Among its late-year lobbying efforts, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding the proposed Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHI) that would require more secure personal identification of all travelers from the Western Hemisphere into the United States.
In ARVC’s view, the travel industry would be severely affected because there’s so much traffic across the U.S.-Canadian and U.S.-Mexican borders. At the same time, according to the latest issue of ARVC Reports, less than 40% of Canadians and even fewer Mexicans have passports.
ARVC President Linda Profaizer urged the DHS to conduct a thorough analysis of the economic impact of the WHI before adopting it, noting that many RV parks and campgrounds in Sunbelt U.S. states serve thousands of Canadians during the winter months who might be discouraged from traveling by the new I.D. requirements. Instead of passports, she suggests that a valid driver’s license combined with a birth certificate might be acceptable.
In other governmental issues, ARVC representatives testified before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests on Oct. 26 regarding the new “recreation fee” program on federal public lands. Congress established the new 10-year fee format in December to replace the initial “fee demo” program.
Aubrey King, of King & Gorin, ARVC’s government affairs consultant, emphasized ARVC’s support of the program. However, he said, there is disappointment that it is taking the five federal land agencies so long to implement it.
He also urged Congress to ensure that revenue from the new recreation fee program would never be used to support activities or facilities on federal lands that would compete unfairly with private commercial businesses in nearby, gateway communities.