RV Park Owners RVers Overnight Parking in Parking Lots

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Editorial - Opinion

RV Park Owners vs RVers

by Fran Crawford

The rift between RV park owners and RVers is one of those problems that will probably always lack a solution satisfactory to both sides. But wait a minute... are there two sides?

Side One: RV Park Owners across the country with established parks near or in urban areas... especially near those areas with large enough population to attract so called ‘big box’ stores contend that motorhomes, fifth wheels and camping trailers should be banned from overnight parking in the large parking lots that surround such stores. They would like to see action from their towns and cities to pass laws making overnight parking illegal. Why?

Well. Because, they say, it gives the whole community a ‘trailer park’ appearance; it creates uncontainered trash that is blown about if there is a wind; it promotes crime and disturbs peace in the surrounding area. It increases the work for law enforcement in order to police the area and it is robbing the park owners of their livelihood. It should be prohibited ...banned ...outlawed!

Superficial reasons? Or reasons based on facts or true issues? Hmm.

Side Two: RVers say that they have nothing against RV Parks but they have a right to travel and spend their time and money where they choose as long as it is legal. They normally get permission from store managers to park overnight and the stores have their own security patrols. They clean up any mess they may have created around their spot ...and leave in the morning.

These statements may be true, but only for the greater percentage of RVers overnighting in parking lots. There are always those whose actions spread a bad name which is attributed to considerate RVers as well.

So, to RVers it isn’t much of problem after all. Most stay within the law ... and ...they will be leaving first thing in the morning.

RV Park owners appear to have the problem and it is an issue with their potential customers. They need to regroup and attack the problem like any other business ...advertise, join the chamber of commerce, get active in the community, Kiwanis, Rotary, downtown business associations, upgrade their parks from the good old ‘trailer park’ to one with a nice face to the public with an image of a safe haven and a fun place to be. Work on Customer Service. Stay open later if needed. Provide information and photographs of the park on their webisites. If RVers are complaining about the rates devise an ala carte rate schedule... a base cost for dry camping with additional charges for add-on amenities.

It seems that time, effort and funds used by RV park owners in fighting this battle with their customers, the RVers, could be better spent working on creating a positive image of their parks and customers, RVers. Denigrating RVers who overnight in public parking lots denigrates the entire RVing lifestyle which most certainly doesn't bode well for the industry that supports the lifestyle.

I can't help but think all the bad-mouthing the RV park associations do toward RVers has a lot to do with why so many proposed RV parks are so vehemently fought against in community after community. Who want to allow a place for 'trailer trash' in their town?

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