Michigan Parks Upbeat Entering ’13 Season

April 11, 2013 by · Comments Off on Michigan Parks Upbeat Entering ’13 Season 

Members of Michigan ARVC, gather in Lansing for their spring convention.

“Under the Big Top” was the theme of the Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds of Michigan’s (ARVC Michigan) spring convention, which welcomed 100 members from 49 campgrounds March 25-27 in Lansing, Mich.

The trade show featured 64 exhibitors. Both attendance and vendor participation was up from last year, reported Lori Tews, executive director of ARVC Michigan.

“The mood of Michigan campground owners was pure excitement,” Tews reported. “I believe they are all looking forward to the upcoming camping season. Plus, with all the seminars we offered, I’m sure they walked away with new and fun ideas for their campers.”

Steve Yencich, president and CEO of the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association, spoke during the opening lunch about taking a grassroots effort to greatness and the power of member support. He expressed that when the entire hospitality industry works together, it can achieve great things for the state of Michigan.

Scott Everett, legislative consultant to Michigan ARVC.

Scott Everett, Michigan ARVC’s new legislative consultant from Fraser Consulting of Fraser Treblicock law firm, outlined his current work for the association. He is seeking legislation to clarify that campgrounds are not “resellers” of electric but are merely reimbursed for the power their customers use.

He also is working on legislation to address excessive regulations and fees on both wastewater discharge and water withdrawal and to clarify the difference between resort cabins and camping cabins.

On the social front, the Murder Mystery Dinner was exceptional, Tews said, and members enjoyed magician John Dudley.


Michigan ARVC Hires New Executive Director

November 29, 2012 by · Comments Off on Michigan ARVC Hires New Executive Director 

New logo

Lori Tews has been appointed executive director of the Michigan Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (MichARVC).

”She’s got quite a bit of membership background,” MichARVC President Tim Wilcox, owner of Gateway Park Campground, Hillsdale, told Woodall’s Campground Management. ”She was the top of five candidates we interviewed from 80-some applicants.”

Tews, formerly with Morely Cos. Inc., and an executive assistant with the American Medical Association Foundation, was chosen during MichARVC’s Fall Convention & Campground Tour Oct. 22-23 at Holiday Inn West Bay in Traverse City. She received a bachelor’s degree in communication from Saginaw Valley State University and has completed eight of 18 classes toward a master’s  degree in nonprofit administration from North Park University in Chicago.

She replaces Traci Fisher, who served as executive director for 18 months while MichARVC went through a transitional period.

”I just filled the gap after the previous executive director to give them time to decide which way they wanted to go,” Fisher said.

Seventy-five people from about 30 campgrounds attended the meeting which features tours of Traverse Bay RV Resort, Acme along with Timber Ridge RV and Recreation Resort Holiday Park Campground, both in Traverse Bay.

Keynote speaker was Dave Lorenz, public and industry relations manager with Travel Michigan who talked about the state’s tourism opportunities.

Wilcox was re-elected as was Vice President David Cordray of White River RV Park and Campground, Montague and Secretary Deb Nagel of Lincoln Pines Resort, Gowen. Joan Holz of Holiday Camping Resort in New Era was elected the new treasurer.

”Everybody had a great year — some better than others,” Wilcox said. ”For the most part, everybody’s doing well.”

Michigan’s Tim Wilcox Announces Bid for ARVC Board Seat

April 4, 2012 by · Comments Off on Michigan’s Tim Wilcox Announces Bid for ARVC Board Seat 

New logo

The Michigan Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (Michigan ARVC) unveiled its new logo before a large audience at the annual Spring Convention & Trade Show March 26-28 at the Best Western Plus in Lansing.

The convention attracted 127 people from more than 60 campgrounds, reported Tracie Fisher, executive director. The trade show featured 80 booths, well ahead of the 45 booths at the 2011 show. “It was a banner year for us,” Fisher proclaimed.

The increased attendance is an indication of the optimism that prevails across much of the Wolverine state, according to Tim Wilcox, state president.

“I talked with a lot of campgrounds that were considerably up last year and are looking for improvement again this year,” Wilcox said.

Even in the state’s Upper Peninsula, where campgrounds have experienced declining visitation due to higher fuel prices in recent years, owners are finding ways to improve their marketing and get more campers up North, he noted.

Along with the new logo, Michigan ARVC also is revamping its website with the help of Shadow Interactive Inc. of San Diego, Calif. The new site will be ready by summer.

Wilcox announced that he will be a candidate for the Region 3 seat on the board of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) currently held by Garry Cole of Ohio. Cole’s current term expires this year.

Wilcox, 41, is a second-generation campground owner. His park, Gateway Park Campground in Hillsdale, is a 99-site facility that was first developed in the 1940s.

The Michigan ARVC convention also featured seminars led by speakers such as Jeff Sims of ARVC, Greg Taylor of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), Wisconsin campground owner Bud Styer, Kellie Jones of Leisure Systems Inc. and Wade Elliott of Utility Supply Group.

The association printed 300,000 copies of its 2012 camping guide, and distribution has begun, Fisher added.


Michigan RV Parks Garner 300 Units in Blood Drive

November 15, 2010 by · Comments Off on Michigan RV Parks Garner 300 Units in Blood Drive 

During the ARVC Michigan Fall Convention held At the West Branch, Mich., Quality Inn during mid-October, several member parks were honored and thanked for participating in the association’s blood drive program. This was the third year ARVC Michigan has teamed with Michigan Blood to hold drives at member parks, according to a news release.

Blood needs don’t go away in the summer and at the same time many donors are away from home, so keeping the supply pumped up is a big seasonal challenge. To help meet it, Michigan Blood takes donations on the road, usually with their Blood Bus and has found a very successful partner in ARVC Michigan members.

Crittenden Park, East Lake Camping, Frankenmuth Jellystone, Hungry Horse Campground, Gammy Woods Campground, Grand Rogue Campgrounds, Lake of Dreams Campground. Lakeside Camp Park, Lakeside Resort Campgrounds, Lincoln Pines Resort, River Ridge Campground, River Ridge Resort, Timberline Campground, Timber Ridge Resort & RV Park, Whispering Waters Campground, Snow Lake Campground, Sunnybrook RV Resort and Yogi Bear‘s Jellystone Park Resort were thanked.

This season they combined to hold 30 blood drives and because 300 units of blood were collected, there is the potentially to save a grand total of 900 lives. “That is outstanding. They have taken the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life — Sometimes a loved one of their own. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” said Kona Kenny, Michigan Blood New Blood Drive development coordinator.

Michigan ARVC Hopeful as 2010 Season Unfolds

April 8, 2010 by · Comments Off on Michigan ARVC Hopeful as 2010 Season Unfolds 

Michigan campground owners have an optimistic outlook about the upcoming camping season after the Michigan ARVC Convention and Trade Show held March 30-31 at the Bavarian Inn Lodge in Frankenmuth, Mich., where 150 people representing 75 campgrounds and 48 vendors attended.

Executive Director Wayne Purchase said the mood was hopeful.

“The event went very well and everyone was very positive after hearing from the vendors,” he said. “It looks like it will be a good year for the industry here in Michigan.”

Seminar topics included: Social Networking, Hot Topics, 15 Minutes of Fame, Your Septic System, Balloons, Recreation, Landscaping and Pools.

ARVC Michigan officers were already elected this past fall and include: President Tom Briggs, Grand Rogue Campground, Grand Rapids; Vice President Tim Wilcox, Gateway Park, Hillsdale; Secretary Cathy Krueger, Frankenmuth Jellystone Park, Frankenmuth; and Treasurer Bob Kern, Countryside Campgrounds, Harrison.

The next meeting is set for Oct. 18-20 in West Branch.

Michigan Eyes License Fee for State Parks

April 23, 2009 by · Comments Off on Michigan Eyes License Fee for State Parks 

Five years ago, state park officials in Montana found themselves where Michigan is today: Losing general fund support and taking in inadequate user fees to sustain the state’s park system.

They came up with a novel idea: Do away with windshield stickers and instead charge every motorist $4 for the privilege to visit Montana’s 53 parks. By all accounts, it’s an unqualified success, according to The Detroit News.

“This is a superior system,” said Chas Van Genderen, acting director of Montana state parks.

Motorists can opt out of paying the charge on their vehicle registration, but only 12% do. Park attendance swelled by 700,000 visitors a year and the budget increased from $450,000 to $2 million in the first year and reached $2.6 million last year.

Some in Michigan are looking to copy that system. Legislation has been introduced to charge a $10 vehicle registration fee to replace the $24 annual park fee sticker. The Department of Natural Resources says it needs an additional $38 million a year to maintain parks and infrastructure. Going to the registration fee could generate $47 million annually.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm has not taken a position on the proposal and “has concerns whether a vehicle registration fee for parks is appropriate,” said Liz Boyd, her spokeswoman.

The plan has won the support of the Michigan Recreation and Park Association.

“It’s a sustainable source of funding for state parks and campgrounds. If you try to raise admission fees to make it a total fee system, you run the risk of pricing people out of the market,” said Dennis Schornack, executive director of the association.
His group also favors a provision in the legislation that would give 10% of the registration fee revenue to local parks for development and renovation. There are 5,300 local parks across Michigan.

Opponents Raise Issues

But the plan is opposed by the Michigan Municipal League and the County Road Association of Michigan, who say there is a constitutional guarantee that registration fee money be devoted exclusively to transportation programs.

“This would put the burden on the consumer to opt out of paying the fee and in our minds this makes it a tax,” said David Worthams, lobbyist with the Michigan Municipal League.

The question of constitutionality was forwarded to Attorney General Mike Cox on April 2. He has not issued a ruling.
Bill Sheffer, who heads the Michigan Association of Recreational Vehicles and Campgrounds, said he’s hearing from some of his private campground owners who oppose the vehicle registration fee because it’s tantamount to a subsidy for the state campgrounds.

The Michigan Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (Michigan ARVC) also opposes the bill for the same reason cited by Sheffer. The law would be detrimental to private campgrounds, Wayne Purchase, executive director of Michigan ARVC, told Woodall’s Campground Management.