During the COVID-19 pandemic, many RVers are stuck between a rock and a hard place, and sometimes, with no place at all. Currently, no universal policy governs all parks, but rather each state has oversight of its respective area. Thus, the rules change from state to state and sometimes from county to county.
Given those parameters, RVers must do their homework before heading out. Faced with the ongoing coronavirus safety challenges, you can’t just jump in your rig and head to the next destination without fully having a plan, and knowing what’s available or even open. You will need to check vital websites like RV LIFE Campgrounds, Recreation.gov, and their own state park sites to learn the status of campground closures.
To help mitigate the situation, RV clubs and organizations are doing their best to assist RVers with the latest information. On March 19, RVIA’s President Craig Kirby outlined on the RVIA website what his organization was doing to keep RV camping safe and accessible. He wrote the following:
“The RVIA’s government affairs team is working with Congress to ensure the RV industry remains strong when we emerge from this health crisis. In addition to policymakers, we are working closely with the RV Dealers Association, the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC), and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR).
We are specifically working closely with ORR and federal, state, and private campground partners to provide solutions. We also are advocating for the need to keep campgrounds open and accessible to RVers as long as there’s no threat to the health and safety of visitors, employees, and vital resources.
The team is working with federal agencies to provide increased access to dispersed or boondocking campsites, where appropriate, to alleviate campground overcrowding at many of the popular national park locations and to help with social distancing. The federal agencies and private campgrounds are also interested in helping to redirect camping demand from limited-capacity or closed parks to local private campgrounds, so RV families aren’t trapped without overnight accommodations.”
As the coronavirus pandemic evolves, the RVIA team will continue to reevaluate how the RV industry can be helpful in providing safe, temporary accommodations while adhering to guidelines from health agencies.
A few RV clubs are sharing information and taking action as well.
Escapees RV Club
The Escapees RV Club, one of the country’s oldest and most popular clubs, advocates staying in place. In addition, they are working with the RVIA to try and establish rules to help displaced full-time RVers.
Escapees RV Club officials are attempting to persuade local, state, and federal leaders to keep more public and private parks and campgrounds open for RVers in need. They offer a grassroots petition on their website seeking support from fellow RVers.
Thousand Trails, which offers dozens of RV campgrounds around the country, reports that their RV parks remain open to guests currently staying at one of their parks.
However, due to the issuance of many stay-at-home orders and the recommendations by the CDC, they are not accepting new reservations at any of their affiliate parks until May 1. Guests currently at any Thousand Trails park may extend their stay.
There were no specifics on the Good Sam website regarding closure details or other restrictions. They suggest contacting each park individually to find out specifics regarding any restrictions and closures.
No safety details or closures have been provided on their website.
Although RV LIFE is not technically an RV club, we stepped up to the plate early and compiled a complete state-by-state guide of campground closures that has been updated on a daily basis. With over 100K views, the list has been an essential resource for RVers who are still on the road.
RV LIFE Campgrounds, which is part of the RV LIFE Network, has additionally been contacting over 20,000 campgrounds to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on private RV campground closures. We have also integrated this vital information into RV LIFE Trip Wizard as well as on the RV LIFE App.
If you have specific questions or concerns, please let us know in the comments section below. Be safe out there.
Rick Stedman is an avid golfer, RVer, and writer who lives in Olympia, Washington. Rick writes a golf column, “The RV Golfer,” which is published every month in rvlife.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.