Thu May 16, 2019
Author: RV News Staff
The RV industry is focusing on improving and expanding campgrounds in the U.S. during RV’s Move America Week, pressing federal lawmakers to make a dent in the $12 billion needed for upkeep in the country’s national parks.
Improving national parks is a critical concern for the RV industry and is one of the few national issues that attract bi-partisan support, RVIA says. The group adds it will push to have any infrastructure legislation also include funding for the country’s roads, bridges, tunnels, campgrounds, marinas and trails. The group also backs legislation that offers “innovative solutions and sustainable funding” to address the deferred maintenance backlog on federal lands, which is critical to improve and expand federal campgrounds.
RVIA also is pushing to improve broadband access on federal land agency front country sites and key road corridors. This will provide consistent Wi-Fi coverage at campgrounds; a means to contact emergency services in remote areas; real-time weather alerts, enhanced maps to safely navigate trails and waterways; the ability to access online reservations and rentals while traveling in rural areas; access to valuable interpretive and educational information; and increased marketing and promotion of iconic federal lands via social media.
RVIA points out the country has outdated Eisenhower-era federal campground infrastructure, crumbling roads and bridges, deferred maintenance needs and limited camping availability. “These are critical issues for the outdoor recreation industry and is a particularly critical issue for the RV industry,” the RVIA says. “Inadequate campgrounds limit access to outdoor recreation opportunities and negatively impact the visitor experience.”
The Department of the Interior has more than $16 billion in deferred maintenance costs and of that total, the National Park Service has the largest share at nearly $12 billion, according to RVIA. There are $78 million in campground infrastructure deferred maintenance needs, as well as over $6.5 billion in deferred maintenance directly affecting roads, bridges, and water systems on NPS lands. Additionally, deferred maintenance for all United State Forest Service infrastructure totals $5.2 billion.
The benefits of expanding and improving the outdoor recreation economy are clear and compelling, the RVIA says. When Americans participate in outdoor recreation such as RVing and camping, they purchase gas, gear, equipment and food. In return, the outdoor recreation industry contributes $65.3 billion in annual tax revenue to federal coffers.
The RVIA says that for every dollar Congress invests in the National Park Service, $10 is returned to the U.S. economy – which directly benefits the country’s rural areas and gateway communities.