By Chuck Woodbury, editor
Below is a letter I received from reader Randy Peterson that illustrates once again the problem with crowding in RV parks. In this case it’s not just about vacationers and full-timers taking up campsites but workers on temporary assignments occupying entire parks, sometimes every site in the local area (try to get a space in the tourist season around the oil fields of North Dakota).
The owner of a KOA recently told me about how a representative of a pipeline company came to him and offered to rent every space in his campground for one year for his workers — paying him 20 percent more than his going rate. “I turned him down,” said the KOA owner. “I’d lose all my regular customers once the project was finished.”
Here is the letter I received from Mr. Peterson:
We currently live in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Carlsbad is not a tourist hot spot. There’s Carlsbad Caverns and the Lincoln National Forest, but the area is mostly a transition point along the southern U.S. RV migration route. So there’s a lot of movement of RVers in and out of town.
There are about 10 RV parks in the greater Carlsbad area – one, a KOA, is labeled as the “Best in the Chain.” Most have at least 100 spaces. So that’s roughly 1,000 RV sites in the area.
Here’s the issue: Carlsbad is experiencing a boom in oil field operations. All of these RV parks currently accept only weekly reservations — no nightly or monthly rentals. They can earn far more from weekly rates than anything else. The going rate is around $400.
Now, before you say “that can’t be,” it is, in fact, true. The big oil companies are renting blocs of RV sites, 10 to 20 at a shot, so their labor force has somewhere to stay. Most of these workers have older fifth wheels and travel trailers that they pull behind their work trucks. Bottom line is if you are a traveling RVer coming through Carlsbad you will likely find no “room at the inn.”
This would go back to what you were saying about “good for the RV park owner but bad for the RV population in general.” Just saying that even in “backwater USA” the RV lifestyle is taking a hit.