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A controversy over RV enthusiasts parking their rigs for free on a Wal-Mart parking lot has extended as far north as Canada’s Yukon Territory, according to The National Post, a daily newspaper that’s distributed across Canada.
In Whitehorse, the capitol of The Yukon and an outpost along the Alaska Highway, a Wal-Mart opened earlier this year and, this summer, from 40 to 60 RVs are parked on the Whitehorse Wal-Mart lot on a typical night, according to the Post.
But there are opponents to the practice who believe it hurts other businesses and they have asked the Whitehorse City Council to study the issue.
The study is expected to be submitted to the council this month.
“It’s absolutely beautiful here and every RV park offers a stunning view, so I was really curious about why you would choose to go to a Wal-Mart parking lot,” said Sheila Dodd, the city’s tourism co-ordinator, who was quoted by the Post.
So far, Dodd has found that it is the “courteousness, convenience and kindness” that RVers find at Wal-Marts that encourages them to use Wal-Mart parking lots on occasion instead of campgrounds, she told the newspaper.
“It’s a long way from anywhere to get to Whitehorse, so these people have been in their vehicles for a long time,” Dodd said. “They love the attitude at the Wal-Mart.”
The Post also quoted Valerie Hunt, the curator of an exhibit on RV culture called American Wanderlust at “a Vermont museum.” Hunt said, “The people at Wal-Mart are no dummies. They let these people spend the night and they’re not compelled to buy anything, but in the morning, you go in and buy what you need for the journey.
“The people that are doing this might not be literally traveling from Wal-Mart to Wal-Mart across the country, but on a journey, they might spend a few nights (at a Wal-Mart) along the way to save money,” Hunt continued. “This relationship has something to do with thrift (and) it has something to do with ease.”