Newspaper Stories Recounting Attempts by Campground & RV Park Owners to Restricting RV parking Abound. page header art
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Editorial - Opinion

RV Park & Campground Owners are Whining Again!

by Steven Fletcher

They're at it again!

I wrote an editorial... RV Park Owners, Quit You're Whining!... the last time the RV park and campground industry went on this campaign. They do it just about once a year. They win a few battles then let the uproar die down. Each time they campaign they get closer to winning the war.

Now, again, RV park and campground owners are whining about RVers overnighting at Wal-Mart and other places.

Daily Republic - Mitchell,SD,USA
Pools, mini-golf, laundromats, game rooms — these are some of the amenities that campground owners advertise.

Some local campground owners say none of those extras can compete, though, with one perk that the Wal-Mart and Cabela’s parking lots offer: a free night’s stay.

Staying overnight in the Wal-Mart or Cabela’s lot has become so popular that, on some nights, there are as many or more campers in those lots as there are in any of the six campgrounds in and around Mitchell. During the past week of nights, The Daily Republic counted a total of 135 pull-type campers or RVs camped in the two stores’ lots — 71 at Cabela’s, and 64 at Wal-Mart. The highest number in a single night was 36 on Thursday, the final night of the newspaper’s count.

Jennifer Doyle, owner of the local Dakota Campground, said she’s virtually powerless to stop the drain on her business.

Funny the whining always seems to start, and is loudest, in South Dakota.

Fran and I have had the opportunity to see what it takes to keep an RV park going and I know few RVers have a real sense of the costs involved. Starting with the initial investment. It can easily cost a million dollars to build a moderately sized park with the amenities RVers have come to expect. The nicer the park is the greater the expenses are to keep it that way.

I don't begrudge RV park owners the fees they charge. On the other hand, if they charge more than I can afford, they shouldn't be upset if I don't visit their park.

Comparing an overnight stay in an RV park to overnighting at Wal-Mart is comparing apples to oranges. But however different they are, sometimes I like to eat an apple and sometimes I enjoy an orange.

I'd be concerned and even angry if the orange growers association started whining and lobbying government to pass laws that take away my right to eat apples.

So it is that I am concerned and angry with the RV park and campground industry whining and lobbying government to pass laws about where I can park my RV for the night.

This is a great country... I'd argue it isn't as great as it once was but that's another editorial. Just about anyone can start just about any kind of business and hope to make it profitable.

However, there is no provision in the U.S. Constitution the guarantees any business either customers or a profit.

If an RV park owner can't make a profit from the business because too many RVers are parking at Wal-Mart that's too bad. But he has no right to expect the town council to fix his problem and the town council has no right to do so even if they want to.

Maybe all the whining RV park owners should think about converting their park to a mini storage facility. I hear those make a good profit. Then they would be whining about people who store junk in their garages and I'd be able to park my RV where I want.

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