Here are your RV news highlights for the week of September 28 – October 4, 2019.
As we reported earlier, the Ikes Fire in Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park is still burning. The lightning-caused fire has steadily chewed its way through 11,000 acres, but the Park Service is allowing it to burn as a natural part of the park’s ecosystem. However, high winds last weekend raised concerns as the fire burned along the Kaibab Plateau and the Kaibab National Forest. To keep national forest lands secure, water-dropping helicopters were deployed. While not extinguishing the flames there, they moderated the potential for harm from wind spread. The fire has had an effect on operations at the North Rim of the national park; some roadways there are closed. Check before visiting the North Rim for restrictions.
Now here’s a positive spin for RV buyers: Faced with declining wholesale movement of RVs from factories to dealers, a major RV manufacturer says it’s really good news for consumers. In a comment made to media outlet, wndu.com, Tim Dennig, who promotes for Gulf Stream, referred to the decline in the number of units his firm is building. “You just tone it down. Instead of building 20 a day, you build 15 a day,” Dennig said. And how is this a positive for the consumer? He added, “The nice thing is your quality goes way up too.” Whether this was a Freudian-slip, or an intentional comment, it’s interesting to find an admission of quality control issues in the industry.
No, Madge, that wasn’t a garbage truck you heard – it was the motorhome! A Farquay-Varina, North Carolina, couple got a rude awakening in the early hours of September 25. What they first thought was the sound of a garbage truck was soon followed up by someone pecking on their front door. Seems a man had somehow swerved off the road, across the yard, rolled over, and managed to displace the family’s Class C motorhome nearly a foot in the process. Police are investigating.
A family who was suing an RV park after a tree limb fell on them has lost their case heard in Delaware Superior Court. Scott and Danielle Stephenson and their two daughters were camping at Big Oaks Campground in 2015 when the limb broke and fell on them. The suit claims physical and mental injuries. The Stephensons brought in an arborist as an expert witness who testified as to the state of the oak tree which lost its limb, but the judge ruled to exclude his testimony from the case. Why? Big Oaks’ attorney argued that while an arborist may know his trees, he doesn’t have expert status as a campground manager, and therefore could not be an expert as to what duty that campground management had toward the Stephensons with regard to the tree. Judge Calvin L. Scott, Jr. wrote, “By failing to identify an expert to establish the duty which defendant owed to plaintiffs and to show how defendant breached that duty, plaintiffs have not set forth sufficient evidence to support essential elements of their prima face case. In viewing the facts in a light most favorable to the plaintiffs, the court finds that defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” The judge then granted a summary judgment in favor of the RV park owner.
Feel like some states bump your rig’s butt more than others? The dubious honor for the state with the worst highway system falls to New Jersey. That sad statistic comes from an analysis of The Reason Foundation, a Libertarian think tank. The foundation ranks state highways based on 13 factors including traffic fatalities, pavement condition, congestion, spending per mile, and administrative costs. Best performers are North Dakota, Virginia and Missouri; the bottom of the list occupied by New Jersey, Rhode Island, Alaska and Hawaii. Read more here.
Winter probably can’t come soon enough for some folks, particularly for those patrons of British Columbia’s Garibaldi Provincial Park. Winter means snooze time for bears, and if crankiness in bruins is any indicator, one particular black bear definitely needs a nap. A group of 20 or so visitors at Taylor Creek Bridge on Garibaldi ran up against the obnoxious bear who charged at them. Rangers have closed Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake campgrounds until the area “is deemed safe.” Presumably that could mean sometime as late as November when the typical bear hibernation cycle begins.
Tragedy in the campground. The Idaho Falls, Idaho, rescue squad was called out October 1 to the Snake River RV Park after reports of a man trapped were phoned in. A 71-year-old unidentified RVer had apparently jacked up his fifth-wheel to do some work on the rig when the fiver collapsed on top of him. Other campers came quickly, extricating the man and starting CPR until medics arrived; sadly, he died on the scene. Authorities say they’ve notified kin, and note he is from eastern Idaho, but aren’t sure of his exact residence.
Indiana State Parks are rolling into fall discounts. Under their plan, you can combine your love of fall leaf chasing with a 20-percent discount at all state parks – provided your plans include weeknights, Sundays through Wednesdays. The discount program runs through November 6. Reservations can be booked at camp.IN.gov or by calling 1-866-622-6746. Use the discount code “INFALL19”.
The National Park Service is trying to chip away at its huge backlog of maintenance projects. Boulder Beach campground on Nevada’s Lake Mead is now getting $1.5 million in improvements to 50 campsites and the entire campground’s roads will be repaved. RV and tent sites will be enlarged and get concrete pads. Sites in loops A, B, C and D will remain open during the project. One-and-a-half-million dollars-worth down on backlogs, only $250 million more to go for the rest of the state.
Habitat for Humanity, the nonprofit group that helps build homes for low-income folks, often has help come to them in RVs. Now RVs are standing in the way of their project in Oregon’s Rogue Valley. The RVs don’t contain volunteers but rather are two derelicts that came with some property the outfit bought for building homes on. The group says they can’t find anyone who dismantles dead RVs and are stymied, having already spent $10,000 removing other vehicles and junk from the building site.
Frustrated by more RVers than available spaces, Montana State Parks officials are now expanding the campground at Ackley Lake State Park near Hobson, Montana. Eight new sites will be built at the park, and all existing sites will get an upgrade of fire rings and picnic tables.
Is it “OK” if Oklahoma jacks state park fees? Too late to voice your opinion – as of early September, fees at campgrounds went up by $2 per night, now making an overnight stay cost $16. Officials said it was necessary and if not done, many facilities would have to be shut down. Trying to smooth the deal, the state has dropped its $8 campground reservation fees.
California’s Mendocino National Forest has new stay limits. A 14-day limit within any 30-day period, but no more than 28 cumulative days in any 12-month period now applies. The ruling affects not only camping in developed recreation campgrounds, but any dispersed area outside a mile radius of a developed site.
Pocatello, Idaho, officials are taking a forward look toward increasing RV visitation. They’re overhauling and expanding their existing RV park at the Bannock County Event Center, increasing the number of RV sites by 69, including 46 which will be pull-throughs and four that will meet ADA requirements. The present nightly rate is $25 with discounts for weekly rent, although one official is quick to point out that they’ll make sure the center won’t be undercutting or competing with local area private RV parks. The work is expected to be completed by May of next year.
After a struggle and a bitter fight by a neighbor, a new RV park appears to be moving closer to ground-breaking in Carson City, Nevada. The developer had sought permission to allow 180-day stays on leased lots but concerns were raised the park would become permanent residency for some. Still, the commission voted to allow the permit and a neighbor appealed. The appeals board blessed the original decision, with the condition that owners would need to leave after 180 days and not return for at least 30. The developer then asked for the ability to sell all the lots on the 227-site project, and was granted it by a six-to-one vote in favor. The neighbor says she won’t go down without a fight.
This time it’s not RVing homeless people – it’s tenting homeless people. Some San Francisco, California, residents, tired of having homeless people encamped on their sidewalks, figured out a way to discourage it: They bought boulders and installed them on the sidewalks. For a couple of weeks, the rocks prevailed, but then the homeless advocates got wind of the scheme and rolled the rocks out in the street and the tenters returned. The city determined boulders in the streets were a hazard, so put the boulders back on the sidewalks. Again, the activists returned, rolling the rocks back out. The feud continued until the rock-buyers implored the city to simply take the rocks away. Turns out they were harassed by people who thought they were being cruel.