Editor’s Note: Anita Brooks, chairwoman of the Missouri Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (MOARC) Missouri State Parks Committee, shared some year-end thoughts in the latest issue of the MOARC News about the relationship between public and private parks in the Show Me State. As she points out, cooperation is growing between the two sides. Excerpts of her column follow.

Our last convention was stirred by a notable situation. Missouri State Parks requested admittance to our association. A rousing discussion ensued, prompting a direct response from Paul Bambei, president of ARVC, and your MOARC board members. In May, we met with Missouri State Parks leaders, and respectfully clarified our position that they could not join our association. However, we reaped a side benefit. They are willing to share information relevant to our industry.

Their actions may affect you.

  • More state parks are 100% reservable. In the past, when they reached maximum capacity, consumers were told nothing was left. Now, they will send customers to the closest park listed on the Missouri Division of Tourism website. (Make sure your information is up to date.)
  • The Missouri State Parks and Missouri Division of Tourism are partnering too encourage doctors to issue prescriptions for outdoor activities.
  • Missouri is gaining support from corporate sponsors. Most recently, North Face has given monies for the Learn2Camp program. June is earmarked for this push.
  • Areas like Illinois are closing some of their state parks. Missouri’s goal is to target their former customers and reach 20 million new tourists by 2020. Travelers follow main highways, making some of our member parks and naturla draw.
  • The state has agreed to provide national figures for federal campgrounds through the Army Corps of Engineers and Federal park Services. Statistical data helps monitor market trends.
  • Missouri is developing a website to promote trails of all kinds. This includes hiing, biking, government and private trails.
  • They are moving to differential pricing. Peak periods like weekends will be higher than average slower periods, price rates for 2013 and/or 2014 are anticipated.
  • Currently, state parks make 75% of their income from sales tax and 25% from services. They are focusing on changing those ratios to a higher percentage of income from services.
  • When customers ask what they can do in your area, sell them on their place by promoting historical information. You might be surprised at what’s within a 50-mile radius of your property.
  • Missouri State Parks will now allow us to put MOARC Guides and private park brochures in their state park centers.

We are gleaning great value from meeting with the Division of Missouri State Parks. Important information that can benefit our individual park members.

Let’s work together to promote more folks in the great outdoors.