Here are your RV news highlights for the week of June 15 to 21, 2019.
RV dealers are apparently envisioning the sale of used RVs as something that might help them out, even as sales of new rigs are sluggish. Used RV auction watcher Black Book says prices on used rigs rose in May as dealers were snapping them up. Motorhome prices jumped up 9 percent to an average price of $46,747. Towable units rose better than 2 percent to an average of $14,666. May 2018 saw motorhomes averaging $46,539, and towables fetching $13,267.
Threats of wildfires throughout the West continue to rise. Weather prognosticator AccuWeather says a weak monsoon could push the threat of fire well into August. Earlier this month wildfires were blazing in Alaska, Arizona, and California. Department of Interior officials warned U.S. senators that this year’s season will be worse than 2018, which went down in record books after killing hundreds of people and damages in the billions. Winter and spring rains have seeded a high fire hazard in Northern California that could last into October. Similarly, a rainy season in the Pacific Northwest has likewise led to more plant growth and, combined with the unusually dry spring, has created what could prove to be a hot fire season there.
The night skies of Arizona’s Grand Canyon are among the darkest in the world, which makes for a stunning, star-filled sky. The International Dark Sky Association has just designated Grand Canyon National Park an International Dark Sky Park. An official ceremony to celebrate the designation is being held today, June 22, in Mather Amphitheater at the South Rim.
Canadian towable sales dropped 12.5% for the first four months of 2019, according to the latest report from Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI). Travel trailer sales fell 12.1% year-over-year through April, while sales of fifth wheel units dropped 14.3%. Thor Industries, Inc. was the overall Canadian towable sales leader through April with a 52.5% market share, ahead of Forest River, Inc. (32.8%) and Grand Design RV Co. (7.4%).
The National Park Service reports that snowpack melt is creating quite an influx of water into Lake Powell on the Arizona/Utah border. Earlier this month the lake continued to rise 6 to 15 inches in 24 hours. The Service warns people should be careful where they park on the shoreline, suggesting parking 200 to 300 yards from the water’s edge, as a 12″ rise in lake level could translate to the loss of 30 to 50 feet of beach. Boaters should watch out for debris flowing into the lake that could damage boat engine lower units.
Camping World and its CEO Marcus Lemonis have been handed a thumbs-down in their ongoing controversy with Statesville, N.C.‘s city council. Earlier this week the council voted not to change the law that limits flag displays to no more than 25 by 40 feet, which would have allowed the dealership to continue to fly an oversize flag on its location. Lemonis had taken to social media to chastise the city for, as he said, requiring “Gander RV in Statesville, NC, to take down their American Flag.” Fact checking organization snopes.com recently reported the city was asking the company to replace the flag with one meeting maximum size standards. The company has been assessed a $50-per-day fine for the violation, which now totals into the thousands.
Yosemite National Park has announced that limited access to Tioga Road (Highway 120 East) is now available for visitors interested in crossing the Sierra. The road is open to all vehicles, including bicycles, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. No parking is allowed and day use recreation is not permitted. Visitor parking is not available at either end of the road closure.
Indiana State park officials say Brown County State Park will be closed through this Sunday, April 23. Heavy rains closed the 612-site campground last week. While the rain has abated, silt stirred up in Ogle Lake has shut off the supply of potable water. More than 40 percent of the sites had been booked for this weekend, and officials sent out cancellation notices earlier this week.
An RVing couple met with near disaster when their motorhome parted ways with the pavement, off a 200-foot embankment, and ended up in the Lochsa River between Powell and Lowell, Idaho, where it caught fire. The spectacular crash drew plenty of attention, including an airboat crew who pulled them from the water. Both victims were airlifted to hospitals, and a woman in the motorhome suffered a broken back but is expected to recover.
User-created campsites. Human waste. Trampled vegetation. Just a few of the public land manager’s headaches. Now a citizen council in Colorado has told the Bureau of Land Management they think the answers lie in making more designated camping available near the Colorado-Utah border, specifically in campgrounds in Colorado’s Rabbit Valley. Siding with the citizens was BLM’s own National Conservation Area Manager for the vicinity. News media in the Grand Junction, Colorado, area says it could bode well for the BLM to move on following the recommendation.
Utah’s Soldier Summit saw the death of a Canadian man after he apparently took his motorcycle through a curve at too high a speed. After laying the two-wheeler down on its side, the cycle continued on directly into the path of an oncoming motorhome. Peter Fulgem, 34, of Victoria, B.C., was wearing a helmet, but still died on scene. The State Route 6 incident happened on June 16.
RV manufacturing giant Winnebago Industries saw its 2019 third quarter financial report whittled down a bit in size. Comparing revenues from this quarter to the same quarter of 2018, one sees a nearly 6 percent decline. Profit still went up, 1.3 percent, which the company explains is due to strong towable sales. Third-quarter motorhome division revenues dropped like a rock – down nearly 36 percent.
The summer travel season got underway in June with Great Outdoors Month. To encourage visitation to America’s public lands, the Bureau of Land Management will waive recreation-related fees for visitors to agency-managed public lands on two additional dates through the remainder of 2019: September 28 (National Public Lands Day) and November 11 (Veterans Day).
Campers at Ohio’s Delaware State Park got a cruel call-out from Mother Nature last Tuesday when heavy rain pushed Delaware Lake levels 20 feet above normal. Officials evacuated the campground that afternoon. If the predicted 23-feet-above-normal levels materialized, visitors would have been trapped when park roads would have flooded.