The Escapees club’s rules of etiquette for RVers parking overnight in shopping center parking lots received support during the second annual Consumer Dialogue meeting, hosted by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).

The meeting occurred on Sept. 10 at ARVC’s national headquarters in Falls Church, Va., and it included representatives from RV consumer groups as well as trade groups, said Linda Profaizer, ARVC’s vice president and COO.

The next “Consumer Dialogue” meeting will take place in September of 2002, she said.

The meeting included representatives of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), Recreational Club Management, the Good Sam Club, the African American RVers Association, RVers Online, Holiday Rambler RV Club, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).

“We had a very full agenda including updates on legislative issues that have an impact on RVers and some in-depth discussions on the evolution and outlook of our industry,” said Cathie Carr, CEO of The Escapees, the nation’s largest association of full-time RVers. “Naturally, we brought up the need to find middle ground on the overnight parking debates between RVers and campground owners.”

The Livingston, Texas-based association of 30,000 full-time RVers is known for bucking heads with campground owners and others who attempt to prohibit overnight parking at Wal-Mart stores.

Carr shared the Escapees’ “etiquette letter” with the group and received favorable comments, including a positive response from Don Eversmann, executive director of the FMCA, who expressed an interest in distributing the letters to FMCA members as well.

The Escapees dry camping etiquette letter highlights the need for RVers to obtain permission for overnight parking from qualified individuals, to avoid using slideouts, awnings or leveling jacks, and to purchase gas, food or supplies as a form of thank you to the parking provider, and to leave the area cleaner than it was before.

“We believe that if all the RV organizations would help educate their members on proper etiquette, then the abuses would be far less frequent,” Carr said, adding, “We would like the Escapees creed to become a universally accepted form of etiquette when dry camping in metropolitan areas. Particularly, limiting stays at places like Wal-Mart to 24-hours or preferably less. In other words, to simply rest and move on.

“Our hope would be that if RVers abide by this creed then campground owners would take less offense,” she continued. “Then, they would realize there are times when an RVer, who is fully self-contained, simply does not need the amenities of an RV park, especially if they are simply resting and then moving onto whatever particular destination they have in mind where they will stay in a dedicated parking facility.”

Profaizer said no formal actions were taken during the meeting regarding the dry camping issue, but she said representatives of the groups in attendance agreed to continue discussing the issue.