Since the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) launched its “Plan-It Green” program three years ago, more than 100 campgrounds and RV resorts across the country have made a formal pledge to adopt environmentally friendly practices, while informing their guests of the benefits of doing the same.
But in an effort to encourage even more parks to participate in the program – and to adopt a greater number of green practices – ARVC has partnered with the Woodall’s North American Campground Directory to formally recognize qualifying parks with a “Green Friendly” icon next to their listings in the GoCampingAmerica.com and Woodalls.com travel planning websites as well as the 2011 print edition of the Woodall’s directory, according to a news release.
“Some parks have adopted environmentally friendly practices on their own initiative, but many are pledging to adopt green building and recycling programs with encouragement from our association,” said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of ARVC, which currently recognizes green parks with a “Plan-It Green” logo on their GoCampingAmerica.com listing. The association also holds an annual awards competition for green parks.
Profaizer said campgrounds are a natural fit for environmentally friendly initiatives, since most parks are located in scenic locations that encourage enjoyment of nature and the outdoors.
While parks that participate in the “Plan-It Green” program are required to adopt a minimum of three eco-friendly practices, such as offering recycling programs for their guests, planting trees to offset carbon emissions or avoiding the use of chemicals that are harmful to the environment, parks that want to be designated “Green Friendly” through the association’s partnership with Woodall’s must have at least nine of the following 18 criteria:
- Tankless water heaters.
- Motion sensors for lighting in bathrooms and clubhouses.
- Energy efficient light bulbs.
- Non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products.
- Water saving showerheads and/or faucets with automatic shutoff taps.
- Recycle bins for cans, paper, glass and plastic.
- Energy saving appliances.
- Eco-friendly and “Leave No Trace” tips and education for guests.
- Landscaping that uses wood chip, pebble, paved or grass paths to decrease soil erosion.
- “Reduce Water Usage” signage for guests around the park.
- One or more of the following: lighting, heaters and/or coolers with timers.
- Solar or wind power.
- Low flush toilets or waterless urinals.
- Grey water access (if allowed in state).
- On-site organic composting.
- Email confirmations rather than paper to minimize paper waste.
- Geothermal heating and cooling.
- A program for frequent tree planting.
Parks that wish to be considered for “Green Friendly” recognition through the ARVC-Woodalls partnership will be evaluated by Woodall’s representatives who visit their parks during the coming months. Parks that don’t feel they can meet nine of the 18 criteria for “Green Friendly” recognition are encouraged to take ARVC’s “Plan-It Green” pledge, in which parks promise to adhere to at least three of the following eight criteria:
- Offer recycling to guests and recycle where possible.
- Avoid using products or chemicals that are harmful to the environment.
- Evaluate energy or water usage and take steps to conserve.
- Use energy saving products, such as Compact Fluorescent Lighting or Energy Star products.
- Offer eco-friendly tips to guests.
- Offset the park’s carbon footprint.
- Offer 100 percent green energy to guests.
- Plant trees to offset carbon emissions.
Additionally, “Plan-It Green” parks encourage their guests to:
- Respect the natural wildlife, plants and trees.
- Use non-toxic biological holding tank products.
- Recycle and properly dispose of litter.
- Conserve energy and other resources during their stay.
Parks that meet the above criteria and would like to pledge to “Plan it Green” should e-mail Grant Barnette at [email protected]
Parks not currently participating in any of the above eco-friendly measures, are encouraged to visit ARVC’s “Green Toolbox” at www.arvc.org/planItGreen.aspx. The toolbox also includes a Green Park award application and information on federal tax credits for going green.