Page 1

Online PR News – 19June-2011 –Milford, OH Jellystone Park CampResorts are among the highest rated campgrounds in the country, with 20 percent of Jellystone Parks receiving 5W / 5W ratings in the 2011 edition of the Woodall’s North American Campground Directory. “We’re obviously pleased that Woodall’s finds many our parks worthy of their

highest ratings,” said Rob Schutter, COO of Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems Inc., which is actively recruiting high quality independent parks to join the Jellystone Park franchise system.

and physical facilities, including its physical grounds, roads, campsites, hookups, and restrooms. Woodall’s rates park by assigning them 1W to 5W ratings for both park facilities and recreation.

While Jellystone Parks are famous for offering their guests unique family activities and special themed weekends, the Woodall’s rankings focus on the park’s recreational

According to the Woodall’s 2011 directory, top rated parks in the Jellystone Park system Continued Page 2

Continued from Page 1 slide. The Fremont Indiana campground also offers miniature golf. Rental accommodations include rustic and deluxe cabins.

Rob Schutter are located in the following cities: - Amboy, Illinois: Amenities include a double-plume waterslide, miniature golf, a gem-mining sluice, an outdoor movie theater, two entertainment stages and four playgrounds, plus three swimming pools, two kiddie pools, two adult spas and two fishing lakes with paddle boat and kayak rentals. The 700-site campground in Amboy, Illinois also offers a variety of rental accommodations, including discovery tents, cabins, cottages and park models. - Fremont, Indiana: This park features three outdoor pools, one indoor pool, a splash park, and a ZoomFlume waterslide that includes a speed and tube

- Lawrence, Kansas: Amenities at this park include a swimming pool and jumping pillow as well as pedal car and canoe rentals. The Lawrence Kansas RV park also offers RV rentals in addition to cabin and park model accommodations. - Hagerstown, Maryland: This park features two 400foot water slides, Ranger’s Revenge and Picnic Plunge, and a 3,200 square foot heated interactive pool with a beach entry full of bubblers, an 8-foot Raindrop, built-in seating for adults with hydrotherapy jets, fountain jets that spray across the width of the pool, plus volleyball nets. Other amenities at the campground in Hagerstown Maryland include a new Water Wars battle station, LaZer Tag, a 1,000-foot pedal cart track and miniature golf. Accommodations include luxury and cozy cabins. - Frankenmuth, Michigan: Amenities at this Michigan

Campground include miniature golf, a 25- by 52foot indoor pool and a 12by 12-foot adults only hot tub. Rental trailers and cabins are also available. - Austin, Minnesota: This southern Minnesota RV park features a new jumping pillow, three water slides, a gem mining sluice, cycle and pedal cart rentals, mini golf, animal petting pens, kids train and hay wagon rides, fishing ponds and pedal boats. Rental accommodations include rustic and park model cabins. - Pelahatchie, Mississippi: Amenities at this park include mini golf, wagon rides, a fishing lake, outdoor theater and a splash playground with a huge picnic basket that dumps water. The central Mississippi campground also offers cabin and lodge rentals. - North Hudson, New York: This upstate New York RV park has a jumping pillow, a gem mining sluice, train rides, pedal carts and a ceramics center. Rental accommodations include rustic cabins, park models and trailers.

- Gardiner, New York: Located in New York’s famed Hudson River Valley, this park offers loft and gable roof cabin rentals in addition to RV and tent sites. The southeastern New York campground is close to many popular tourist attractions, including Springwood, the estate of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and site of the nation’s first Presidential Library; the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; the Vanderbilt Museum and Garden; and the historic town of Newburgh, which is home to the Orange County Choppers, a custom motorcycle manufacturer featured on the Discovery Channel. - Woodridge, New York: This park, situated in the Catskill Mountains, offers outdoor laser tag, two children’s playgrounds, a five-acre lake stocked with bass and bluegills, rowboat and paddleboat rentals and fire truck rides. Cabin, park model and trailer rentals are also available at the Woodridge NY campground. - Harrisville, Pennsylvania: This park, which just recently joined the Jellystone Park chain, offers Continued

Continued a swimming pool, miniature golf, four-wheel bike rentals and hiking trails. This Harrisville PA campground offers Rental cabins, park models and yurts. - Mill Run, Pennsylvania: This park’s amenities include paint ball, mini golf, a mining sluice, two swimming pools, waterslides, and a splash park. The park also has a professional massage therapist. Rental accommodations range from basic cabins to park models and RVs at this Mill Run Pennsylvania campground.

- Gatlinburg, Tennessee: Located near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this wooded and scenic Tennessee RV park features swimming and kiddie pools, a playground, miniature golf and a Yogi Theater. Rental accommodations include rustic and deluxe cabins. - Caledonia, Wisconsin: Amenities at this park include a dunk tank, a jumping pillow, fishing pond, splashground with two waterslides, carpet ball (a cross between shuffleboard and pool) and an outdoor theater. Cabin rentals at the Caledonia WI campground are also available.

- Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin: This RV park at Wisconsin Dells offers a water playground with water slides and rental accommodations range from basic cabins to park models and yurts. - Niagara Falls, Ontario: This family campground in Ontario features a large heated pool and kiddie pool, an 18 hole miniature golf course, pedal cart rentals, wagon rides and a movie theatre. Shuttle rides to the falls are also available as well as cabin and park model rentals. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts are franchised through Leisure

Systems, Inc. (LSI), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Park River Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information, visit

Jack Baker, 55, left, is the owner of Baker's Acres Campground in Little Egg Harbor Township. His sons Johnny, 27, and Jason, 25, are the managers. "When my kids were get more freedom here handles the job of making When Jack Baker, 54, and growing up, I gave them than you would at a troublemakers leave the his wife, Maureen, 50, go the freedom to chase their different job," John Baker campground. to work at Baker's Acres dreams because that was said. Campground at the edge of important to me that they And when working in the the Pinelands in Little Egg had their chance to do Jack Baker knows what it's family business, pleasing Harbor Township, New whatever they wanted to like to work at your dad's the boss brings its own Jersey, it's like attending a do. The door was open for business. Baker took over special rewards, said son family reunion. them to come back," Jack campground operations Jason. Baker said. when his dad died in 1977, All three of the Bakers' but he never pressured his "Because it is a high-stress children - Monica BakerEach family member has children to make the family environment with people Frazer 29; John, 26; and his or her own business their careers. always having problems, Jason, 25 - work at the responsibilities, but the Jason Baker traveled to when he (Jack) can relax, campground and live in whole family works California to try to make his when he smiles, when we Little Egg Harbor Township, together to do landscaping living as an actor. John can make him laugh - those like their parents. and projects. Jack Baker Baker considered entering are my proudest moments," will listen to different points the military to become a Jason said. "It's really cool to work with of view and opinions, but if pilot. Monica Baker-Frazer Article & Photo: my dad and my mom, necessary, he will make tried real estate. brother and sister. I enjoy the final decision. He also the creative process. You

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Production on Go RVing's new “Away” advertising campaign begins this summer, with a debut scheduled for the Louisville Show in the fall. The integrated television/print/digital campaign, developed by The Richards Group and a work group of 16 coalition representatives, represents a shift back to the emotiondriven family focus of past campaigns, although a secondary emphasis on affordability and flexibility will remain. The ads will also include a call to action to visit dealerships. "'Away' is more than a word," said Richards Creative Group Head Glenn Dady. "It can be a place, an experience, or a

means to pursue your passions on your own timetable and budget. 'Away' is a highly personal concept which will resonate in different ways across our entire target audience." Three TV spots and four print ads will be produced this summer, featuring multi-generational families enjoying outdoor activities together in beautiful natural settings, including RV campgrounds. The RVs featured in each ad will be chosen by lottery. “The No. 1 goal of Go RVing should be selling the dream,” said RVDA past chairman Debbie Brunoforte, who served on the creative work group. “These ads do the job.”

4, do at the Larkspur Jellystone?

Ladea Dante and her family have a motorhome and they camp frequently throughout the summer. But they don’t go very far. In fact, their favorite campground, the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Larkspur, Colo., is only five minutes away from their home. “You don’t have to go a long way to have fun camping with your kids,” Dante said. “It’s not about who drives the furthest. It’s just about taking that time and just being with your kids.” So what do Ladea Dante, her husband and their three kids, ages 13, 9 and

Larkspur Jellystone

“We go on hikes and we play games,” she said. “It’s like summer camp. There’s organized activities and there’s also free time.” Jellystone Parks, in fact, are famous for organized family activities and themed weekends as well as their pancake breakfasts and visits from Yogi Bear. Larkspur’s summer events include face painting, arts and crafts, archery and night movies as well as themed weekends, including Pirates of the Campground weekend July 29th to 31st with Pioneer and Native American themed weekends and related activities slated for the first two weekends in August. The park’s activities are so much fun that the Ladea

and her kids often spend days at a time at the park, while her husband goes off to work. But when he has time off, he spends it at Jellystone Park with Ladea and their children. “We just have a blast,” Ladea Dante said. “His day off is now so much fun compared to being at home.” Other families across the country have made similar discoveries, including Michele and Keith Ervin of Oak Creek, Wis., who live just two miles away from the Jellystone Park CampResort in Caledonia, which they often visit with their two boys, ages 3 and 7. “We’re in a different state of mind when we’re at Jellystone,” said Keith Ervin, 36. “We’re not at home, so we’re not going the daily grind of laundry and yard work. It feels like we’re a hundred miles from home. The other great

Caledonia Jellystone

thing is that it enables us to get the kids away from TV and electronics so that we can get them involved in nature hikes and other outdoor activities.” And because the Jellystone Park is so close to their home, it’s easy for the Ervins to take their kids to weekend sporting events and still have time to enjoy the many planned activities at the campground, including ice cream socials and outdoor movies. This summer’s themed events also include Christmas in July and Caribbean Princess and Pirates weekends. Meanwhile, Tami McDonald, 41, of Pittsfield, Ill. said her favorite place to go with her husband and three girls, ages 2, 4, and 8, is the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Pine Lake, partly because the park Continued

Continued offers beach camping, planned activities and it’s only a few miles from their home. Working at two hospitals as an anesthesiologist, Tami McDonald also said she gets little time off, but it’s easy to meet her husband and the kids at the park for mini vacations whenever she does have time to get away. In fact, the McDonalds leave their fifth wheel on a campsite at the Jellystone Park all summer so that it’s all set up and ready to use whenever they need it. They even have family members in town who leave their trailer at the park and bring their kids to the campground for weekend rendezvous. “We’ve also got friends in town who are thinking about moving their campers out to the campground and just leaving them there for the season,” McDonald said.

Pine Lake Jellystone

November 6-9, 2011 (Expo on Nov. 9) South Point Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV Contact: (406) 248-7444 November 11-12, 2011 On the Internet Contact: (877) 901-3976 November 14-17, 2011 Embassy Suites, Covington, KY Contact: (513) 831-2100 Michele Wisher Michele Wisher, Director of Marketing for Milford, Ohiobased Leisure Systems Inc., which franchises the Jellystone Park chain, said there are families across the country who live within minutes of Jellystone Parks and spend their vacation time there rather than make long-distance trips. “Families are doing this because they want to spend more quality time together and because they like the outdoor recreation, organized activities and family entertainment that Jellystone Parks provide,” she said.

November 28 – December 2, 2011 Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort Spa & Savannah International Trade & Convention Center, Savannah, GA Contact: (303) 681-0401

Imagine bird watching at the place where Alfred Hitchcock filmed his horror classic, “The Birds,” or walking through the lush, ancient forest where Steven Spielberg filmed “Jurassic Park.” Or going to a place where the chances of spotting whales are so good that people bring their lawn chairs and wait for them to swim by. Now imagine black sand beaches and towering redwoods that are among the tallest trees on the Earth and a coastline so beautiful that it’s as enticing to kayak enthusiasts as it is to people who dive for abalone or fish for salmon. Welcome to California’s North Coast, one of the most scenic regions of the state. “For me, California’s North Coast is awe-inspiring,” said Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. “The region is famous for its redwoods, but its history is equally compelling and enticing to those who want to learn more about California. So is the region’s architecture, which includes some of the best preserved Victorian mansions in the country.” Sipe added that campgrounds, RV parks and resorts are located

throughout the area, which provide numerous opportunities for affordable weekend getaways and summer vacation trips. Consider the activities that travelers can do while staying at the following parks: Albion River Campground and Marina near Mendocino: This park, located along the Albion River where the river meets the Pacific Ocean, is one of only two sites along the Mendocino Coast that offer sheltered river moorage and ocean access. The petfriendly campground, which includes RV and tent sites, is very popular with abalone dive clubs, as well as avid cod and salmon fishing groups, crab lovers and canoe and kayak enthusiasts. Campground amenities include an on-site café as well as a camp store and canoe and kayak rentals.

Bodega Bay RV Park in Bodega Bay: This park is conveniently located for many activities, including seal watching. Park at the lower parking lot at nearby Goat Rock State Beach and you’ll find a large herd of seals bathing in the sun, slipping in and out of the water and surfing the current where the Russian River joins the sea. Other nearby activities include crabbing (from early November through June), salmon fishing and whale

watching at Bodega Head. “People bring their lawn chairs to sit while they wait for the whales to pass by,” said Nancy Pearson, assistant manager of Bodega Bay RV Park. Dean Creek Resort in Redway: Activities near this park include salmon and steelhead fishing in the Eel River, day trips in drift boats, rock hounding in the Eel River, picnicking and exploring the black sand beaches of California’s “Lost Coast,” and hiking the “Avenue of the Giants,” the world’s tallest trees. Dean Creek Resort includes a motel, park model cabins and RV sites. Caspar Beach RV Park and Campground in Mendocino: Activities at this park, which is located right on the beach, include fishing, kayaking and diving for abalone, which is permitted from April 1st to June 30th and again from Aug. 1st to Nov. 30th. Kayak rentals are available at the park.

Casini Ranch Family Campground in Duncan Mills: This park, located along the Russian River about 60 miles north of San Francisco, has hayrides, weekend bonfires with marshmallow roasting as well as outdoor

movies on holiday weekends. Canoe and kayak rentals are also available. Kamp Klamath RV Park and Campground in Klamath: The private campground, which has a quarter mile of frontage along the Klamath River, offers tours into the heart of Bigfoot country. “We actually go to places where Bigfoot has been spotted,” said campground owner Aaron Funk. “We also talk about the redwoods and the pioneering and tribal history of the area.” The park also offers tours to magnificent Fern Canyon, a site so lush and beautiful that it was used in some of the filming of the movie “Jurassic Park.” Klamath River RV Park in Klamath: This park offers a wide range of activities, including salmon fishing and proximity to several local parks that feature towering redwood trees. On-site entertainment includes ice cream socials and Karaoke. “There’s good salmon fishing this year,” said park owner Jack Fillmer, adding that the salmon had a spring run this year after several years of drought. “The water in the river is up,” he said.


Continued Mad River Rapids RV Park in Arcata: This park is located just north of Eureka, whose attractions include Fort Humbolt State Park, which was where General Ulysses S. Grant was stationed before leading Union troops during the Civil War. The Eureka region has a rich history involving everything from the activities of Russian fur trappers to battles with Native Americans and, more recently, an unsuccessful effort to create the “State of Jefferson,” a proposed U.S. state that would include several rural areas of Northern California and Southern Oregon.

Redwoods River Resort & Campground in Leggett: This park, which has RV and tent sites as well as cabin and motel room rentals, features movie nights, rock painting, ice cream socials, Karaoke nights and “Find the Rock” games in which children search for brightly colored rocks in exchange for a prize. Numerous events are also scheduled for July 4th weekend, including a chocolate pie eating contest, a canoe race in the pool, a tug of war and water balloon toss as well as Karaoke by the campfire and an ice cream social. Labor Day weekend activities include a “Find the Rock” hunt, Karaoke by the campfire, a movie night,

an ice cream social and bingo.

Redwoods RV Resort in Crescent City: This park is conveniently located for architecture enthusiasts who want to tour the cities of Crescent City and Ferndale, which have some of California’s best preserved Victorian homes and mansions. Riverbend Resort in Forestville: This park is located adjacent to Korbel Champagne Cellars in a valley lined with lush vineyards and steep hillsides. Several of its campsites have views of the Russian River. Visitors

Debbie Sipe: CalARVC enjoy swimming and lounging along the river or take advantage of the area’s well known canoe trips. Burkes Canoe Rentals is close to the park as well as Armstrong Woods State Park, which offers hiking trails among the area’s old-growth redwood trees.

The tally continues to climb, with hundreds of insurance and provincial disaster assistance claims and millions of dollars in damage. Last Saturday marked the one year anniversary of the biggest flood in Maple Creek's history. On June 18 of last year, more than three inches of rain fell in 36 hours, triggering a massive disaster that left many people homeless. Pernell and Rebne Lehr owners of Eagle Valley Campground say the roar of the water was surreal. It was coming right at their campground -- and home next to the main office -just west of Maple Creek. The water was coming right through a semi-new spillway built by the government. "They built this structure in 2008 and didn't change the drainage on the (TransCanada) highway. I don't know whose call that was, but it just flooded us out. That's what happened," Pernell said. It's also what contributed to the destruction of some lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway. Wonder why? The water in Eagle Valley Campground was more than 12 metres deep.

It drained quickly, but the damage remains -replacing the electric lines alone will cost half a million dollars. But, that's not stopping them from being optimistic. "We're going to go ahead and do what we can with what we've got," he said. For the Lehrs to rebuild, about a $250,000 will have to come out of their own pocket, which is difficult when half their sites are closed. Pernell estimates they're losing about $150,000 a year until they can reopen the lower valley campsites. "It's a financial struggle to keep up and running until we can rebuild. It basically took half of everything," he said. The Lehrs did receive money from the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program, along with 599 people who also made claims. So far the province had paid out almost $6 million dollars in total. Much of that for things not covered under home insurance. But some people did get coverage through their insurance provider -- 360 claims have been received by SGI, most of them sewer backups. That's cost

Eagle Valley Campground the company about $5 million. But SGI is just one of a number of companies receiving claims from its clients.

There were some vehicle casualties too, 70 of them. That cost SGI about $500,000.

The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) requested McDermott, Will & Emery to further research questions concerning the ADA guidelines as to what is “readily achievable” with the Department of Justice concerning regulations for swimming pools and spas. “ARVC is not in a position to give individual legal advice and we encourage our members to use the ADA Info Line: (800) 5140301 for specific questions about the regulations,” ARVC stated in a recent email to its members. ”The DOJ will talk to individual property owners about their particular circumstances which should also provide sound and well qualified advice, however, when in doubt seek legal counsel.” Meanwhile, the following is a response from Cecilia Showalter of MWE: I spoke to someone at the ADA hotline, and I conducted case law research regarding the definition of “readily achievable” barrier removals. The case law was not particularly helpful in depicting exactly what kind of cost/effort courts consider “readily achievable.” The case law was instructive, however, in showing how lawsuits over accessibility are resolved. For instance, Plaintiffs bringing a suit against a business owner have to

make an initial showing that there are barriers preventing disabled access and they have to detail the accommodations that the business owner would have to make. Through the course of litigation, a Plaintiff will then have to hire an expert to provide evidence of how much the required barrier removal would cost the business owner. Then, the burden of persuasion shifts to the defendant (business owner) to demonstrate that the scope of compliance (the proposed alterations and the estimated costs) would be disproportionate or not “readily achievable.” We provided the following factors to ARVC, which is the only guidance DOJ gives on “readily achievable” (I’ve copied it here as a reminder). The hotline person told me two additional things about this (which appears below): The regulations require only that barriers to entry are removed so that your pool conforms with the requirements for disabled access “to the extent readily achievable.” The DOJ has stated that “readily achievable” means that it is “easily accomplishable without much difficulty or expense.” Specifically, the definitions section of the regulation at 28 C.F.R. § 36.104 provides the following factors to be considered

when evaluating whether a barrier removal is readily achievable: (1) The nature and cost of the action needed under this part; (2) The overall financial resources of the site or sites involved in the action; the number of persons employed at the site; the effect on expenses and resources; legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation, including crime prevention measures; or the impact otherwise of the action upon the operation of the site; (3) The geographic separateness, and the administrative or fiscal relationship of the site or sites in question to any parent corporation or entity; (4) If applicable, the overall financial resources of any parent corporation or entity; the overall size of the parent corporation or entity with respect to the number of its employees; the number, type and location of its facilities; and (5) If applicable, the type of operation or operations of any parent corporation or entity, including the composition, structure, and functions of the workforce of the parent corporation or entity. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Justice guidance states: “Determining what is readily achievable will vary from business to business and sometimes from one

year to the next. Changing economic conditions can be taken into consideration in determining what is readily achievable. Economic downturns may force many public accommodations to postpone removing some barriers. The barrier removal obligation is a continuing one and it is expected that a business will move forward with its barrier removal efforts when it rebounds from such downturns.” (Italics added.) U.S. Department of Justice, ADA Update: A Primer for Small Business (2011). It is important to consult with an expert on what changes you will need to make under the new rules and how much of a financial burden it will be for your business. The hotline DOJ staffer told me that the hotline itself was created so that businesses could call in with their specific questions about the regulations. She told me specifically that business owners may call to tell the hotline about their specific situation, and that they could provide guidance to the business owners about whether a proposed barrier removal would be readily achievable or not. Also, for specific, technical questions, business owners may call the Access Board, which drafted the technical requirements for elements like pools and spas. The numbers for each are below. ADA : 800-514-0301 Access Board: 800-8722253

WASHINGTON COUNTY— The 400-foot-tall water slides were tempting, but the swimmers at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort near Williamsport weren’t there to play: They were there to break a world record. The Jellystone water park and the pool at Martin L. “Marty” Snook Memorial Park in Halfway were Washington County’s venues Tuesday in The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. The event was designed to inform children about water safety and aimed to beat last year’s Guinness World Record of 3,971 participants from 34 states and five countries. This year, all 50 states and 12 countries were involved, according to the WLSL website.

Between the two local pools, Washington County added more than 80 participants to this year’s total. “It’s for kids to learn how to be safe around water and how not to be afraid of water. When they get scared and panic, then it can become a much more serious situation,” said Jellystone General Manager Carrie Cirrito. “It’s so fun to be a part of it.” Cirrito said the park was recruited by the World Waterpark Association, one of many organizations sponsoring the event. Marsha Moats, program coordinator of the Washington County Recreation Department, said the Halfway pool was running a weeklong swimming program with

Girls Inc. on the scheduled date and decided to get involved. Sixty-one girls participated with the help of eight swimming instructors, she said. “We were just hoping to spread the word about swimming lessons and that they save lives,” Moats said. “It was super, super successful.” The lesson plan provided by WLSL covered beginner

curriculum, including entering the water, submergence, bobbing, floating and basic swimming techniques. “It was very well-organized. The handbook walks you through step by step. It made putting everything together pretty easy,” Moats said. Jellystone instructors Kelly Harold and Tracey Artz Continued


witness records, photographs and videos are required.

said they had been preparing for the event for about a week. “Water is fun, but water is dangerous,” Harold said. “(The kids) enjoyed it. Even though most of them knew how to swim, they said they still had fun.” At Jellystone, participation was free for anyone older than 3. The 45-minute lesson started at 11 a.m., and swimmers were encouraged to stay and enjoy the water park afterward.

The information is due next week, Cirrito said.

The Girls Inc. swimmers in Halfway divided into groups based on ability, and each group practiced different techniques. WLSL participants have to carefully record the event in order to be part of the Guinness World Record, Cirrito said. Log sheets,

For Jamie Wainwright and his 6-year-old daughter, Haley, the lesson marked the first summer she was able to swim without a life jacket. “I look for anything to do to get her to work on her swimming skills,” Wainwright said. “This is a momentous summer.”

Moats said the Halfway pool offers Red Cross swimming lessons starting next week. This is the first time Jellystone has sponsored swimming lessons. “I think the lesson went great. They learned a lot. I was very impressed with the teachers,” Cirrito said. “We had thought about offering swimming lessons before but decided not to. We may have to rethink that.” Article:

Andy Skelton takes a break from picking through the remains of his parent's RV home that was destroyed, as well as thier car, in a brush fire at Top of the Hill RV Resort just outside Boerne, TX, Monday, June 20, 2011. Photo Bob Owen/ COMFORT — A fastmoving brush fire temporarily closed Interstate 10 on Sunday afternoon and chased residents from an RV park in Kendall County where several vehicles and facilities were destroyed before the blaze was contained around nightfall. “It was terrifying,” said Kathy Lowell, who fled her home in the Top of the Hill RV Resort at the urging of emergency responders who battled the wind-stoked fire in triple-digit temperatures. Mere minutes after they first smelled smoke, the Lowells say, the fire had moved into the park, located near exit 533 of I-10, igniting propane tanks and ammunition stored in the roughly 70 travel trailers and recreational vehicles. “We couldn’t hardly breathe due to the black smoke,”

said Walt Lowell, 61, as he waited nearby at Po-Po Family Restaurant, the unofficial evacuation center, for permission to return to inspect the damage. “You could hear stuff blowing up left and right.” Preliminary damage assessments indicated that six or seven RVs were destroyed, as well as three cars and a motorcycle, plus the RV park’s clubhouse, laundry room and pavilion. “It sounds like all the main buildings at the top are burned, and some RVs,” said John Bollinger, manager of the park, which opened in 2001 and has 103 sites. Unable to return after the fire hit, he watched from beside FM 289 as the flames and smoke moved in and, finally, the park’s flagpole fell. Full Article & Photos:

By Larry

Communication and stressors are part of our environment everywhere all the time. In today’s world we have no choice about what is there, only choices about how well we communicate, how quickly we tune out poor communication (propaganda, speculation, lies, pandering, self serving sensationalism) and how well we manage the stress. The happenings of nature as we look back on the last eighteen months are great cases in point. It is a dramatic list, filled with tragedy and sorrow, suffering and devastation: heat waves, droughts, record cold, tsunamis, earthquakes, nuclear reactor meltdowns, radiation warnings, volcanic eruptions, blizzards, floods, tropical storms and tornadoes. How these happenings were reported and how they were talked about made a great difference: those involved and those looking on or indirectly impacted experienced far less stress because the communication was realistic, honest and sincere. There were, in fact, very few surprises. We

knew what was likely to happen. Afterwards we knew what did happen and for the most part why it happened and how it happened. No more and no less. Regarding responsibility for the people on your premises or in any way depending on you for safety and protection, the lesson is this: tell it straight, make sure to speak in ways that are age appropriate so that children hear it in terms they can grasp, and take plenty of questions. Of course bad news will be stressful, but hiding bad news will be far more stressful: we cannot cope with what we cannot see, hear, touch, recognize or anticipate. When communication is fudged our imaginations go wild, trust goes down, and stress goes up. We live in an information age. Communication is the reason we have signs, phones and computers, as well as writing and speaking. Information, communication and stress are part of life. Communicate well and the stress will be less.

The Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) seated new officers and board members during its May 4th board meeting held at the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana. New board members include Mike Atkinson of KOA in Billings, Mont.; Dave Burroughs of Woodland Park in Middlebury, Ind.; Jim Foltz of Forest River in Elkhart; Ind.; Joe Follman of Chariot Eagle in Ocala, Fla.; Tim Gage of Cavco Industries in Phoenix, Ariz.; Dick Grymonprez of Athens Park Homes; in Athens Texas; Larry Ladd of Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Pierceton, Ind.; Ted Huff of T.R. Arnold & Associates in Elkhart, Ind.; Alan Reder of NTA Inc. in Nappanee, Ind.; Dan Saltzgiver of Reichart’s Camping Center in Hanover, Penn.; Larry Smith of Stone Canyon Lodges in Haleyville, Ala.;

Executive Committee are Curt Yoder of Kropf Industries, Inc., from Goshen, Ind.; who previously served as RPTIA’s immediate past president; Jerome C. Loftus, Esq., RPTIA's General Counsel from Warrenton, VA; and Bill Garpow, RPTIA’s executive director from Newnan, Ga.

Bill Garpow John Soard of Fairmont Homes, Inc. in Nappanee, Ind.; and Tyler Steele of Canterbury Park Homes of Goshen, Ind. The new board then elected from among its numbers Officers who will serve for the coming year. Elected were Dick Grymonprez as president; Mike Atkinson, vice president; Secretary John Soard, and as treasurer, Tyler Steele. Joining the officers as members of the

In other action in their May 4th meeting, RPTIA’s manufacturers discussed ways to improve park model sales through more diversified marketing efforts that include social media outreach as well as the association’s efforts to share intelligence on promising financing sources with its members, dealers and RV Parks. Board members also discussed the association’s efforts to persuade the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to adopt the ANSI A119.5 as a

mandated Standard required for vacation and seasonal units between 320 to 400 square feet, when erected on site, that would be exempted from the HUD Code for Manufactured Housing. HUD’s adoption of ANSI A119.5 would also serve to preempt the creation of any state or local codes that were different than the ANSI 119.5 Standard. Based in Newnan, Ga., RPTIA is the national trade association that represents the park trailer or “park model” industry. More information is available on the association’s website at

Camping is emerging as the top choice for many families this year, as the industry touts new amenities to draw pennypinching vacationers who still want to get away, but can't afford shelling out big bucks for airline fare, posh resorts or pricey home rentals. The road to recovery started last year, when revenue for the nation's more than 13,000 privately run campgrounds and RV parks grew 3% after falling 4.8% in the wake of the recession in 2009, according to a new report by IBISWorld, which provides market intelligence on a variety of industries. Although hurt somewhat by the recession, camping didn't fall as fast as other travel segments, such as hotels and motels, whose revenue plummeted more than 9% in 2009, according to IBISWorld. The camping uptick is expected to continue for the next five years as more retiring baby boomers hit the open road. Growing up in the "height of the Boy Scout movement," boomers have a "permanent appreciation of the outdoors," IBISWorld notes in the report. "This generation is expected to be wealthier and live longer than any prior generation, making them

prime targets for an RV lifestyle." Even the RV industry, which got pummeled during the recession, is coming back, with wholesale shipments on track to grow by 7.4% in 2011, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, which says improving credit conditions are outweighing higher fuel costs and sluggish employment trends. Camping is "becoming more sophisticated as the travel industry itself is more sophisticated," said Barb Krumm, Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle beach SC's marketing director. The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, which represents 3,300 mostly privately owned member campgrounds, is overhauling its website to include more information on individual sites, including videos. The association is also reaching out to consumer packaged-goods marketers in hopes of luring more brands to campsite stores, which today typically carry a bare-bones offering of snack foods and basic medicines. Campgrounds are "like minicities. But they remain a relatively untapped market

for branded consumer products and services," said Paul Bambei, a former cable TV executive who was named the association's CEO and president late last year. Mr. Bambei is working with the Outdoor Channel in hopes of getting brands to buy ad time on the network for vignettes that would plug products like a

camping lantern, while directing viewers to the association's website. And he is also pushing for deals with retailers such as Michelin, in which they would share revenue with campgrounds in turn for referrals from campsite staff. "We're in a perfect position to direct the consumer to the place they need to go," he said. Full Article:

By Art Lieberman Once in a while, when we are discussing credit card processing with a campground owner, we get asked “how long before we get the money?” To a processor, dealing with hundreds or even thousands of merchants, this is not a “normal question” since the answer is usually the same. On Visa, MasterCard and Discover transactions, processing banks usually pay merchants within 48 hours of their closing the batch. There are some exceptions, of course. Foreign transactions can take much longer, sometimes lasting months, before foreign funds can

clear. American Express transaction can take as long as a week, since Amex handles their own payments. However, debit card transaction can sometime take LESS time than a normal credit card transaction. The delays are due to funds going through the banking clearinghouses. But, of course, there is another reason that delays can be experienced and THAT is why some campground owners ask the question. Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the banking industry understands why delays occur. Banks make their

profits on what is called “the float”. Money that remains in their systems is loaned out to consumers at interest rates from which banks derive profits. Even 24 hours is enough time for a bank to derive profits from interest on funds they hold. As a credit card processor, our bank – Woodforest National Bank – usually sends funds to campground owner’s banks within the so-called “normal” time. Banks can also withdraw their transaction fees on a daily basis, which is called “transactional billing”, money that is held from the gross transactions when the merchant batches out.

Most banks however do “monthly billing” when ALL of the charges are taken out at month’s end and appear on the statement. It is surprising, however, to see the variances which occur when we are explaining our services to campground owners. MCPS for Campgrounds and has been running FREE webinars on PCI compliance every month for several years. They also produce the Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo, which will begin on 11/10/11. Both can be reached at MCPS at 877858-9010 or at Campground Expo at 877901-EXPO (3976)

Every year Randy Work, owner of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort in Mill Run, tries to add something new to make his patrons’ camping experiences a little more special. This year, campers will enjoy a whole new way to stay cool. The park held the grand opening of Yogi Bear’s Wetlands at the center of the park, which includes Pirates Lagoon and Hurricane Mountain. Work said the day included

popcorn, snow cones and music; a Hawaiian and pirate theme; and encouraged visitors to put on their grass skirts or eye patches. “We really were trying to give it a tropical feel with palm trees and all so that campers could get that kind of atmosphere here in the north,” he said. Tracy Czambel, operations manager, said construction of the new water park began last October, although the concept and ideas were tossed around for a couple of years.

“Randy (Work) takes a lot of pride in the park and invests a lot back into it for the enjoyment of the families,” she said. Pirate Lagoon includes a huge fiberglass pirate ship, smaller slides and lots of water-spraying devices as well as a gigantic bucket of water at the top of a tower that empties out onto those below about every 3 to 5 minutes. Hurricane Mountain is the site for two new tube-like fiberglass water slides, including a loop slide and a speed slide.

The construction of the new water park was completed by Emerald FX, LLC, North American Mazur, owned by Chuck DeCaro, Norwalk, Ohio. He said his company builds any kind of fiberglass construction and has worked with Cedar Point, Busch Gardens and Walt Disney World in the past. Work said the park was opened in 1974 and is for family fun. It spans 100 acres and has 200 campsites and cabins. Last year a new entrance and registration building was constructed as well as a new snowless snowtubing track. In addition, seven new cabins were recently built and 25 new campsites are under construction. The resort is also looking at building a new store and restaurant by the water park to replace the current store and restaurant at the lower end of the park. By Rachel R. Basinger, FOR THE DAILY COURIER

Issue 148 Campground & RV Park E News  

Weekly news for the Campground Industry