betterment of both.
To read the entire report on Woodall’s Campground Management click here.
The following is an article authored by Dave Caldwell appearing in the New York Times Travel section highlighting the National Scenic Byways Program.
A shaded two-lane road — narrow, bumpy and without lines in stretches — hugs the Delaware & Raritan Canal as it meanders through virtually unspoiled countryside no more than 10 miles west of the wide and rumbling New Jersey Turnpike corridor.
This road from Kingston, N.J., to East Millstone, N.J., is meant to be taken at no more than 30 miles an hour as it passes a stable and picnic spots near the village of Griggstown. To the north is Blackwells Mills and a rustic canal house that has stood since 1835 or so.
Much faster north-south thoroughfares slice through the central part of the state, but this road, part of what has been designated the Millstone Valley Scenic Byway by the United States Department of Transportation, remains an antidote, truly a pleasure drive. Since the National Scenic Byways Program was established 20 years ago, 150 roadways in 46 states have been recognized for their cultural, historic and scenic qualities.
“The interstates are great for getting from sea to shining sea, but there’s nothing in between,” said Derrick Crandall, president of the nonprofit American Recreation Coalition. Of the byways, Crandall said, “They’re like necklaces, or a charm bracelet, adorned with great places to stop.”
An annual survey of 1,000 Americans commissioned by Goodyear determines 50 scenic byways that are the most aesthetically pleasing and fun to drive. The Millstone Valley Scenic Byway was one of nine starting within 250 miles of New York City to make the most recent list.
To read the entire article and view a slide show click here.
The following is a press release from American Recreation Coalition (ARC) President Derrick Crandall on progress with the National Scenic Byways Program.
More than 30 key and diverse national organizations and more than 50 local byways program advocates wrote Congressional leaders to describe the successes of the National Scenic Byways Program and to call for continuation of the program under any new federal surface transportation program. The writers ranged from AAA to the National Association of Counties.
The National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP) was created in 1991 and now includes 150 designated routes in 46 states. The byways advocates, writing as Friends of America’s Byways, told the Congress, “These routes offer visitors outstanding, world-class opportunities for scenic, recreational, cultural and historic experiences. Not only are the lives of the American people – and visitors to this country – enriched immensely by these experiences, but thousands of communities have been given a new source of pride and economic vitality. These routes also link America’s public lands to communities which serve as gateways to parks, forests, refuges and other federally managed lands, and tell stories about our land’s geology, history and wildlife.”
According to Friends coordinator Derrick Crandall, byways boost local economies through increased visitation, are catalysts for plans which shape development in key corridors, offer great traveling experiences and inspire increased community pride.
Although byways have almost no critics, the Friends note that expected cutbacks in federal transportation assistance to states put even popular and successful programs in jeopardy. According to Crandall, “The combined influence of transportation, recreation, conservation, historic preservation and tourism interests overcame resistance to a byways program in 1991. Those national interests have now reunited, and we also have a rich support team of local byways champions – local elected officials, local convention and visitor bureaus, local government agencies and byways friends groups. I think this chorus will be heard.”
Planning is well under way for another eventful Great Outdoors Week, the American Recreation Coalition’s (ARC) annual celebration of outdoor recreation and its important contributions to the well-being of the American people and their communities.
According to a press release, the week begins with the observance of National Get Outdoors (GO) Day on June 11 and will include special events showcasing key recreation programs and recognizing the outstanding efforts being undertaken across the country to improve outdoor recreation experiences. Great Outdoors Week is one of the focal points of Great Outdoors Month, proclaimed nationwide by the president and by state governors in every state throughout the U.S.
The GO-Day launch of Great Outdoors Week will be marked at more than 100 sites where the public – especially young people – will be invited to enjoy different recreation activities and learn about additional, easily accessible recreation opportunities.
The U.S. Forest Service will celebrate GO-Day as Fee Free Day, waiving fees on millions of acres of national forests. And dozens of marina operators celebrating National Marina Day on June 11 will welcome thousands of visitors to these family-friendly gateways to wonderful boating experiences.
Programs featured during Great Outdoors Week will include: the Obama administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to link the American people to their magnificent public lands; the Let’s Move Outside campaign launched by first lady Michelle Obama to combat childhood obesity; the ED OUT partnership program to encourage outdoor learning and fun; and the Recreational Trails Program, which serves as the foundation for state trail programs all across the country.
Great Outdoors Week will also include several different award ceremonies recognizing individual and collective achievements within the recreation community. The Coalition for Recreational Trails will salute outstanding trail programs and projects funded by the federal Recreational Trails Program. ARC will present its Legends Awards to exceptional individuals from seven federal agencies whose personal efforts have led to substantial improvements in outdoor recreation resources and management. ARC’s Beacon Awards will recognize the innovative use of technology in visitor services and recreation management on public lands. And, finally, the Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award – the recreation community’s most prestigious award – will recognize the leadership, vision and accomplishments of one extraordinary individual whose personal commitment to the value and importance of recreation has contributed significantly to the welfare of the American people.
“Great Outdoors Week gives us a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the people, places and programs that bring healthy outdoor fun to millions of Americans every day of the year,” said ARC President Derrick Crandall. “They really put the ‘Great’ into the Great Outdoors.”
The following is an update from Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), outlining progress in Congress on reauthorization of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) initiative.
The nation’s leading trail organizations expressed appreciation and delight regarding a new letter to key congressional leaders, who are crafting a new national surface transportation bill, calling for reauthorization of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). The letter was drafted by U.S. representatives Tom Petri (R-WI) and Mike Michaud (D-ME) and signed by 74 members of Congress.
“The letter demonstrates that this program, created in 1991, has made a difference across the nation,” said Crandall, who serves as co-chair of the Coalition for Recreational Trails. “It may be small by Washington standards, but has made a real difference in community after community, and has made public lands more accessible and valued.”
The congressional letter is unusual both because of the large number of signers and the geographic and ideological diversity of the support it demonstrates. The letter is especially timely because Congress is expected to take action on a successor to SAFETEA-LU, a multi-year surface transportation law directing the use of collected federal motorfuel taxes which expired in 2009 and has been extended for short periods ever since.
According to the congressional letter, “The philosophy behind the RTP is simple: fuel taxes collected from non-highway users should benefit those who paid the taxes.” The letter goes on to say,” the RTP has brought new economic vitality to communities across the nation, helped Americans to be active and healthy, and unified often-divided trail interests to craft state trail plans and aid all trail interests. More than 15,000 projects have been funded under this program to date, including trail corridor purchases, trail construction and maintenance and environmental mitigation.”
Crandall noted that the 74 signers included longtime members of Congress holding senior positions on key committees as well as new members of Congress, and that the signers were from 36 states.
“The Congressional letter demonstrates the same kind of broad support as that shown earlier this year when nearly 500 national, state and local organizations wrote to the Congress and expressed strong support for continuing RTP,” said Crandall.
“We especially want to thank congressmen Petri and Michaud for taking action on behalf of their constituents and trail enthusiasts across the nation,” Crandall added. “With the number and complexity of issues before the Congress, small but vital federal programs like RTP could be forgotten without champions in the House and Senate. We thank each of the signers – and especially Representatives Petri and Michaud.”
Warren Keely, right, owner and operator of Road Trip Rentals in Broad Run, Va., provided a travel trailer for the national “Get Outdoors Day” event at Kingman Island in Washington, D.C., on June 13. With him is Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition (ARC). A consortium of federal agencies and nonprofit organizations including ARC and the U.S. Forest Service organized the annual event to encourage health outdoor fun across the nation. The Washington event was one of 62 local Get Outdoors Day events held across the nation. Prime goals of the day are reaching first-time visitors to public lands and reconnecting youth to the outdoors. Keely is a member of the RV Rental Association (RVRA), a division of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), the national association representing RV retailers. The association’s members include RV dealers, RV rental operations and RV aftermarket locations.