Two Organizations Provide Excellent Value

California RV parks and campgrounds can benefit from joining both their national and state associations. Each provides services and discounts that support California campground operators.

National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds – membership runs on a calendar year

  • The national association, ARVC, advocates for RV parks on a national level, working with the ADA Access Board, National Electric Code, RVIA, RVDA, Outdoor Recreation Coalition and many other important organizations.
  • ARVC leverages volume discounts from propane vendors, music & movie licensing corporations, equipment and other vendors.
  • ARVC provides a broad-based quality education program for park operators through its conference, week-long school or online webinars.
  • ARVC offers national marketing with

California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds – membership runs August thru July

  • Your state association, CalARVC, advocates at the state level. In California, RV parks and campgrounds are subject to a wide variety of regulations that do not exist in other parts of the country. With a team of lobbyists in Sacramento, and coalitions with travel and business groups, a team of attorneys, and over 30 years of monitoring California’s campground regulations, CalARVC provides guidance and information to member campgrounds.
  • CalARVC offers free legal assistance with eight attorneys volunteering their time along with free access to removal and eviction forms on
  • CalARVC leverages volume discounts for movie licensing, office supplies, credit card processing, equipment, booth spaces at the California RV Show and other vendors.
  • CalARVC’s RV Park Days provides personalize education and casual networking hosted by a CalARVC me

Santee Lakes Koval Wins Council Seat and Stewardship Awards

November and December seem to be magical months for Laura Koval, who manages Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve and its 300-site public campground.

In early November, Santee Lakes won its third Plan-it-Green Award in the past five years from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).

Earlier this month, Santee Lakes also won its first Torch Award for Environmental Stewardship from the Better Business Bureau, a highly competitive award involving every category of business in San Diego and Orange Counties.

To top it off, Koval has made a successful foray into politics, winning a seat on the Santee City Council. She was sworn in to a two-year term on Wednesday, Dec. 12 and will be the only woman on the Santee City Council.

“It’s been a crazy few months!” said Koval, who was born and raised in rural East San Diego County and built successful careers in community service, marketing and customer retention before going into the campground business four years ago.

But Koval said she has the experience needed to help the city of Santee, which like many communities will struggle with a budgetary shortfall if there is no course correction. “That’s my area of expertise: budgeting and revenue generation and thinking of creative ways to generate income. I just felt that with my experience, I should run,” she said.

Koval initially worked for the Boys and Girls Clubs of East San Diego County and subsequently spent 28 years working in various positions for the San Diego Padres baseball team, ultimately becoming their director of ticket services and fan loyalty. Then she spotted the opportunity to move to Padre Dam Municipal Water District in 2012 and ultimately moved to manage Santee Lakes, a scenic public campground with seven private, stocked fishing lakes, all of …

Leadership Transition Underway at CalARVC

Debbie Sipe plans to turn over her leadership duties at CalARVC and Camp-California! Marketing to Dyana Kelley next summer

A transition in leadership is now underway at the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) and Camp-California! Marketing, its for-profit marketing subsidiary, according to a press release.

Debbie Sipe plans to resign from her positions as executive director of CalARVC and CEO of Camp-California! Marketing next July.

Dyana Kelley, a life-long RV enthusiast, backpacker and former REI outdoor travel guide, will assume Sipe’s duties. Kelley, who joined CalARVC June 1 to manage the association’s marketing, was selected to replace Sipe after a nationwide executive search.

Sipe has already begun training Kelley for her new leadership positions at CalARVC, as well as Camp-California! Marketing, which manages, the association’s travel planning website and its Camp-California! campground directory.

“CalARVC and Camp-California! Marketing will be in good hands with Dyana,” said CalARVC President Randy Hendrickson, who noted that Kelley has a natural passion for the camping and RV industries.

Kelley literally took her first RV trip as a newborn baby. Her father, an avid RVer and fisherman, packed her into a banana box and took her and her mother on a trip to Crowley Lake for the opening week of trout fishing season. Kelley would not only grow up camping with her family at Crowley Lake every year, but she would continue RVing and camping on her own as an adult.

This set the stage for Kelley’s lifetime of passion in the outdoor recreation industry, according to the release. Kelley has traveled by RV to the 48 contiguous states (Alaska is on her bucket list), visited 26 national parks and hiked many of Ca…

November General Election Preview

by Don Gilbert, Mike Robson, Trent Smith, and Jason Ikerd; EGRS Lobbying, CalARVC’s Lobby Firm

The November General Election will be held on November 6. Much media attention is being placed on the fact that it is a mid-Presidential term election and therefore serves as a barometer of how the national voting public feels about the President of the United States.

Many pundits believe that control of the House of Representatives, and possibly the U.S. Senate could shift from Republican to Democrat. For that to happen, however, there are many traditionally California Republican congressional seats that would need to become Democrat seats in this election. These hotly contested congressional races will have a ripple effect on the elections for Governor, statewide ballot measures, and the Legislature, which is the main focus of this report.

Going into the November election it is important to note a few basic voter registration facts in California. The key fact is that both major parties are declining in voter registration, with decline in Republican registration being more dramatic.

As of September 7, 2018:

Democrats — 43.8 percent
Republicans — 25.1 percent
No Party Preference — 25.5 percent

At this point, there are more people who choose neither major party than there are people who register as Republicans.

It is widely expected that the current Lt. Governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom, will prevail in the race for Governor against Republican John Cox. Newsom has raised significantly more money and has held a significant lead in every statewide poll to date. The only debate occurred as a radio debate and attracted little attention. Cox is running on fiscal responsibility and opposition to increased fees and taxes. He specifica…

80 Park Operators Attend CalARVC’s Fall RV Park Day

Nearly 80 private park operators gathered at Wine Country RV Resort in Paso Robles to attend CalARVC’s Fall RV Park Day education and networking event.

But roughly a dozen park operators arrived the day before the Sept. 26 event to attend a disaster planning workshop with Patrick Hardy, of, one of the nation’s top disaster planning firms.

Meeting at The Vines RV Resort in Paso Robles, Hardy walked park operators through the process of how to develop their own disaster plan. He also focused on the details, such as coordinating with county emergency officials to find out where they want people to evacuate to.
Hardy said it’s important for park operators to gather the preferred contact information for all park guests and to develop a system for emergency communication with them in the event of an evacuation order. While emergency text messages, such as the emergency presidential alert text issued by the Trump Administration last week, are one way to communicate, not all guests have cellphones or ways of receiving text messages and require another method for emergency communications.

Each park should also have an “incident commander” who is responsible for making key decisions during a disaster, Hardy said, adding that park operators should make several copies of their disaster plans and make sure appropriate park personnel, even new hires, know how to implement these plans.

After completing their disaster planning session, park operators toured The Vines RV Resort, one of three Sun Communities resorts in the Paso Robles area that hosted CalARVC RV Park Day attendees.

The disaster planning workshop attendees then traveled a short distance down the road to attend a late afternoon grand opening celebration at Cava Robles RV Resort, the first Sun Commu…

Crider’s Corner – Emergency Communications

Earlier this year, CalARVC dedicated a full day to emergency planning, with guest speakers from the Border Patrol, the FBI as well as Hytropy Reverse Disaster, one of the nation’s top disaster planning firms.

But there’s another topic that needs to complement planning for any type of emergency, whether it’s a fire or earthquake or a problem involving a staff member or guest: Emergency communications involving the news media.

What will your front desk staff do when they get a call from a reporter asking about an alleged crime that has been committed at your park or some other type of disaster, such as a drowning?
Reporters call the police every day, often several times a day, to find out what is happening in their communities. I used to do this in my early years as a reporter. I’d call both the police and fire departments and they would brief me on the most dramatic incidents, which I wrote about every day.

Many businesses, however, do not have a communications plan in place, let alone one for handling reporters when there’s an emergency situation or a negative news event involving their business.
I experienced this with my first PR job 20 years ago while working as public relations manager USFilter, which at that time was a Fortune 500 company. There was a problem involving the disposal of waste at one of our facilities in another state, which caught the media’s attention. But instead of referring the call to me so that I could investigate the situation and give the reporter an informed response, the person who answered the call provided incomplete information on their own, which resulted in a negative story. None of us at corporate headquarters even knew about the situation until we saw the story the next day. By then, the PR damage had been already done.

It didn’t have to be that wa…

Crider’s Corner – Pitching to TV Reporters

One thing every park operator should know how to do is pitch their park to TV reporters.

Granted, many parks are located in remove locations, and I have found that most TV reporters are not willing to drive more than an hour from their office to cover a story unless it is truly compelling.

You also have to keep in mind that when you pitch a TV station to cover an event or other story at your park, you are literally competing against every other type of “breaking news” that could be taking place at the same time, from brushfires to court cases to protests to meetings of government officials.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying.

I have had success getting TV reporters to come to cover a variety of events or other stories at campgrounds, including the following:

— Heat waves: When the temperature soars into the triple digits, TV reporters often head out looking for great video opportunities to showcase the things people do to cool off. I’ve asked campgrounds to reach out to reporters when this happens and have had great success. TV reporters like to get video of kids sliding down waterslides or jumping around on splashpads or swimming pools. This is not only a great spot news opportunity, but once the reporter is at your park, you can talk to him or her about your other activities and attractions as well as your rental accommodations. Oftentimes, once reporters know what you have, they will come back to visit your park in the future for another story. So the next time you have a heat, you know what to do!!

— Interesting campers: Sometimes, you will have people staying at your park who are worth a TV story in their own right. Some noteworthy examples I’ve heard about from park operators include traveling doctors and nurses. Maybe you have a special kind of medical specialist who loves RVi…

CalARVC Releases Video That Showcases The Association’s Recent Software Education Day

CalARVC Releases 22-Minute Video That Showcases The Six Vendors Who Participated In The Association’s Recent Software Educational Day

AUBURN Calif., April 5, 2018 — The California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) in conjunction with have released a 22-minute video that highlights the six companies whose online reservation and property management systems were showcase during the association’s inaugural Software Education Day.

The video, which can be accessed with this link (Reservation Software for Your RV Park or Campground), was produced and narrated by Mark Koep of It was produced on location at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula during the Feb. 27 CalARVC event.

Susanne White, CalARVC’s deputy director, told Koep that the association organized the daylong software education event because of the high volume of questions they receive about front desk management systems.

Susanne White, CalARVC’s deputy director, told Koep that the association organized the daylong software education event because of the high volume of questions they receive about front desk management systems.

“One of the number one questions we get from our members is, ‘What software are people using?’ ‘What software is going to be the best fit for my park?’ ‘Do you know of a software that does this or that?’ I didn’t know how to answer those questions,” White said.

So the idea for campground industry’s first ever Software Education Day was born.
The daylong event featured six companies and had the distinction of being the largest gathering of online reservation and property management software providers that has ever been assembled for a campground industry event. Participating vendors included:

— As

CalARVC Releases Video With Highlights of Its Recent Disaster Planning Training Session

CalARVC Releases Video With Highlights of Its Recent Disaster Planning Training Session

AUBURN, Calif., April 5, 2018 — Park operators who didn’t get a chance to attend the disaster planning exercise during CalARVC’s recent RV Park Day event can now get a taste of what they missed on video.

The four-minute video was produced and narrated by Mark Koep of It was produced on location at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula during the Feb. 28 event.

The emergency preparedness sessions included briefings by FBI and Border Patrol agents as well as a disaster training workshop and a live scenario exercise simulating a hazardous materials spill, which was the primary focus of the video.

Patrick Hardy of Hytropy Reverse Disaster at, one of the nation’s top disaster planning firms, led the disaster planning exercise.  He urged park operators to prepare disaster plans that cover the threats they are most likely to face, such as earthquakes, fires and floods. He said it’s also worthwhile to prepare plans to address active shooters and hazardous materials spills.  It’s also imperative to schedule disaster drills to test the effectiveness of these plans under real life situations.

“It will really expose the weaknesses and expose the strengths in any disaster program in any park,” Hardy said in the video interview.  To underscore his point, Hardy had park operators participate in a simulated hazardous materials spill at Pechanga RV Resort, portions of which Koep captured on video.

Hardy assigned park operators to play different roles, including injured guests and responders. The exercise also included the involvement of real firefighters and first responders who arrived on the scene with their emergency lights flashing.


Over 100 Park Operators Attend CalARVC’s Spring RV Park Day Events

TEMECULA, Calif., March 6, 2018 — More than 100 park operators from California, Arizona and Colorado attended CalARVC’s Campground Reservation Management Software Session and Emergency Response Preparedness Days.
The daylong Software Education Day, which took place Feb. 27 at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif., featured six companies and had the distinction of being the largest gathering of online reservation and property management software providers that has ever been assembled for a campground industry event. Participating vendors included:

— Aspira, a Dallas, Texas-based company best known for owning and operating, which supports reservations for more than 5,000 mostly public park campgrounds and more 17 million unique visitors per year. Aspira also offers a comprehensive administrative management system and is broadening its reach to include more privately-owned parks.

— Sunrise Campground Automation, a Mt. Juliet, Tenn.-based company whose product offering includes self-service check-in kiosks as well as front desk management software, which it markets as the Sunrise Panorama reservation system.

— Campspot, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company that offers a real-time, web-based reservation software application. Campspot’s customers include parks affiliated with the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort franchise network, Northgate Resorts and Adventure Bound Camping Resorts.

— Mission Management, a Niagara Falls, Ont.-based company that offers the Astra Campground Manager front desk management system, which can be locally hosted or cloud based, depending on the strength and reliability of the park’s Internet service. Mission Management’s recent purchase of has integrated …