RV Coronavirus News Update, May 17, 2020

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Dear Readers,
Hundreds if not thousands of campgrounds, public and private, are now open or are about to open. We have listed some of them here, but we don’t have nearly enough room to mention them all. If you’re looking for a place to camp in the coming weeks, check with your favorite park to learn its plans.

Yellowstone National Park will open its Wyoming entrances tomorrow in the first phase of its careful reopening, but visitors will have to heed some new guidance in the fight against COVID-19. Visitors must enter and exit through the South and East entrances, and can use the restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails and boardwalks that are preparing to reopen, the NPS said. Campgrounds remain closed.

Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming will partially reopen tomorrow, May 18. Primary roads, some restrooms and hiking trails will be open but campgrounds and overnight lodgings will remain shut.

A new survey conducted by Billings-based Kampgrounds of America (KOA) indicates outdoor recreation, camping in particular, is among the first things people plan to do once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. “People are valuing the outdoors more than ever right now,” said Toby O’Rourke, president and CEO of Kampgrounds of America. Thirty percent of those surveyed said camping is going to be their first trip when they’re able to get out there.”

Northwood Investments, parent company to La Grande, Oregon-based RV manufacturers Northwood Manufacturing and Outdoors RV, announced Tuesday the plants will resume production tomorrow, May 18.

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado plans to allow back-country camping permits starting May 27 and will open two campgrounds, Moraine Park and Glacier Basin, starting June 4.

Camping at Colorado’s Navajo State Park opened Friday by reservation only. Bathrooms are open, but showers, laundry and other group facilities are closed as well as visitor centers.

A survey of its members by RVillage.com revealed that 94% of RVers will continue to travel and feel safe in campgrounds, 63% expect to find some restrictions within the campground, 54% have no plans to revise their routes to stay closer to home or medical facilities, and 36% believe they’ll camp even more than before. Only 6 percent of the 2,704 respondents said they planned to stay home.

View from South Rim. NPS photo

Officials at the Grand Canyon National Park say they are increasing visitor access to some viewpoints on the South Rim. The North Rim, which closes every winter, remains closed. Commercial services within the park remain closed. Visitors are being told to plan to be self-sufficient, bringing food, water and hand sanitizer. There are no overnight accommodations available. The park also recommends visitors arrive no later than 9-9:30 a.m. in case of traffic backups.

Parts of Washington state’s popular Olympic National Park have reopened, but campgrounds remained closed.


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After being shut down for 58 days due to statewide closures amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Aliner’s manufacturing plant in Mt. Pleasant, PA, will officially resume operations tomorrow. Aliner manufactures travel trailers and folding campers under the Aliner, Ascape and Somerset brands.

The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana will open the Coushatta Casino Resort and its RV park on Wednesday, May 20, at noon.


Before you post something you find questionable or outrageous on social media, check to see if it’s true or just fake news. Check with FactCheck.org and/or Snopes.com.


Many Colorado State state park campgrounds have reopened with certain restrictions. To see which are open visit the Safer-At-Home map.

Due to COVID-19, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will postpone the opening of Allatoona Lake’s seasonal campgrounds in Georgia until June 1 at the earliest. Along with Allatoona Lake, the decision also applies to campgrounds at Lake Sidney Lanier and Carters Lake. Those who have already placed reservations at the now-closed campgrounds will be granted full refunds.

The Saskatchewan government’s five-phase plan to reopen parts of its economy started Monday. Campgrounds are included.

Ohio’s campgrounds and RV parks may fully open May 21. Some are already partially open. Campers will also be reminded to wear a mask or face covering when entering buildings or interacting with other campers. They should not expect full access to campground amenities. Campground operators are mandated to close any nonessential buildings or areas where people could potentially congregate.

The Colorado River Municipal Water District’s park and recreation areas at O.H. Ivie, E.V. Spence and J.B. Thomas in Texas will be open to the public for overnight camping beginning tomorrow, May 18. All District campsites are primitive camping only (no electricity or water hook-ups). Stays are limited to seven days.


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Southern California’s San Bernardino National Forest will open the following developed campgrounds May 22, 2020: They are: Barton Flats, Big Pine Flat, Crab Flats, Dogwood, Green Valley, Hanna Flat, Heart Bar, Holcomb Valley, North Shore, Pineknot, San Gorgonio, Serrano, South Fork and Wildhorse Equestrian Campground.

Because of social distancing measures and the inability to properly sanitize, Crystal Cave in Sequoia National Park in Central California will be closed this season and the annual Dark Sky Festival has been canceled. The delicate ecosystem of the second-largest cave in the park prevented it from being properly sanitized. Annually, 60,000 people visit the cave, which has three miles of passageways.

Shenandoah National Park is making plans to reopen in phases. Skyline Drive will be the first to open along with trails, probably just day use only. Overnight camping will come later. The park has been shut down due to COVID-19 since April 8.

RVShare, a peer-to-peer RV rental platform has noticed that a lot of people don’t want to risk hopping on airplanes to get where they’re going: “We’re seeing our drive-to markets doing particularly well right now.” The site has seen a 650% rise in RV rental bookings since early April.

Dinosaur National Monument in Jensen, Utah, reopened roads and trails Wednesday, but visitor centers and campgrounds remain closed. Visitors are asked to bring their own drinking water as there won’t be access to water.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott will loosen opening date requirements for campgrounds and other lodging establishments from June 15 to May 22 under strict rules as part of his slow reopening of the economy.

According to the AAA NewsRoom, for the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast, as the accuracy of the economic data used to create the forecast has been undermined by COVID-19. The annual forecast – which estimates the number of people traveling over the holiday weekend – will return next year.



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Other Coronavirus News

With 846 stores and 85,000 employees, J.C. Penney filing for bankruptcy could be the largest symbol of what COVID-19 may mean for retailers already struggling for survival. The bankruptcy filing comes after several years of declining sales and strategic missteps as J.C. Penney careened from one reinvention strategy to another.


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HOW TO WASH YOUR HANDS
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this short video shows you the most effective way to wash your hands to get rid of germs.


Facebook Group:  How the coronavirus is impacting RVers. Get updates throughout the day about park and campground closings, cancelled rallies and RV shows — and more. Join in the conversation with other RVers about what’s on all our minds right now.

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