Virginia Association Expounds on State Park Relationship
Editor's Note: The following letter from the leadership of the Virginia Campground Association (VCA) is in response to the Letter to the Editor from Bill Small, a campground owner in Virginia, that was published in the February issue of Woodall's Campground Management. This VCA response did not come in time to make the deadline for the March issue of WCM but will be published in the April issue. Click here to read an earlier story about Small's contentions that was posted on www.woodallscm.com.
To The Editor of Campground Management:
On Jan, 23, 2012, the Board of Directors of the Virginia Campground Association considered the legislation that Bill Small has been promoting demanding that the state stop building camping sites and cabins. The board discussed the bill at length and adopted the following motion:
VCA does not support SB 571 as written. It is the intention of the Virginia Campground Association and the Virginia State Parks to continue to develop and nurture a public/private partnership to uncover new ways to work together for the benefit of our businesses and the state, and to address issues in a timely fashion that may arise and requires cooperation and compromise from both the public and private sectors for the larger good.
This motion passed unanimously with one abstention. Two board members were not present to vote.
Mr. Small asserts that the state parks pay “grossly discounted dues,” for a presence in the Virginia Campground Directory, published by the VA Campground Association. Mr. Small would know if he was a member of the association that in October 2010, the VCA Board voted that only full dues paying members of the association were eligible to be included in the directory. This action preceded by a number of months ARVC’s campaign to enroll state parks. During the summer of 2011, the Virginia State Parks enrolled six parks in VCA at the full, undiscounted membership fee that includes membership in both VCA and ARVC. No discounts. No free months. No special privileges. Only those six parks are included in the 2012 Virginia Campground Directory and are full members of both the state and national associations. We anticipate that the number of state parks retaining membership in VCA and ARVC will grow in the coming years.
The ”fruits of collaboration” with the State Parks began several months ago with the creation of a Marketing Task Force comprised of public and private members of VCA. The purpose of this committee is to pursue new ways for the public and private sectors to work together to increase camping and RVing visitors to Virginia and to encourage more and more Virginians to enjoy camping and RVing in the state. Recent issues of the VSP E-Newsletter to some 30,000 readers included promotion of the VA Campground Directory and future issues will contain featured park articles focusing on a private campground in Virginia. In addition, the private and public camping sectors in VA intend to work closely together to urge the Virginia Tourism Corp. to increase promotion, focus and publicity about camping in Virginia in all of their tourism promotion efforts within the state and in the region.
And we know that there are many other “fruits of collaboration” to be harvested in the future by working cooperatively.
Finally, whether or not Virginia campgrounds agree with the Executive Director regardless of who may hold that position is irrelevant. The Virginia Campground Association is run by an active and engaged Board of Directors who are empowered by the association’s bylaws to make decisions in the best interest of the members they represent. The leadership of the association are successful business people who take the time and make extra effort to voluntarily serve the industry throughout the year. The association board has a broad vision for the future growth of the park industry in Virginia. That vision includes an on-going partnership with all of the campgrounds and RV parks in Virginia, a partnership with the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, an active marketing program that increases RVing and camping in Virginia, and a public affairs program that encourages positive regulation and legislation that benefits the park industry and protects the industry from unfair or unnecessary regulation and legislation.
VCA invites all Virginia campgrounds to support the association, become actively involved in its activities and governance, and join with the 68 current VCA members who are working together for the common good.
Karl Littman, president of the Virginia Campground Association and owner of Candy Hill Campground, Winchester, Va.
Steve Albrecht, chairman of the Virginia Campground Association and owner of Walnut Hill/Staunton KOA, Staunton, Va.
Ray Barker, vice president of Virginia Campground Association and owner of Tall Pines Harbor Campground, Sanford, Va.
Phil Upton, treasurer of the Virginia Campground Association and owner of Holiday Trav-L Park, Virginia Beach, Va.
Kristina Crall-Wagner, secretary of the Virginia Campground Association and operations manager at Bethpage Camp Resort and Gray's Point Camp, Urbanna, Va.