Nearly 35 people attended a Wednesday (April 12) campground/RV conference in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, hosted by the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) at the Don H. Bottum University Center on the campus of Northern Michigan University in Marquette. To view a video produced by ABC 10, click here.

Around 65 private campgrounds and three RV dealerships are located in the Upper Peninsula, which, due to their isolation and distance from Lansing, could appreciate having “relevant information brought to them that they otherwise might not have known about,” according to MARVAC officials.

“This being the first time we’ve done something like this, I’d have to say it was a fairly good success,” MARVAC Director Darren Ing told RVBUSINESS.com. “At the end of the conference I was thanking people for coming and one nice lady stopped and told me, ‘No, thank you! Thank you for coming up here and putting this on for us here in our backyard.’”

Topics covered included:

  • DEQ Campground Rules and Regulations by Karen Beauchamp of the DEQ (state Department of Environmental Quality).
  • How campgrounds and RV dealerships can showcase their business on Michigan’s travel website Michigan.org by Kelly Wolgamott of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
  • Michigan legislative update: What is the current legislative climate for the industry and what to expect going down the road by John Lindley of Public Affairs Associates (PAA).
  • Industry update: Learn about the forecast for campgrounds and RV dealerships from Bill Sheffer, MARVAC executive director.
  • Q & A: Attendees can ask MARVAC board members and staff questions regarding the industry.

Ing said MARVAC “planted a seed” with this initial conference so it’s up to the association to nurture it by hosting more meetings in the U.P.

“Hopefully, the people who were with us will tell their peers ‘Here’s what we learned. You definitely need to come to the next one,’” Ing said.

Although the primary objective was to bring relevant information to the RV dealers and campground owners in the Upper Peninsula, he said a secondary goal was to promote MARVAC. In fact, Northern RV Center, located near the Wisconsin border in Quinesec, Mich., joined the association after the conference.