RV News for April 7–13, 2018

breaking-newsReturn to RV Travel Issue 841.

The opening two months of 2018 have proved fruitful for towable RV manufacturers. According to Statistical Surveys Inc., January and February saw a 9.4 percent increase in registrations compared to 2017. Fifth wheels regained stature, up 11 percent, while travel trailers were up better than 2 percent. Park models shone with sales up nearly 34 percent; but at the same time, “pop ups” continued in a downward spiral, losing more than 11 percent in sales. 

Horry County, S.C., will soon be home to a rather large RV resort. Sun Communities is already working on the first phase of what will eventually be an 840-site RV park near Highway 22. Phase one should open with close to 500 sites on the 300-acre property by spring next year. The balance of the project will be brought online in a couple of years. 

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Last year the flower bloom at the Carrizo Plain National Monument (Calif.) was so bodacious it could be seen from space. This year, sorry, don’t count on anything near as spectacular. The plain is nearly 50 miles long and ranges up to 15 miles in width. Last year, heavy rains popped up flowers – and 100,000+ visitors. But this year the rain was fickle, leaving only an inch, barely a trace compared to the same period last year. Officials say they hope folks will come and visit despite the paucity of posies.

Campgrounds in Washington’s Olympic National Forest are beginning their seasonal opening on the following dates: Seal Rock, April 26; Satsop, May 1; Coho, Brown Creek, Hamma Hamma, Lena Creek and Collins, May 18; Dungeness, tentatively by Memorial Day. Don’t set your hopes on Falls View: Trees with root rot are being cleared and the campground is closed for the season. 

In fall 2016, Louisiana’s Lake Fausse Pointe State Park suffered devastating damage due to flood waters. Now the campground is being reopened for overnight use. A “staggered soft opening” is planned for May, allowing for unanticipated damage to be located and repaired. 

Photo: BLM. Click for larger image.

Flooding in Idaho left plenty of damage behind at the popular Birch Creek Campground. The Bureau of Land Management-operated area is still open, but the campground itself is closed as roads accessing it have been washed out, with some gaps as deep as 3 1/2 feet, and some campsites washed away. The agency says it will make roadway repairs as quickly as possible to allow camping to resume.

Following the pattern of many other state park systems, North Carolina reports record visitation during 2017 – 19.4 million. That means more than 3 percent more visitors, making for the fourth consecutive annual peak. 

Saturday, April 7, saw tropical storm rains inundate roads in Yosemite National Park (Calif.). The Merced River crested four feet over flood stage, closing roads and campgrounds, but by Sunday the park itself had reopened. As of Tuesday, all in-valley campgrounds were open.


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An old place in Sierra County, Calif., opens up anew. Webber Lake Campground, a 45-site campground (no hookups), lies about an hour north of Lake Tahoe. The campground lies on a bird migration route and on the edge of a stocked lake. It’s the first time in many years the campground is open to the public. What makes it possible is the property is now in the hands of the Truckee Donner Land Trust. Sites will open June 29, and the season is open until October 15. Shaded sites have a picnic table, fire pit and, of course, a mandatory “bear box” to keep Yogi and friends at bay. Info and reservations here.

Nearly five years ago, California’s Benbow Lake State Recreation Area campground at Garberville was closed because of budget reductions. Now the campground is coming back online, with two-thirds of the campground available on a reservation basis and the remaining sites on a “walk-up” basis. 

Is your RV – like your house – your castle? The United States Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals apparently thinks so. A Pennsylvania crime investigator sniffed out somebody using the internet to transmit or receive child pornography. Tracing the IP address of the user, police were issued a search warrant for the home and “all vehicles” at the address. Turns out, the offending computer user was living in a fifth wheel at the address, but not in the specified home. His lawyer contended that the fifth wheel didn’t constitute a “vehicle” as the defendant was living inside the rig, therefore the search warrant didn’t apply. The court agreed, quashing the use of evidence as fruits of an unreasonable search. Prosecutors have appealed the ruling.

A former Washington state woman’s bequest has dumped a bucket of resources on the state’s three national parks. The estate of Bette Wallace is seeing to it that a million dollars is getting to the parks. Two of them, Olympic and Mount Rainier, will use the windfall for increased ranger and employee safety with a new computer dispatch system. The third, North Cascades, says its share will improve infrastructure for park volunteers. 

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news524(2)More News

News reports concerning the lightning death near Lake City, Fla., last weekend seemed to indicate the victim was inside an RV when killed. Kourtney Lambert, 23, and four others were attempting to shelter from a lightning storm at the Woodpecker Mud Bog, and some news services reported they had “hidden inside” a fifth wheel trailer. However, other sources reveal the group had taken shelter underneath the rig’s overhang near the king pin. Lightning struck a tree nearby and the current evidently spread along the damp ground to the RV. Lambert was killed outright; the others with her were injured. It’s the first lightning death in Florida this year. 

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Oxbow Regional Park, a county-owned facility near Gresham, Ore., will be a bit more camper friendly soon. An infusion of $3.2 million for improvements will include 17 more campsites – 7 of which are really “new” and 10 others replace those lost to flooding in 2012. The lion’s share of the funding will go for an all-new visitor center with interpretive exhibits.

Blame it on the long, cold winter, say officials: Manitoba’s Altona Centennial Park Campground will be getting a good workout this season. Reservations are coming in at a rate 50 percent higher than typical springs in the past – more than 300 nights reserved on opening day of reservation ability.

No camping at Iowa’s Ledges State Park: The popular campground at the park near Boone is shut down for campground renovation. Officials say they’re upgrading the electrical service and will be adding 50-amp service to some existing non-electric sites. Meanwhile, park managers say they’re trying to figure out a campground alternative for overnighters during the project – which will stretch into 2019.


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When it comes to campsites in Manitoba, which ones “go first” when reservation time opens? If you said high-end RV sites, you’re correct. Provincial park officials think the swing is away from canvas-sided tents to composite-sided RVs with slideouts and a big desire for electricity. Manitoba park managers are working to upgrade sites as budgets allow. 

Teton County, Wyo., has come up on the losing end of the stick in a case heard before the state’s Supreme Court. At issue: The county tried to prohibit shared ownership of campgrounds. The case was brought by a man who had tried to sell individual campsites; the county said he violated its fractional-ownership ban. The court determined that the county could not lawfully regulate ownership of land, only its use.

Firefighters rushed to a reported motorhome fire in The Dalles, Ore., on April 8. A probably embarrassed RVer told responders she’d simply stared a fire in the rig’s wood stove to take the chill off.

Firefighters in Pierce County, Wash., got an early morning call-out on April 5. At 3:58 a.m., reports came in of a travel trailer on fire on the Key Peninsula. Smoke eaters rushed to the scene and found the rig fully involved but, happily, everyone who had been inside was out and safe. Less than two hours later firemen reported the fire out – and the cause: Someone had set a “bottle rocket” on the door hinges of the trailer – and it had flown inside the rig, not out.


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Return to RV Travel Issue 841.

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