RV News for February 17–23, 2018

RV News for February 17–23, 2018

breaking-newsReturn to RV Travel Issue 834.

A recent federal report indicates RVs accounted for a $30 billion contribution to the nation’s economic activity in 2016 – the most recent year for available statistics. This is a breakout from a first-ever report by the Department of Commerce that eyeballs how much outdoor recreation contributes to the U.S. economy.

Guests at Pleasant Valley Campground northwest of Bishop, Calif., got an unwelcome eviction last Sunday. A wildfire broke out, forcing the evacuation of the campground. As of Friday morning, the fire was 85 percent contained after burning more than 2,000 acres, according to Cal Fire. The following areas are still closed: Brockman Lane (north of HWY 395), 5 Bridges Road, Pleasant Valley Reservoir Road, Jean Blanc Road, and Dixon Lane (west of housing area towards Brockman). Pleasant Valley Campground is closed. Escorts by Inyo Sheriff for emergency necessity only. Pit Campground is closed; however, escorts are available to retrieve belongings through BLM. Source: Cal Fire

Jubilee Lake, OR

Oregon’s Umatilla National Forest needs camp hosts for summer stints. Bring your RV, put in your time helping campers, giving information, cleaning restrooms and doing maintenance work and you’ll get a free spot for your RV. On top of it, there’s propane provided, a food allowance and mileage reimbursement when you drive in connection with your camp hosting assignment. Hosts are needed from Memorial Day through mid-October at Bull Prairie Lake, Woodward and Jubilee Lake campgrounds. For information on Jubilee Lake and Woodward, phone Celina Morena at 509-522-6277. Call Janel Lacey at 541-427-5394 for more information on Bull Prairie.

Seems that Hurricane Harvey fits the maxim of an ill wind that blows nobody good. Dealers at the recently ended Houston (Texas) RV Show report strong sales to hurricane survivors. Topper’s Camping Center reckons 50 to 60 units sold that could be attributed to the hurricane, a 10 percent boost. Some dealers at the show offered free delivery of new rigs to Harvey survivors if they bought at the show.

Harbor Vista Campground, a county-operated park near Florence, Ore., is temporarily shut down. A sewer improvement project is underway and will keep the park shut down until Memorial Day. On reopening, some full hookup sites will be available for guests. For more information call 541-682-2000.

If your RV goes to the shop for repairs, how long will it be there? The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) says if parts are on hand at the shop, you’ll get it back in an average of four days. Parts need to be ordered? The turn-around time blasts out to an average of 21 days. “That 21-day average is concerning,” says Tim Wegge, RVDA’s chairman, “because it’s just seven days short of triggering lemon laws in many states.” (Here’s our story on this from last week, in case you missed it.)

North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore has set opening dates for the 2018 camping season. Oregon Inlet, Cape Point, Frisco and Ocracoke campgrounds will swing the gates wide March 30 and remain open until November 26. All of them will accommodate rigs up to 35 feet, but no hookups are available.

What if they built a campground and nobody came? Well, some are coming, but managers at Cass County Park near Texarkana, Texas, say just not near enough. Opened last November, the park’s campground has 46 RV sites with 30-amp electric hookups, and sits on the edge of Wright Patman Lake. Park managers have used radio, newspapers and social media to encourage folks to come, but still say it’s just too lonesome.

If Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey has his way, Oracle State Park near Tucson will no longer be day use only. Gov. Ducey has asked the state legislature for $4 million to revamp the park, including 30 RV sites plus tent sites and cabins. The governor thinks the revamps would turn the presently-losing-money-every-year park into a moneymaker.


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Officials of Brookings, Ore., have gone to bat for the locals against the Forest Service. The latter has indicated it will hike fees at campgrounds and day-use areas in the Gold Beach Ranger District, in some cases instituting new fees where access has previously been free. Brookings City Manager, Gary Milliman, told local media he thinks fee increases, even small ones, “are a kick in the teeth” to locals who survived a major wildfire last year. He points out some of the areas where the fee hikes are being put in place are now burnt-out areas, and wants the feds to delay their fee increase demand.

Photo: Fox26 News/kmph.com

Tuesday night, a refrigeration unit in an RV stored in a mechanic shop at Paul Evert’s RV Country south of Fresno, Calif., caused a multimillion dollar fire, according to Cal Fire. No one was injured in the fire, but there was damage to customer products, vehicles and buildings. Source: kmph.com. Read more and watch news video from CBS 47 Eyewitness News.

Florida now has a new state park – its 175th. Lafayette Blue Springs State Park, near High Springs, was already popular among visitors under private ownership. Last June the state agreed to plunk down $5 million to pick up the property. Then came Irma. The hurricane left plenty of damage in September, but the state went ahead with the purchase in October. Now the park is open for public access, and offers 25 campsites: 17 sites for RV/tent camping (30 amp available) and 8 tent-only sites.

Ouch! This Jayco Sprinter motorhome didn’t fare well after being slammed on the side by a Dodge work truck in Tyler County, Texas. For a yet-undetermined reason, the truck crossed the center line, which resulted in a glancing blow to the RV. The truck driver was injured and taken to the hospital. The RVers were unharmed, but that can’t be said for the Sprinter.

Planning an RV visit to Mackinaw, Mich.? Don’t expect to get much help learning about accommodations at the local visitor’s bureau website. Area RV park owners say they won’t be advertising on the website nor “in the book” since they got a surprise hike in their membership fees to the Mackinaw Area Visitor’s Bureau. One park owner said their 2017 membership fee was $500 – but the bill for 2018 was more than $10,000. Other RV park owners report similar astronomical membership hikes. The Bureau says that RV parks hadn’t been hit with fee increases in more than 20 years. Other types of businesses were also hit with hikes, but not like RV parks. Restaurateurs are paying $70 more, and golf courses, $30 more.

Manzanar by Ansel Adams

An increasingly popular National Historic Site, Manzanar, which recalls the history of the World War II internment of American citizens of Japanese descent, has temporarily closed its auto tour road. The tour is a 3.2-mile route through the camp and is presently a dirt road. Increasing visitation is creating a safety issue, and the Park Service has closed it to be repaved to meet its original war-era surface. The road will reopen near the end of April. The park visitor center and other exhibits remain open. Manzanar NHS is six miles south of Independence, Calif., on Highway 395.

Public testimony before the Santee, Calif., government has evidently moved the city council there to change parking regulations with regard to RVs. One witness described parked RVs as “road roaches,” imploring council members to do something. And do something, they did: A promised ordinance will require a parked RV to be moved at least 300 feet every 72 hours, and prohibits RV parking within 50 feet of an intersection or crosswalk. The current fine for unlawful RV parking is $72 but, says local media, the council “may raise that rate in order to make a statement.” To ease the pain for RVers, council members say they’ll update zoning to allow for more RV storage facilities.


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Jacksonport, Wisc., may have a new RV park, after a proposal to build one got unanimous approvals from both the planning commission and town board, and most recently a 3-1 “yes” vote from the resource planning committee. But it’s still a “maybe” situation, as some local residents are calling for a lawsuit, if needed, to stop the park. A local family wants to build a 131-site RV park but locals are having a fit, claiming that the hearings to approve the development happened when a lot of residents were out of the area. Traffic issues and “destruction of town character” are principle arguments raised by opposers.

Come next summer there should be more room for overnight RVers in Seaside, Ore. The Circle Creek RV Resort on U.S. 101 has changed hands, and the new owners say they hope to double the existing 44-site park by putting in more sites on the south end of the grounds.

Woodsman – spare that tree! Or maybe you’ll go to jail, at least if you cut down a tree in a national park. Back in 2013, somebody heard the sound of a night-operating chainsaw in the Olympic National Forest (Wash.) and reported it, but by the time rangers could respond, the sawyers had vanished. Next night, the same noise – this time, rangers caught three men cutting up a big-leaf maple. They’d already sold some of the wood from their first-night operation to a musical instrument wood supplier. Now Michael Welches (63) will spend 30 days in prison, Matthew Hutto (50) gets 60 days behind bars and three years’ probation, and they have to pay $17,500 restitution. A third man, in prison on other charges, will be sentenced later. While the “cash” value of the tree was $8,766, federal prosecutors label a tree in the park ecosystem as “irreplaceable.”

According to Statistical Surveys, Erwin Hymer Group North America led the North American market for Class B motorhomes in 2017 with more than a 32.5 percent retail market share in North America. The company produces the brands Roadtrek, Hymer, Carado and Sunlight.

Photo: Rural Metro Fire

Well, here’s one way to dispose of an unwanted motorhome. Wednesday morning in Merlin, Ore., a train hit an unoccupied RV that appeared “to have been left on the track intentionally,” firefighters in Josephine County said. Crews found the remains of the full-size motorhome “strewn about” the scene on Merlin Landfill Road, Rural Metro Fire said on Facebook. The crew on the train was uninjured. Source: kval.com.

After kicking the issue of RV parking around for nearly a year, Hernando, Fla., county officials have finally made a decision: Just let it be. Under the existing rules, property owners who live in neighborhoods that allow mobile homes can keep an RV on their lot for up to six months. They’ll still need to obtain a permit from the county, but with it, the RV evidently can be lawfully lived in.

A plan to build a 60-site RV park in Chattanooga, Tenn., has gotten the thumbs down after locals fired a 200-signature petition against it. The local planning agency said the plan for the five-acre property didn’t meet the area land use plan, nor was it compatible with the nearby residential use.


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norfolkdailynews.com

Nebraska State Patrol Trooper Andy Allen spotted this van with Nevada plates westbound on I-80 last Sunday morning, just west of Grand Island. Its height made it a dangerous rig on a day with wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph. Allen said he pulled behind the van and noticed its two driver-side wheels were lifting off the road a couple of inches because of the wind. The driver drove into a truck stop with the trooper following. He wasn’t issued a ticket but was advised to stay off the road until the wind died down. The message on the Nebraska State Patrol Facebook page: “Be safe and stay alert around high-profile vehicles.” Source: norfolkdailynews.com

An RV owner who shot a man twice in the chest in Highlands, Texas, is not facing arrest after police said his actions were “self defense.” The unnamed RVer was parked at Hunter’s RV Park on Thursday, February 15, when he heard noises outside his rig. Stepping outside he encountered a suspected drunken driver parked in front of his RV. The RVer told police the man attacked him, so he pulled a weapon and shot. The driver was medevacked from the scene.

Garfield, CO, County Sheriff

Mysterious duct-taped plastic bottles have been floating up onshore along the Roaring Fork River in Colorado. It’s not a gift from the gods – the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office warns that some of them contain hazardous materials, probably “gifts” from clandestine methamphetamine producers. The sheriff warns anyone finding these floaters to not touch them, but contact local law enforcement.

It’s getting harder all the time to find a campsite without a reservation, often months ahead of time. In Iowa, reservations at state parks may now be made starting February 25th for the busy Memorial Day weekend. “Campers can make reservations for sites three months ahead of their first night stay,” said Todd Coffelt, chief of the DNR State Parks Bureau. It will be the first camping season that 75 percent of the available campsites can be reserved online, leaving only 25 percent available on a first-come, first-served basis. The previous split was 50-50, but Coffelt says the change was made to help attract out-of-state campers who rely on having a spot reserved before traveling. 


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Return to RV Travel Issue 834.

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5 thoughts on “RV News for February 17–23, 2018

  1. Fae Gisler

    It’s not surprising to see an increase in RV sales, especially here in CA. With the horrible fires in past months an mudslides that followed, I imagine folks are using RVs as temporary homes until they are able to rebuild. We don’t plan on being able to get a site anywhere near the wine country or in the Santa Barbara/LA area!

  2. Pat

    Sad that with such shortages in campgrounds, there are so many stories about so many being turned down by their towns etc. Like an uphill battle with a strong head wind and slippery slope.

  3. Carl Amos

    Cass County Park near Texarkana, Texas; This comes from their website: http://www.wrightpatmanlake.com/cass-county-park/ “The park does not have wireless Internet or cable TV connections. Restrooms are available onsite, but there are no showers or laundry facilities. No ATVs, firearms or fireworks are permitted inside the park.”

    No thank you, I’ll go someplace else.

  4. Casey

    You mentioned that the Cass County Park near Texarkana, Texas, was suffering from a low reservation rate. I was curious as to why. I Googled the site and it sent me to http://www.wrightpatmanlake.com/cass-county-park/
    There are a few things I found disheartening about this site. My biggest pet peeve about websites are missing rates. It says I can camp there, but how much? No rates are shown. It shows a nice picture of the lake, but what does the campground look like? Are they hiding something about the park that is ugly? It gives the park number to call for more info, but how do I make reservations? Is there a website/phone number I can use? And lastly, this park only offers 30 amp service with a max of a 40 foot rig. Based on these factors, I wouldn’t look into this park further unless it was my only option. I wonder if the park knows that if the proper information isn’t listed in their advertisements people will ignore them.

  5. Dr4Film ----- Richard

    To clarify and correct the information in this article about Blue Spring State Park, the park referenced is actually called Lafayette Blue Springs State Park, not Blue Spring State Park. The latter park is located on the St Johns River in Volusia County near Orange City.

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