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New Resort Earns ARVC’s Plan-It Green Award

December 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

New park earns ARVC applause.

Click here to read an earlier story in Woodall’s Campground Management.

Cypress Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C., is less than a year old, but the 101-site park has already generated national recognition by winning the Plan-It-Green award from the National Association of RV Parks and Campground (ARVC).

The award recognizes campgrounds that have made outstanding efforts to become environmentally friendly by meeting at least half of 18 eco-friendly practices outlined by the Denver-based association, according to a news release.

Cypress Camping Resort met 16 of the 18 eco-friendly standards, scoring major points with its decision to purchase and install seven park model cabins, two 16-bed bunkhouses, two bathhouses and a modular office building, all of which were built by Nationwide Homes according to the company’s green building specifications.

“All of our buildings are certified green,” said Heather Johnson, Cypress Camping Resort’s director of marketing.

The buildings are all energy- and water-efficient structures that include metal roofs, environmentally friendly insulation and hardiplank siding that requires little maintenance. The buildings are also equipped with laminate flooring, instant hot water heaters, low-flow toilets and energy efficient lighting.

“Our campers like them a lot,” Johnson said, adding that the park models are popular with families while the bunkhouses are often used by Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and other youth groups.

Cypress Camping Resort, which opened in June, is one of the first resorts in the Myrtle Beach area to have access to the Intracoastal Waterway, which enables the resort to accommodate campers who bring their boats and fishing equipment. The resort received the Plan-It-Green Award during a Nov. 30 awards ceremony hosted by ARVC at the Rio All Suite-Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Cypress Camping Resort was one of three parks to receive the award, the others being River’s End Campground & RV Park in Tybee Island, Ga., and Sun N Fun RV Resort in Sarasota, Fla. For more information about Cypress Camping Resort, visit www.cypresscampingresort.com.

ARVC, for its part, is a national trade association that markets campgrounds, RV parks and resorts through its travel planning website at www.GoCampingAmerica.com.

Based in Martinsville, Va., Nationwide Homes is one of the nation’s most experienced modular and park model homebuilders and a major supplier to the campground industry. Visit its website at www.nationwide-homes.com for more information.

 

ARVC: More Parks Join ‘Green’ Bandwagon

April 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

As the nation celebrates Earth Day, there will likely be calls for increased investments in energy and water saving technologies as well as other environmentally sustainable practices, several of which are already in use at the Flagstaff KOA.

In addition to having two windmills that supply 10 to 25 percent of the electrical hookup needs for its 200 campsites depending on the season, Flagstaff KOA’s outdoor lighting is entirely solar powered, according to the ARVC Report. Aside form using energy-efficient light bulbs inside its buildings, the park also uses six 55-gallon barrels to capture rainwater, which it uses to irrigate its native landscaping. Last year alone the park captured about 5,000 gallons of rainwater, which was significant given that 2009 was a drought year.

“We started in 2009 by trying to be as green as possible,” said Janyel Pitman, the park’s manager, adding that the windmill’s are “worth their weight in gold. “After all the tax rebates and credits, they didn’t cost very much.”

She said that Flagstaff KOA has used the land around the base of the windmills to create an “eco park” with educational displays that inform visitors about various recycling facts as well as things people can do in their homes to lessen their environmental impacts.

The report states that while the green initiatives undertaken by the Flagstaff KOA are exemplary, the park is actually one of a growing number of private campgrounds across the country that are making investments in a variety of energy, water and natural resource saving programs. Some are doing so on their own initiative, while others are doing so with active encouragement from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds in Larkspur, Colo., which launched a green parks initiative three years ago called “Plan-it Green.”

“Industry research shows that consumers like to go to parks that are environmentally friendly, which is an additional benefit to parks that invest in green practices,” said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the national association.

The ARVC Report lists this sampling of campgrounds and RV parks across the country that are doing what they can to help the environment:

Carlsbad KOA in Carlsbad, N.M.: This park has installed a 2.4-kilowatt wind turbine, which helps power the campground’s office, store, restaurant, bathrooms and laundry. The park has also added a solar water heating system for its swimming pool, which paid for itself during the first season, said park co-owner Susan Bacher.

Crossroads RV Park in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa: Park operator Jeff Krug built this park with green initiatives in mind, including compact fluorescent light bulbs, motion detector light switches and a tankless water heater. “We also don’t use any paper products in our bath and shower rooms,” Krug said. “Instead, it’s electric hand dryers.” He also installed geomat under the park’s gravel roadways. “This strengthens, firms and holds a solid sub-base so the rock will not be lost in the mud,” he said. This year, Krug plans to provide his guests with separate bins so that they can sort their glass, plastic, and paper waste for recycling.

Hill Country Jellystone in Canyon Lake, Texas: This park recently added two energy efficient cabins with R-19 insulation, dual pane glass, a metal front door and R-30 roof insulation. The park also uses electronic confirmations and recently started using an online brochure, which should cut down on the park’s printing costs.

Jellystone Park Camp-Resort, Williamsport, Md.: This park received awards from the Washington County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation as well as ARVC last year for its successful recycling initiatives involving local charity organizations. The park recycles all of its aluminum cans through Star Community, a local non-profit community for people with developmental disabilities. The park also collects plastic and cardboard on behalf of ARC Inc. of Washington County, which works to improve the lives of people of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Park owners Ron and Vicki Vitkun have also invested in motion-activated lights and programmable thermostats and are exploring the merits of solar power for water heating and power generation.

Normandy Farms in Foxboro, Mass.: This park is landscaping its grounds with plants and flowers that require less water. It’s also using pressure-reducing shower valves and waterless urinals to eliminate flushing and reduce water waste. In terms of its electrical consumption, the park has replaced all of its lights with fluorescent bulbs and installed motion lights in its common buildings. The park also offers single sort recycling stations, which combine cardboard, glass and aluminum into one receptacle.

Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C.: South Carolina’s Ocean Lakes received a “Plan it Green” award from ARVC last year for its successful iCare Program, which encourages guests to sort their trash into recycling containers, to properly dispose of pet waste and even to pick up trash along the beach, thereby lessening the environmental impact of the guests and the campground itself. Last year, Ocean Lakes guests and employees recycled more than 59,000 pounds of waste using five iCare stations currently available at the campground. The park plans to install additional recycle stations this year.

Pinewood Lodge in Plymouth, Mass.: Pinewood Lodge has installed low wattage fluorescent lighting in its buildings and street lights as well as electric light timers. The park has also equipped its restroom facilities with low-flow toilets and solar panels. “The cleaning products we use to clean these facilities, as well as our rental units, are low in harsh chemicals,” said park owner Kim Saunders, adding that the park also tries to reduce its carbon footprint by having its employees use electric golf carts for transportation around the campground as well as for transportation to and from work for those employees who live nearby.

Sacred Rocks Reserve in Boulevard, Calif.: Park owners Sharon and Dimitri Courmousis recently received a “Plan it Green” award from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds for various environmentally friendly initiatives, including removing nearly 80 tons of trash from the 163-acre property when they acquired the park in 2003; recycling 850 abandoned trees that had been discarded on the property; and rescuing hundreds of 400-year-old oak trees that were vulnerable to insect infestations. The park also invested in solar powered park models, which it uses as rental accommodations and sells to individuals and families, who can place them on leased sites at the park and use them as a weekend retreat or vacation cottages.

Sandy Pines in Hopkins, Mich.: This 2,220-site park recently invested in geothermal heating and cooling systems, which it uses to heat and cool the park’s laundry, store, beauty shop and donut shop in addition to heating water for the park’s car wash. The park has also converted two of its swimming pools from chlorine to salt water filtration systems. But the green initiatives didn’t stop there. This year, Sandy Pines plans to add geothermal heating and cooling to two more buildings while adding saltwater filtration systems to two more swimming pools, said Managing Director Max Gibbs. The park has also installed T-8 florescent lighting and other high-efficiency lighting systems in 20 buildings and added three instant hot water systems to its buildings.

Sugar Loafin’ RV Campground and Cabins in Leadville, Colo.: “We have always been a green park – even before green was in,” said park operator Don Seppi, adding that he has solar panels on a service building, which help with heating. The park also has native plants and grasses throughout the campground. Seppi also promotes and sells Eco-Save holding tank products to his guests.

Vineyard RV Park in Vacaville, Calif.: Vineyard has engaged in various green initiatives in recent years, including requesting water and power audits from its local utilities and investing in more efficient water and power fixtures. The resulting savings enabled the park to recoup its investment in one year. The park also uses only recycled content paper and Eco-friendly paper towels, toilet paper and cleaning products. The park’s owners plan to redevelop the entire property to green standards during the next two to four years. “During that time, we expect to rebuild all buildings on the property and retrofit them with extensive solar installations,” said park owner Meaghan Bertram, adding that she will apply for LEED certification for all her new buildings, whose interiors and exteriors will be designed to green standards. “The office buildings and clubhouses will be primarily powered by solar and the pool will be heated by a solar hot water heater,” she said. Bertram also plans to landscape the property with native plants, and irrigate them with weather sensitive irrigation controllers, which automatically adjust their watering schedules as weather conditions change. “Our goal is to achieve LEED platinum certification for the buildings, but of course this will depend on budget and timing,” she said. LEED certification is the green standard set by the US Green Building Council.

ARVC Explains How to Become Green-Friendly

April 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Since the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) launched its “Plan-It Green” program three years ago, more than 100 campgrounds and RV resorts across the country have made a formal pledge to adopt environmentally friendly practices, while informing their guests of the benefits of doing the same.

But in an effort to encourage even more parks to participate in the program – and to adopt a greater number of green practices – ARVC has partnered with the Woodall’s North American Campground Directory to formally recognize qualifying parks with a “Green Friendly” icon next to their listings in the GoCampingAmerica.com and Woodalls.com travel planning websites as well as the 2011 print edition of the Woodall’s directory, according to a news release.

“Some parks have adopted environmentally friendly practices on their own initiative, but many are pledging to adopt green building and recycling programs with encouragement from our association,” said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of ARVC, which currently recognizes green parks with a “Plan-It Green” logo on their GoCampingAmerica.com listing. The association also holds an annual awards competition for green parks.

Profaizer said campgrounds are a natural fit for environmentally friendly initiatives, since most parks are located in scenic locations that encourage enjoyment of nature and the outdoors.

While parks that participate in the “Plan-It Green” program are required to adopt a minimum of three eco-friendly practices, such as offering recycling programs for their guests, planting trees to offset carbon emissions or avoiding the use of chemicals that are harmful to the environment, parks that want to be designated “Green Friendly” through the association’s partnership with Woodall’s must have at least nine of the following 18 criteria:

  • Tankless water heaters.
  • Motion sensors for lighting in bathrooms and clubhouses.
  • Energy efficient light bulbs.
  • Non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products.
  • Water saving showerheads and/or faucets with automatic shutoff taps.
  • Recycle bins for cans, paper, glass and plastic.
  • Energy saving appliances.
  • Eco-friendly and “Leave No Trace” tips and education for guests.
  • Landscaping that uses wood chip, pebble, paved or grass paths to decrease soil erosion.
  • “Reduce Water Usage” signage for guests around the park.
  • One or more of the following: lighting, heaters and/or coolers with timers.
  • Solar or wind power.
  • Low flush toilets or waterless urinals.
  • Grey water access (if allowed in state).
  • On-site organic composting.
  • Email confirmations rather than paper to minimize paper waste.
  • Geothermal heating and cooling.
  • A program for frequent tree planting.

Parks that wish to be considered for “Green Friendly” recognition through the ARVC-Woodalls partnership will be evaluated by Woodall’s representatives who visit their parks during the coming months. Parks that don’t feel they can meet nine of the 18 criteria for “Green Friendly” recognition are encouraged to take ARVC’s “Plan-It Green” pledge, in which parks promise to adhere to at least three of the following eight criteria:

  • Offer recycling to guests and recycle where possible.
  • Avoid using products or chemicals that are harmful to the environment.
  • Evaluate energy or water usage and take steps to conserve.
  • Use energy saving products, such as Compact Fluorescent Lighting or Energy Star products.
  • Offer eco-friendly tips to guests.
  • Offset the park’s carbon footprint.
  • Offer 100 percent green energy to guests.
  • Plant trees to offset carbon emissions.

Additionally, “Plan-It Green” parks encourage their guests to:

  • Respect the natural wildlife, plants and trees.
  • Use non-toxic biological holding tank products.
  • Recycle and properly dispose of litter.
  • Conserve energy and other resources during their stay.

Parks that meet the above criteria and would like to pledge to “Plan it Green” should e-mail Grant Barnette at gbarnette@arvc.org.

Parks not currently participating in any of the above eco-friendly measures, are encouraged to visit ARVC’s “Green Toolbox” at www.arvc.org/planItGreen.aspx. The toolbox also includes a Green Park award application and information on federal tax credits for going green.

For more information about Woodalls.com and the Woodall’s North American Campground Directory, contact Dawn Watanabe at (800) 323-9076, Ext. 618 or e-mail her at dwatanabe@affinitygroup.com.

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