Editor’s note: This letter from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) was written by Peter Brown, ARVC’s Board of Director’s Chair, and Paul Bambei, ARVC’s president and CEO, in response to the announcement late last week by the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds and the Alabama Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds to end their affiliations with ARVC.
Last week, Florida ARVC and Alabama ARVC announced their intentions to end partnership affiliation with the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) beginning in 2022. While we are saddened by this decision because we believe our industry is stronger when we speak with a collective voice, we want all ARVC members in Florida and Alabama to be assured your national association supports you and will continue to support you through your current 2021 membership term, and beyond, for as long as you choose to maintain your ARVC membership.
We would also like to take the opportunity to publicly thank Bobby Cornwell, the state executive of both associations. For years, Bobby has been a loyal advocate and friend for Florida and Alabama campgrounds and for our industry. In 2020, Bobby was named the Stan Martin Award recipient, ARVC’s highest honor, because of his dedication to unity and the success of our industry. His work has positively impacted Florida and Alabama campgrounds and has extended well beyond those borders as a former ARVC board member representing partnering state executives.
The recent announcement stated that this was entirely a business decision made by the Florida and Alabama boards, and as autonomous organizations, we fully respect that. The announcement also mentioned that the two boards may consider re-partnering with ARVC in the future, and we would, of course, welcome that, because again, we are always stronger together.
ARVC is the national association representing our industry and because of that we are working for you, our members across North America, and are focused on ways we can benefit all campgrounds, RV parks, resorts and glamping businesses.
In addition to a broad spectrum of member-exclusive discounts and education, ARVC also focuses on advocacy at the national and state levels. The work we are doing has one goal — to make park owners more successful. A few highlights of our recent advocacy work include:
As the COVID pandemic began, our team worked tirelessly alongside our partnering state executives to get campgrounds open again — leading more than a dozen grassroots campaigns that resulted in more than 25,000 communications sent to local mayors and council, state legislators, U.S. members of Congress and the Trump Administration.
In mid-2020, we began working directly with the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), along with other industry leaders, to get members of our industry recognized nationally as essential businesses, which will benefit park owners if/when another pandemic or natural disaster threatens your businesses.
In tandem with our D.C.-based lobbying firm, McDermott, Will and Emory, ARVC is actively involved in Washington, advocating for our industry to get major policy decisions to swing in your favor, including the favorable Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) decision to not include front porches in the square footage of a park model RV (PMRV) and the more recent National Electric Code (NEC) decision to not include GFCI protection on all 30- and 50-amp electric pedestals — decisions that would have cost owners thousands of dollars had the decision gone the other way.
We are working directly on the Steering Committee for a future White House Conference on Small Business and with the Family Business Coalition to address possible capital gains changes and a rollback of the step-up tax that could negatively impact all family-owned businesses in our industry. We are also working with the National Federation of Independent Business to advocate on minimum wage issues.
The ARVC Advocacy Center recently launched direct campaigns to Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), urging these two pivotal swing votes in the U.S. Senate to consider the impact of tax proposals in the current infrastructure bill on our industry nationwide.
ARVC sits on the board of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), a powerful coalition of 31 other associations including marine, boating, fishing, snowmobiling, RV manufacturing and RV dealers, that collectively represents 2.1% of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), which participated in influencing the Small Business Administration (SBA) to establish PPP loans for small businesses last year and also pushed to get the bipartisan $9.5 billion Great American Outdoors Act passed in 2020, which the Associated Press wrote is “the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly half a century.”
So far this year, the ARVC government affairs team has reviewed more than 11,000 federal and state legislative issues (including 162 in Alabama and 508 in Florida) and sent out more than 312 pieces of actionable intelligence. At the state level, specifically, ARVC is working with five different associations to draft and introduce inherent risk legislation to ensure parks are not negatively affected by frivolous lawsuits.
Although our industry is strong, it is stronger when we all work together. We will continue fighting every day for the success of our industry and we welcome anyone who wants to fight alongside us. We are your national association, here to serve you. We are proud to be a part of this industry and to have so many voices in our community.