Editor’s Note: This letter was circulated by Bobby Cornwell, the president and CEO of the Florida RV Park and Campground Association (FRVCA), to FRVCA members as an update after Hurricane Ian made its way through the state earlier this week.
As everyone knows, Hurricane Ian was devastating to the southwest Florida coastal counties of Lee, Charlotte and Collier, and to many surrounding and inland counties as well. Ian will go down as one of the strongest and worse hurricanes ever to hit Florida. The extent of damage is not yet known and it will be a while before we can fully understand and grasp it. Even as Ian is exiting our state, the storm’s strong winds and rains are still being felt in Central Florida and the northeast coast.
We have over 50 member RV parks and campgrounds in Lee, Charlotte and Collier County. This wonderful region of the state, which was the hardest hit, has more RV parks than anywhere else in Florida, and for good reason — it was paradise. The aftermath of Hurricane Ian was horrible, to say the least, but southwest Florida WILL without a doubt be rebuilt and WILL be paradise once again. Our prayers and thoughts go out to everyone there, and to everyone throughout Florida who was impacted by this storm. As I stated, we do not have enough information at this time to report on specific park damages. We will update everyone as the information comes in over the next couple of weeks.
Fortunately, we are getting reports from campgrounds that are open and weren’t affected. Many are saying they had minor damage or loss of power but are expected to reopen as soon as power is restored. Of course, the majority of Florida’s RV parks were not damaged or significantly affected by the hurricane and are open for business, and are able to accommodate many RVers who were displaced. This is especially true for all the parks in Northern and NW Florida, and those along the Gulf Coast North of Tampa.
Florida is not shut-down and southwest Florida will rebuild and rebound. Our Florida RV Park and Campground Industry is very strong, and our park owners and operators are some of the best people in the world. I have no doubt the industry will rally together and support all those in need. If we hear of any special needs or requests from damaged parks, we will get the word out and let everyone know how they can help.
For those park owners who are in need financially, and for others who want to donate, we have the Florida Campground Association Disaster Relief Fund. If you would like to make a donation or would like to find out how to receive assistance, please contact the Florida RV Park and Campground Association office at 850-562-7151, or email: [email protected].
For damage updates and information please visit our consumer Facebook page: www.facebook.com/campflorida where we will be sharing park posts and posting information as we get it. If your park is near any of the areas hit hard, and your park is open or you expect to open soon, PLEASE let us know so we can get the word out to campers, media, emergency workers, contractors, and health and safety personnel who are needing RV sites or rental accommodations.
Thank you and best wishes and prayers to everyone impacted. Don’t hesitate to let us know if we can be of assistance.