A memorial service will be held in September for Jack E. Denton, a longtime campground industry pioneer who helped establish Arizona’s first campground industry association as well as the national organization that later became the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
Denton, 89, died Aug. 26 in Peoria, Ariz. after suffering from complications from a broken hip sustained earlier in the week, according to an ARVC press release. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Sept. 11, at the First United Methodist Church at 7102 N. 58th Drive in Glendale, Ariz.
“Jack was considered the ‘Father of our industry in Arizona,” said Jo Ann Mickelson, executive director of the Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. “He was truly a treasure that we all adored. Jack never missed any meetings or conventions. We could always count on him for support.”
Denton built the Flagstaff KOA in 1967, just five years after the founding of Kampgrounds of America Inc. The campground, located at an elevation of 7,000 feet above sea level at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, is one of the oldest continuously owned KOAs in the 484-park system in North America.
Denton was a charter member of Arizona ARVC’s precursor, the Arizona Campground Owners Association, which he helped form in 1975. He served on the state organization’s board of directors for over 30 years.
Always active on political issues, he was instrumental in passing legislation to create a Scenic Byways program not only in Arizona, but across the U.S., Mickelson said. He was also a strong advocate for private parks as they struggled with competitive issues involving government run parks.
“He was on a first name basis with the Forest Service in Flagstaff and was always partnering with them for the benefit of campgrounds and RV parks in northern Arizona,” Mickelson said.
At the national level, Denton was a charter member of the National Campground Owners Association (NCOA), the precursor to today’s National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, and briefly served on the National Association’s board of directors, according to David Gorin, a former ARVC President who was hired by the national association in the late 1980s.
“He loved the industry,” Gorin said of Denton, adding that Denton was very involved in national issues in the 1970s and ’80s, when insurance companies were pulling out of the campground insurance business. Denton served on a national insurance trust set up by NCOA that helped identify and recruit companies to provide insurance to campground operators.
According to KOA, Denton held several leadership roles in the KOA Owners Association, and was an innovator and “early adopter” of many KOA practices and amenities. His Flagstaff campground showcased several green initiatives, including an on-site recycling program. Denton had recently installed wind turbines to offset energy use, and his park was designated as an Environmental Impact Education Park.
Denton is survived by his two children, Robin and Jerry, of Glendale, Ariz. Granddaughter, Jessica, as well as two nieces, Barbara Funkhauser and Barbara Burns, from New Mexico and his longtime friend, Mary Smith, who owned, KOA of Redding in Redding, Calif. He was preceded in death by his wife, Chris.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has secured exclusive music licensing agreements with ASCAP and BMI, the two largest music licensing companies in the country, which have been packaged by ARVC into one, singularly priced, affordable plan.
According to a press release, the agreements, finalized this month, provide ARVC member parks with discounts of up to 70% for ASCAP and BMI licensing fees, amounting to “potentially huge annual savings” for parks.
“The only way private park operators can obtain these discounts is to be a member of ARVC,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC’s president and CEO, adding that he anticipates a significant increase in ARVC membership as a result of the music licensing agreements. “Private park operators are always looking for ways to lower their operating costs and these agreements underscore once again how ARVC membership saves park operators money. If you’re not an ARVC member, you’re simply leaving lots of money on the table.”
Bambei continued, “We also see this as a win for private parks because park operators who participate in ARVC’s new music licensing program now have an effective way to stop unwanted phone calls from music licensing companies.”
Bambei said the agreements specifically forbid these music license companies from contacting any park that signs up to the new program with ARVC. The license will cover the entire calendar year from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, and any park that signs up within the current enrollment period will be “BMI-ASCAP license-protected” for the full, upcoming 2013 year.
Bambei said the music enrollment period begins immediately and that parks will have until Nov. 30 to sign up for the program that will cover the upcoming calendar year of 2013. Additionally, because BMI has already accepted fees (in some cases) in 2012 on their own that covered a portion of 2013, contractual arrangements have been made to refund any park owner for these applicable 2013 BMI license fees.
For more information call the ARVC office at (303) 681-0401. Parks that are not currently members of ARVC will need to join the association in order to participate in the program.
Members of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) now have the ability to make real-time changes to their park’s profiles on GoCampingAmerica.com.
“Each park now has its own page and its own URL destination on GoCampingAmerica.com, which they can populate with photos, links to YouTube videos and other social media applications,” Jennifer Schwartz, ARVC’s senior director of marketing, stated in a news release.
The new interface, which can be accessed through the park operator login on GoCampingAmerica.com, also gives ARVC members the ability to quickly and easily enter new search criteria for amenities, recreation, site preferences and services on a 24/7 basis. ARVC members can also highlight their park’s lifestyle options and affiliations.
“We need every ARVC member to check their park’s profile not only to make sure that it’s accurate and up to date, but to ensure that they’re taking advantage of the growing marketing power of the GoCampingAmerica website,” Schwartz said. “The whole point of this effort is to make it easier for consumers to find your parks and the specific amenities and services they’re looking for,” she said.
ARVC said that GoCampingAmerica is generating more than 90,000 unique visits per month and the numbers are increasing as a result of new ARVC advertising and media outreach efforts to promote the GoCampingAmerica site.
“This is why it’s critical that ARVC members update their park’s profile pages,” Schwartz said. “Is your GPS location correct? Are your amenities listed correctly? What kind of recreational activities do you provide? How long has it been since you’ve updated your photos? These are the kinds of the things park operators need to check to make their best pitch to consumers and get the most out of GoCampingAmerica.com.”
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), which represents more than 3,000 private campgrounds and recreational vehicle parks, is using McDermott Will & Emery to stake out a presence in Washington, according to a post on the Blog of Legal Times.
ARVC has deployed McDermott to lobby on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding pool lifts, among other matters concerning parks and campgrounds, congressional records show. McDermott partner David Ransom and legislative affairs director W. Kam Quarles are handling the account, according to a lobbying registration report filed with Congress.
The organization has expressed concern about ADA accessibility requirements for swimming pools and spas. Under the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, pool owners will be required to make their swimming facilities handicap accessible. The requirements favor fixed pool lifts over the devices’ portable counterparts, which, Ransom said, many campgrounds and RV parks have bought.
“So it set off quite a bit of chaos in the industry,” said Ransom, who has worked on legal matters for ARVC for about a year.
The U.S. Justice Department initially required owners of existing pools and spas to comply with the requirements by this year. But, acknowledging private-sector concerns and confusion about the ADA stipulations, the DOJ last month postponed the compliance deadline until Jan. 31, 2013.
ARVC said it had more than 80 visits with members of Congress in May and a meeting with the White House to discuss the ADA regulations, according to a news release from the organization.
Park operators will have until Jan. 31, 2013, to comply with changes in accessibility requirements for swimming pools and spas under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Justice Department announced on its website Wednesday (May 16) that it plans to publish a new rule on May 21 with the Jan. 31st compliance date.
“Thanks to an effective team effort involving private park operators working in collaboration with our counterparts in the hotel industry, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others, we have achieved our initial objective, which was to extend the ADA compliance date until next year,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
However, the Justice Department has not yet signaled a willingness to consider revising its regulations to make it possible for campgrounds, RV parks and resorts to meet the latest ADA requirements with portable pool lifts. ARVC contends that portable pool lifts are equally accessible to the public as fixed pool lifts and would not create a safety hazard for children who may be attracted to the equipment.
ARVC and its affiliates have endorsed a bill proposed by Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., that would allow portable pool lifts to meet the new ADA pool lift requirements.
“We have scored one of our goals with the Justice Department, but our opposition to the fixed lift issue will continue,” Bambei said, adding that ARVC’s government affairs counsel, the Washington D.C. law firm of McDermott Will & Emery is reviewing the Justice Department’s latest statements to determine the appropriate next steps for the campground industry on this issue.
ARVC’s proactive efforts on the ADA pool lift issue so far have included over 80 visits last week with U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill; letter-writing campaigns; a visit to the White House at the invitation of the administration to discuss the issue; an official written comment to the Department of Justice’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; as well as coordinated lobbying by ARVC and its partners in the hotel industry, which include such notables as the American Hotel & Lodging Association, American Resort Development Association, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the World Water Park Association.
Congressional representatives have also sent letters to top Justice Department officials in response to the outreach by the campground and hotel industries.
Representatives from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and its affiliates made a show of force in Washington, D.C., last week, holding 80 face-to-face meetings with members of the U.S. House and Senate to voice industry concern over recent changes proposed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding its ADA pool lift guidance released on Jan. 31.
According to a press release, ARVC’s objective was to continue to “hammer home” the outdoor hospitality industry’s opposition to recently proposed federal guidelines that would require public accommodations, including campgrounds, RV parks and resorts, to install fixed, permanent pool lifts at every body of water on commercial property.
While ARVC supports the spirit and intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the association has called on the Justice Department to change its proposed guidelines to make it possible for campgrounds, RV parks and resorts to meet the latest ADA requirements with portable pool lifts, which ARVC contends are equally accessible to the public, but would not create a safety hazard for children who will be attracted to the apparatus.
ARVC and its affiliates have also endorsed a bill proposed by Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., that would extend the compliance deadline for one year while also allowing portable pool lifts to meet the new ADA pool lift requirements.
The Justice Department is expected to announce this week if it has reached a decision on whether it will allow private parks, hotels and other hospitality businesses to accommodate disabled people with portable pool lifts or whether it needs more time to study the issue. The Justice Department previously issued a 60-day delay in enforcing its proposed pool lift requirements in response to a coordinated lobbying effort by ARVC and its coalition partners in the hospitality industry.
“Last week’s meetings represent the continuing pressure we are bringing to bear on the ADA pool lift issue, which has already succeeded in prompting the Justice Department to postpone the implementation timeline of new regulations while it considers possible changes to ADA pool lift requirements,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC’s president and CEO.
Those efforts have included letter-writing campaigns; a visit to the White House at the invitation of the administration to discuss the issue; an official written comment to the Department of Justice’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that expired April 4, 2012; as well as coordinated lobbying by ARVC and its partners in the hotel industry, which include such notables as the American Hotel & Lodging Association, American Resort Development Association, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the World Water Park Association.
Congressional representatives have also sent letters to top Justice Department officials in response to the outreach by the campground and hotel industries.
Recently, Congressman, Bill Owens, D-N.Y., who met last week with fellow New Yorker and member of the ARVC Board of Directors, Truman Hartshorn, sent a letter to Allison Nichol, chief of the Justice Department’s Disability Rights Section, criticizing the burden that the department has placed on small businesses. “Your office’s total inflexibility to consider alternatives, such as a portable lift, demonstrates that this rule was poorly crafted and did not meaningfully incorporate any ideas or suggestions from the industries that will be affected,” Owens wrote. “I suggest you delay implementation of this rule and work with all the parties affected to come up with a more practical solution.”
Campground industry representatives also attending last week’s meetings included ARVC Chairman Rob Schutter of Leisure Systems, Inc.; ARVC President and CEO Paul Bambei; ARVC Government Affairs Committee Chairman Al Johnson of Recreational Adventures Company, a Hill City, S.D. company that owns and operates multiple KOA campgrounds; Debbie Sipe of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds; Kathy Frederick and Sandra Brown of the Connecticut Campground Owners Association; Rick Abare of the Maine Campground Owners Association; Norman Gurevich of the Maryland Association of Campgrounds; Tracie Fisher of ARVC Michigan; Gregg Pittman of the New Hampshire Campground Owners Association; Joann DelVechio and Jay Sporl, Sr. of the New Jersey Campground Owners Association; Todd Kaser and Chip Hanawalt of the Ohio Campground Owners Association; Jim Breneman of the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association; Wade Elliott of Utility Supply Group; Lori Severson of the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners; Marcia Galvin of the Massachusetts Association of Campground Owners; and Jon Heidrich of Shangri-La RV Resort in Yuma, Ariz.
The National Issues Conference sponsored by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) got under way today (May 8) in Washington, D.C.
ARVC retained McDermott, Will & Emery, a leading Washington, D.C., law firm, registered lobbyist and powerful partner on Capitol Hill, to assist in the event. Some of the issues that will be focused on include:
• Ensuring that members of Congress appreciate the importance of tourism and travel to the overall health of the American economy, and that travel and tourism accounted for 7.5 million jobs in 2010.
• Fighting for a transportation infrastructure bill, which is vital to connecting tourists and travelers to their destinations; and
• Seeking clearer guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations covering swimming pools and spas.
The first Spring Seminar Series scheduled for May 16-17 in Denver and sponsored by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has been postponed and will be rescheduled.
ARVC announced the postponement in the April issue of the ARVC Voice.
Prospective attendees were unable to commit to the mid-May date, the association noted.
“Our goal is to provide you with business-building tools, enhancing your knowledge base,growing your operation and, ultimately, boosting your bottom line. We would love your feedback on optimum dates as well as topics for future Seminar Series,” ARVC stated.
Members should send their input to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) threw private park operators a curve ball earlier this year when it published dramatic changes in accessibility requirements for swimming pool lifts under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
According to a press release generated by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), new regulations published Jan. 31 gave park owners only 45 days to install swimming pool lifts at their facilities – an “unrealistic timetable given the size of the campground industry and the relatively small numbers of pool lift providers,” according to ARVC.
DOJ officials also gave park operators differing interpretations of the new regulations, with some saying permanent pool lifts are required at every pool or body of water, while others said portable pool lift devices would suffice.
The 2010 ADA Standards gave park operators the option of installing either permanent or portable pool lifts to provide their disabled guests with access to pool, wading pool and spa facilities.
Given these contradictions, and the looming enforcement deadline, ARVC joined forces with the American Hotel & Lodging Association and other groups to call on the DOJ to revise its regulations to make it easier for small and medium size businesses to comply with the new regulations using portable pool lifts. ARVC and its industry partners have also asked the federal government to extend the deadline for compliance with the new regulations by six months.
ARVC submitted its latest comments on the ADA pool lift compliance issue to the Department of Justice on April 4, less than two weeks after ARVC joined its industry partners at a White House meeting to encourage the DOJ to revise its pool lift requirements.
Jeff Sims, ARVC’s director of state relations and program advocacy, is working closely with the Washington D.C. law firm of McDermott Will & Emery on the ADA pool compliance issue. In a recent Q & A, Sims addressed several key questions involving the history of the pool lift issue, where we’re at today, and what park operators can expect ARVC to do on this issue in the coming months:
Q: Were campgrounds, RV parks and resorts previously required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to make swimming and wading pools and spas accessible for the disabled?
Sims: No. Not until now. The ADA regulations and Standards for Accessible Design that were originally published in 1991 set the standard for what makes a facility accessible. And while the updated 2010 standards retain many of the original provisions of the 1991 standards, they do contain some significant differences. They are also used differently depending on whether you are altering an existing building, building a new facility or removing architectural barriers that have existed for years.
Q: When did the U.S. Department of Justice first indicate that portable pool lifts may not be compliant in some circumstances with ADA regulations?
Sims: On Jan. 31 of this year – Just two months before the deadline for compliance!
Q: Why is it important for ARVC members to be aware of these standards?
Sims: These standards can have a direct effect on park’s cost of doing business. This is also a civil rights issue about accessibility. The ADA’s regulations and the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, originally published in 1991, set the standard for what makes a facility accessible. While the updated 2010 Standards retain many of the original provisions in the 1991 Standards, they do contain some significant differences. These standards are the key for determining if a small business’s facilities are accessible under the ADA. However, they are used differently, depending on whether a small business is altering an existing building, building a brand new facility, or removing architectural barriers that have existed for years.
Q: Are there other facilities besides swimming pools that are subject to new ADA regulations?
Sims: Yes. The 2010 ADA Standards also set new accessibility requirements for exercise machines and equipment; fishing piers and platforms; miniature golf and regular golf facilities; play areas; recreational boating facilities; and residential facilities and dwelling units.
Q: Campground operators have received conflicting information from federal officials over what the Justice Department really required, particularly on the question of whether private parks could get by using portable pool lifts or whether they would be required to install permanent pool lifts for each swimming pool. Do we know even now what the federal government really required?
Sims: We asked the Department of Justice to revisit and revise its Jan. 31 guidance, which required a fixed pool lift (if readily achievable). The guidance also stated that a portable pool lift is not compliant in some circumstances. In expressing a preference for and requiring a fixed pool lift, the federal guidance is at variance with the 2010 Final Rule, which did not distinguish between fixed and portable lifts. Furthermore, we believe there has been no evidence presented during the rulemaking that demonstrably shows the superiority and necessity of a fixed pool lift. In our experience, a portable pool lift is functionally equivalent to a fixed lift in that it provides entry and exit from the pool or spa. It’s also a more affordable option for park operators in meeting these new requirements.
Q: When did ARVC get involved in monitoring the pool lift issue and intervening on behalf of private park operators on this issue?
Sims: I was hired on Jan. 15, 2011, and became aware of the issue nearly immediately. ARVC hired McDermott, Will & Emery in Washington, D.C. to head up our legal and lobbying efforts in April of 2011. They issued their first “Guidance for ARVC Members Regarding the New ADA Requirements for Pools and Spas” on May 11, 2011. On June 16, they provided additional guidance to ARVC members concerning the term “readily achievable” in Department of Justice parlance. They have since helped us develop an effective grass roots campaign on this issue.
Q: What has ARVC achieved to date on this issue?
Sims: ARVC has been the leader in providing information concerning the new ADA Standards to the campground industry. Working with our coalition partners and our members, we were able to convince U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to delay the implementation of new ADA rules regarding swimming and wading pools for at least 60 days. That means the compliance deadline has been pushed back to May 15th. The Department of Justice also published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which solicited comments on whether or not it should delay the implementation of the new rules for pools and spas 180 days. ARVC organized a letter writing campaign to provide NPRM input on behalf of campground owners to insure our common voice was heard.
Q: What other business groups are working with us on the ADA issue?
Sims: We are working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the American Resort Development Association, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the National Apartment Association, the National Multi Housing Council, The Real Estate Roundtable, and the World Water Park Association. There is strength in numbers and that is how we have been able to leverage ARVC’s voice.
Q: What did ARVC request of the Justice Department in its April 4 letter?
Sims: We stated that our members are very strong supporters of the spirit and intent of the ADA. However, we noted that the technical assistance document or “guidance” published by the Department of Justice on Jan. 31 is confusing, at variance with the 2010 Final Rule, and problematic for those of us who fully intend to comply with the ADA’s requirements. We, therefore, called on the Department of Justice to revisit and revise its Jan. 31 guidance. We noted that the department had failed to consider the financial burden permanent pool lift requirements would place on our members, not only for the equipment itself but for the required electrical bonding under the National Electrical Code and for the reconstruction of pool decks. We also noted that the installation of fixed pool lifts also requires building permits and construction work that can take additional time, and that places public accommodations at risk of being sued for non-compliance. In any event, a sufficient supply of fixed pool lifts is simply not currently available, according to a representative of pool lift manufacturers who met with Obama administration officials on March 26. We also urged the Department of Justice to make clear that public accommodations may store portable pool lifts and make them available after determining at check-in whether a disabled patron wishes to use the accommodation’s pool or spa. Additionally, we urged the Department of Justice to allow public accommodations to share portable pool lifts among pools and spas. In fact, such a requirement could make more pools and spas accessible to disabled patrons.
Q: What happens now?
Sims: The Department of Justice is considering nearly 1,400 comments that were submitted on the topic of extending the compliance date for 180 days, which leads us to believe the extension may be attainable. However, many advocacy groups for the disabled have argued that the compliance date should not be extended at all. Meanwhile, ARVC and other organizations are continuing to argue that the Justice Department should not require fixed pool lifts and that portable pool lifts should be compliant. Legislation has also been introduced in Congress to delay the implementation date and to the allow the use of portable pool lifts. But passage of such legislation seems unlikely. ARVC members should, therefore, continue to make their voices heard to their representatives on this issue. This will be a key topic ARVC members who are attending the National Issues Conference in Washington, D.C .on May 9 will be addressing in private Congressional meetings.
Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from an interview by Woodall’s Campground Management with Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), following a three-week road trip that took him to many state association conventions and meetings as well as an ARVC board meeting. To read the entire interview click here.
According to Bambei, key issues facing ARVC include:
•Performance Licenses: Foremost on the member benefit front is the completion of licensing negotiations with the Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI).“The BMI deal is done, which was very important to me, strategically, to get it done first,” Bambei explained, noting that it was one of the three performing rights organizations (PROs) ARVC has been talking with. “It represented 70% of the licensing revenue that ARVC members submitted in 2011. It made sense to get that out of the way first.”
• Membership Status: At the ARVC board meeting held in mid-March in Memphis, Tenn., the board unanimously agreed to keep the current structure relative to “affiliated” and “cooperating” states in place and unchanged, Bambei said. ARVC counts 28 states as having affiliated or full membership status.
• White House meeting on ADA: ARVC undertook a major lobbying effort this year to counteract the impending new regulations through the Americans with Disabilities Act with regard to wheel chair lift requirements for public swimming pools. The coalition succeeded in getting a 60-day extension on the new regulations, which would have taken effect in mid-March.
• Benefit Provider Update: ARVC representatives are conducting talks to establish preferred provider status with several companies, including Moen, a manufacturer of faucets and shower heads; Schlage, maker of locks and security gates; and Speed Queen, maker of commercial washers and dryers.
• State Park Membership: ARVC’s attempt to increase its membership by opening the doors to state parks has not been successful in attracting a large number of state parks, Bambei conceded. The initiative, as Bambei explained, was to work with individual affiliated states to do whatever they wanted to do.