In Washington’s Yakima Valley, the factory that made Chinook motorhomes closed two years ago, and Western Recreational Vehicles suspended operations in April, so the announcement that Adventurer Manufacturing is moving there from British Columbia this summer is welcome news.
“It’s a good company and it comes at an important time,” said David McFadden, president of the Yakima County Development Association.
Adventurer plans to employ 30 to 40 workers initially and that number could reach 80 to 100. That won’t be nearly enough to replace the jobs lost, however. Western RV, which makes Alpine coaches and Alpenlite fifth wheels and truck campers, employed as many as 600 at its peak and still had 200 workers when it suspended operations.
At least some of the employees laid off by Western RV may be hired by Adventurer. McFadden said the effort to connect those employees with Adventurer is already under way.
Adventurer announced its move to Yakima before completing negotiations for a plant site, but McFadden said it could move into a factory formerly occupied by Western RV.
Adventurer, which has been operating in Abbotsford, just across the U.S. border, for 39 years, said it is relocating to Yakima to remain competitive. The company said inflation in the greater Vancouver area and the increased value of the Canadian dollar “has made it increasingly difficult to operate a manufacturing company” at that location.
The same motive—cutting costs to stay competitive—persuaded Fleetwood Enterprises to open a trailer manufacturing plant in Mexico last year. Clearly RV companies, like other manufacturers, will do whatever it takes to remain competitive—that’s the way our economic system works. This can have adverse effects—job losses and dislocations—but it also keeps prices down, benefiting consumers. There is never a better time to get a good deal on an RV than when manufacturers are feeling competitive pressures.
No Child Left Inside
Some time ago we wrote about the movement to encourage parents to see that their children play outdoors. The movement was engendered by author Richard Louv’s 2006 bestseller Last Child in the Woods, which coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder” to describe how parental concern for safety along with a fascination with computers and video games is keeping children indoors. A sedentary lifestyle contributes to childhood obesity and deprives youngsters of the joy that can be found in exploring nature.
Now, Washington has become the first state in the nation to establish a No Child Left Inside program and has awarded $1.5 million to 25 community organizations to implement local projects to connect children with nature.
The state program is a good step forward, but this is a case where individual action is even more important. Parents and grandparents need to encourage children to put TVs, computers, video games, iPods and all the other modern gadgets aside and step outside. And, of course, there’s no better way to connect children with nature than taking them on a camping trip.
If you are looking for places to go camping, you’ll find lots of suggestions this month and every month in RV Life. Also, be sure to check out our long list of festivals and other events to help plan your summer travels. Although we have lots of listings, you can find even more nationwide at www.festivals.com and in the West at these state tourism sites: www.arizonaguide.com, www.visitcalifornia.com, www.visitmt.com, www.travelnevada.com, www.traveloregon.com, www.utah.com, and www.experiencewashington.com.