Campground operators in Oregon have formed a committee to set up their own statewide association with backing from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and the California Travel Parks Association (CTPA), according to officials involved with the discussions.
The effort, launched by a group of Oregon campground operators during CTPA’s Western Regional Conference Feb. 23-25 in Portland, Ore., is intended to provide campground owners with a higher level of representation and advocacy than they could otherwise achieve through the Oregon Lodging Association (OLA) or CTPA.
“It’s time for us to create our own organization, one that’s specifically geared to Oregon RV park and campground owners,” said Julian Starr, co-owner of the 109-space Turtle Rock Resort in Gold Beach, Ore. Starr is co-chairman of the effort to form an independent Oregon campground association along with Denyse King, general manager of the 200-site Salem Campground and RVs in Salem.
Though Starr and King both said Oregon’s private campgrounds have benefited from their longstanding relationships with CTPA and OLA, the pair explained that they need more campground-specific representation at state and local levels as government jurisdictions increasingly make business and regulatory decisions that affect campground and RV park owners.
For example, that Oregon voters recently approved a 1% lodging tax to raise money to help Oregon promote itself as a tourist destination. Thus far campground owners have not been able to influence spending decisions involving revenue from the tax, which took effect Jan. 1. The reason is because they don’t have a lobbyist or trade association to represent them in meetings with state legislators.
King also noted that county parks are posing increasing problems for private campground operators in Oregon. She said officials in Sweet Home, for example, have proposed using tax revenue to make improvements to a county park that would compete with private campgrounds in the area.
In addition to addressing such issues, King said, a new campground-specific organization could provide other benefits to campground owners, including discounts on a variety of products and services such as health insurance for park operators and their employees.
Starr said ARVC and CTPA have provided Oregon campground owners with money to help form their own statewide association. He said the first order of business would be to hire an attorney to help set up a nonprofit association and to pick a name for the association. Star said he hopes to have the association’s board established by late summer or early fall.