Monday, March 20, 2023



What Mr. Piper could teach RV manufacturers

By Chuck Woodbury

This was originally published as part of issue 752
of the newsletter, July 22, 2016.

In the busy summer season, RV parks these days are often so crowded there is little peace or privacy.

William Piper, inventor of the Piper Cub airplane, was often called the “Henry Ford of Aviation.” His Piper Cub airplane sold for $1,325 in 1937, making it affordable to many Americans. The price even included flying lessons. One of the smartest things Piper did early on was lobby communities across America to build airports. Without airports, he reasoned, where would his customers take off and land their airplanes? Smart guy!

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) could take a lesson from Mr. Piper by helping promote the creation of RV parks and campgrounds. After all, why build and sell RVs if there are too few places to use them? From the many letters I receive from readers, finding a place to camp these days is very often difficult, frustrating and sometimes even impossible. 

I DON’T THINK ANYONE AT THE RVIA or at most RV dealerships cares where people camp or if they have problems finding campgrounds. I doubt they even talk about it.



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5 years ago

I live in what we refer to as “the RV capitol of the world”, Elkhart, IN area. The manufacturers keep advertising jobs, keep advertising RV’s, and seem oblivious to what I read here – lack of anywhere to stay! I subscribe to this newsletter because I just want to know what’s going on. My bucket list has “see the USA in an RV” as number 1. Wondering if it will happen!

Captn John
5 years ago

We gave up on June, July, and August. We try to plan for the rest of the year and even that is getting more difficult. Most CGs see cabins and long term rentals as more profitable and cut the number of sites for travelers with those.
Fuel prices will rise one day along with campsite fees including long term sites. That will be the only salvation for those that wish to travel and can still afford to go. Supply and demand will put many in storage then and drop prices of used units to the point new ones will rarely be purchased.

5 years ago

On a happier note, we are at this moment, in perpetual rain, in a brand new RV park in South Fork, Colorado! We are staying 7 nights, hoping to see some Aspen trees turning color. The park is pretty full right now, guess people stopping because of this constant rain. The laundry is small, but not pricey for a new park, not much of a store. Sites are LEVEL! and many are long enough for long trailers and truck or Class A’s and toads! (That is getting harder to find.) The owners are very friendly and nice. I think this one will survive!

Barbara Hagen
5 years ago

Reading the local paper the other day, an article said that a new dealer was setting up across from the local fuel station. They had an article detailing what the public could expect from them (the dealer). It was then that my forge ahead tendency gave away. I called them and asked where were your customers going to Park. What they said. They had no clue what I was saying so I told them that the RV’s they are selling have no place to go and it was their responsibility to add at least 20 full hookups to help add parks to the RV world. They hung up on me. I won’t give up and will continue to call dealers and preach the need for parks for the RV’s that are sold.

5 years ago

My husband and I recently returned from a trip to Colorado (from Pennsylvania). We were shocked at the number of rvs on the road and in the campgrounds. We weren’t able to get into some and spent one night in a rest area that was packed by morning with rvs and trucks. We couldn’t even find a parking spot at one rest area where we just wanted to take a quick break. (If you think it’s bad for us RVers, pity the poor truck drivers who don’t have a bathroom or kitchen in their rigs). In Pennsylvania most people would give up before the permitting process for an rv park was complete, even if they were able to afford the cost of all the requirements imposed. Other than wintering in Florida (where we are only able to get in because we are grandfathered on the site), I think most of our rv traveling days are limited to parking at friends places. A sad thing when we thought we would spend a lot of time traveling as this time of our lives.

5 years ago

While it’s a valid comment that we desperately need a group to lobby on behalf of campgrounds and RVers, I don’t think using Piper Aircraft is a valid comparison any more. I would argue that Mr Piper would not be anywhere close to as successful today. We now live in an era of rampant NIMBY-ism, an “oppose anything anywhere” mentality, and in many cases oppressive regulation. I believe it would be exceptionally difficult to build either a new campground or an airport in most places, especially anywhere close to where many people would want to visit. Maybe in the middle of nowhere, but that’s a pretty limited market and campground owners/developers are in it to make a profit. Further compounding the problem is a seemingly sizeable percentage of RV owners (often present on this website) who that think that $30/night for full hook-ups is atrocious. I don’t know where they live but around here you can’t even get into a government run park with no hookups for that price. Any new campgrounds will come with higher price tags – that’s just the way it is. I’m sure a new campground would take years to get through the approval process, and if it did get approved it would likely cost millions to build. If RV owners want the additional spaces then they are going to have to pony up and help “subsidize” their construction – either through fees or taxes.
I don’t know what the solution is. I suspect, as someone else said on a different thread, that RVers will get fed up with the lack of camping spots and rapidly increasing fees and will just give up.

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