State campground association executives elected a new slate of officers for Campground Association Management Professionals (CAMP) during the association’s semi-annual meeting this month in Knoxville, Tenn.
CAMP’s new executive committee includes President Don Bennett of Campground Owners of New York (CONY); Vice President Michael Moore of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO); Treasurer Debbie Sipe of the California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (CalARVC); Secretary Bev Gruber of the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Associations (PCOA); and Past President Lori Severson of the Wisconsin Campground Owners Association (WACO).
CAMP is the nation’s only association specifically designed for campground association management executives.
“The purpose of our meetings is to get together and talk about the pertinent issues facing each of our associations,” said Moore. “We typically have the same issues and we try to discuss solutions we’ve come across. We’re the only ones that know what the other state associations are going through. So our CAMP meetings are always a good way to network and share ideas on what’s working and what’s not.”
During their Nov. 5 meeting, CAMP executives said new state and local taxes and fees are the biggest threats facing campgrounds and RV parks across the country.
“Municipalities in general are going after campgrounds any way they can in terms of revenue,” Moore said.
Tax initiatives range from the arbitrary imposition of unfair utility fees to efforts to assess property taxes on recreational park trailers.
The New Hampshire Campground Owners Association (NHCOA) is currently working to lessen the tax burden on park models. “We are trying to exempt seasonal RV units that are owned by campers and in a campground from real estate taxes and define them as personal property,” said Gregg Pitman, executive director of NHCOA.
Moore said TACO secured legislation this year that prevents water utilities from arbitrarily assessing fees on RV parks on a site-by-site basis.
In terms of marketing, Moore said campground associations are starting to enhance their camping guides with magazine-style travel content. Many associations are also devoting more resources to improving and updating their websites, with several associations launching new efforts to make their travel-planning websites smartphone friendly.
CAMP’s Nov. 5 meeting included presentations by several campground association vendors, including Bob MacKinnon of GuestReviews.com, who also provided CAMP with a $500 donation. Other speakers included Lucas Hartford of Evergreen USA in Maine; Eric Stumberg of Austin, Texas-based TengoInternet; Wade Elliott of Utility Supply Group in Kingsburg, Wash.; and Joy Johnson Wilson of the National Conference of State Legislators, who provided an update on the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its potential effects on private park operators.
Country music singer Jarod Blake also made a presentation to CAMP regarding his recent tour of Wisconsin campgrounds, which was coordinated with the help of Severson. Blake talked about the idea of doing a national tour to promote visitation at the nation’s private parks. He encourage state executives to contact him immediately if they would like to be on his 2014 tour schedule.
CAMP’s next meeting is scheduled for May 13-14 in Fort Worth, Texas.