“Take Pride In America” Program Re-Established
Public lands throughout the United States will receive greater attention in coming years thanks to the re-establishment of the “Take Pride in America” program, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The program seeks to engage volunteers in projects designed to protect public lands and to extend to all Americans the educational and recreational opportunities available on and through those lands.
“By working with volunteers, young and old, we lend our hands to heal our land, one acre at a time,” said Interior Secretary Gale Norton during a press conference to announce the relaunch of the program.
The renewed effort has two primary goals: 1) to inspire more volunteer service on public lands and at public spaces; and 2) to generate volunteer service projects that help protect, restore, and maintain public lands and enhance visitor enjoyment of these places.
The program is part of President George W. Bush’s USA Freedom Corps initiative to create an American culture of service to others. The president has called on all Americans to commit to at least two years of community service during the course of their lives (the equivalent of 4,000 hours).
FMCA and Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) joined more than 100 companies, organizations, and trade associations that signed up as charter partners with the “Take Pride in America” effort. According to RVIA, RV owners were among the most enthusiastic volunteers during the original “Take Pride in America” program. Their continued enthusiasm for the effort was apparent during the industry’s grassroots coalition of RV owners’ letter-writing campaign in 2001 that played a key role in encouraging the Bush administration to renew the effort. FMCA members participated in this campaign.
“Public lands are ‘public,’ and it is our right and responsibility to protect them,” said RVIA president Dave Humphreys. “RV owners care deeply about preserving for future generations the things that they have enjoyed during their lives; thus, it is no surprise that they were so involved in the re-establishment of ‘Take Pride in America.'”
Corporations, groups, and individuals interested in becoming involved in the “Take Pride in America” program can find out more about these volunteering opportunities by contacting Take Pride In America, 1849 C St., N.W., Room 3459, Washington, D.C. 20240; (202) 208-5848; e-mail: [email protected]; www.takepride.gov.
Coachmen RV Building New Type C Manufacturing Facility
Coachmen Recreational Vehicle Company, C328, a subsidiary of Coachmen Industries, recently announced that it has broken ground on a new type C motorhome manufacturing plant at its complex in Middlebury, Indiana. The increased production capacity created by the new facility will help Coachmen meet demand for its type C motorhome product lines.
According to Coachmen RV, the new state-of-the-art 127,000-square-foot plant, which is expected to be in operation by early August, will allow the company to add up to 150 new employees during the next couple of years.
“While many industries have been slashing jobs and operating their factories well below capacity, demand for Coachmen’s RVs has been increasing,” said Michael R. Terlep, president of Coachmen RV Company. “As a result of our successful product management strategies and, more importantly, the efforts of the dedicated team members of Coachmen RV, we are very much in a growth mode and gaining momentum in the marketplace “” so much so that during the last 18 months, we have struggled in fulfilling the orders for our popular class C motorhomes in a timely manner.”
The new facility will be Coachmen’s largest RV plant and also the company’s first to feature two assembly lines. These will be used to segregate higher production-hour models from lower production-hour models. The new plant will also feature more than 24,000 square feet of mezzanines for offline manufacturing processes, such as assembling cabinets, kitchen units, and other modules.
The company will produce its four type C Coachmen models (Freedom by Coachmen, Catalina Sport, Leprechaun, and Santara) and its two Shasta models (Cheyenne and Sprite) in the plant, and will introduce a seventh type C product line this summer for the 2004 model year.
Oregon To Test “RV Friendly” Symbols
Oregon’s RV-friendly symbolMotorhomers soon will have something new to look for in Oregon highway signage “” an “RV Friendly” symbol that tells them where to find businesses that allow for easy access for large coaches. And they can thank Frank Brodersen, F289730, of Springfield, Oregon, for bringing the idea to the Oregon Travel Information Council.
The new RV Friendly symbol will be tested this summer along a stretch of Interstate 5 south of Portland from exit 278 to Albany at exit 233. The symbol is a bright yellow circle displaying the black letters R and V. The RV Friendly symbols will be attached to blue signboards with logo signs managed by the Oregon Travel Information Council. The logo signs inform motorists about the availability of gas, food, lodging, camping, and tourist attractions.
For a business to qualify as RV Friendly, it must meet certain standards that cater to the needs of oversize vehicles. Among the standards are 65-foot-long parking spaces that have a 50-foot swing radius at both ends for easy entry and exit. Service stations that sell diesel fuel to motorhomers must have non-commercial nozzles on their pumps, and facilities with canopies must have a minimum 14-foot vertical clearance.
Mr. Brodersen pitched his idea to the Travel Information Council, which agreed to test the RV Friendly symbol as a pilot program. FMCA’s Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee also has been involved in the development and implementation of this new symbol.
For more information, contact the Oregon Travel Information Council at (800) 574-9397.
Foretravel To Convert To Independent Dealers
Foretravel Inc., C236, has announced that it will begin to develop an independent dealer network to sell and service its entire line of Foretravel motorhomes. Prior to this decision, new Foretravel motorhomes were available only from the five company-owned dealerships located in California, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington.
Ray Fore, president and general manager of Foretravel Inc., indicated that this marketing change is being made because of anticipated growth within the RV industry and the need to enhance the visibility of Foretravel motorhomes in the type A market. “While our factory-owned dealer network has served us well in the past, we recognize the need to gain broader market exposure for our product,” he said. “We feel our product is more competitive than ever, and plan to offer a select group of independent dealers the opportunity to market a very special product to a very special group of customers.”
Until the transition to an independent dealer network is completed, Foretravel will maintain some of its existing dealer centers to continue serving customers. The company’s long-term goal is to divest itself of all outlying retail operations.
RV Service Directory Available
2003 Braley-Springs RV Service DirectoryThe 2003 Braley-Springs RV Service Directory, from Texas Coach Works, C9679, contains more than 4,900 listings of RV service and repair facilities in the United States and Canada.
The directory includes a detailed map for each state and province and city-by-city service center listings that include the facility’s address, phone number, and Web site. The guide also includes a section dedicated to RV manufacturers, with each company’s address, phone number, and Web address.
The price of the directory is $12.95, plus $4 shipping and handling (Texas residents add 8.25 percent tax). To order by credit card (Visa or MasterCard), call (888) 558-7873. An order form that can be filled out and mailed or faxed can be printed from the company’s Web site, www.rvservicedirectory.com.
American RV & Marine Opens New RV Park
American RV & Marine, C7711, celebrated the grand opening of its new dual-purpose RV park, American RV Resort & Rally, on April 10, 2003. The park, situated on property behind the company’s RV and boat dealership in Anthony, Texas, is located along Interstate 10 between El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico. The initial phase of the project included opening the first 80 of 450 Resort Park spaces and 240 of what eventually will be 750 Rally Park spaces.
The Resort Park features 35-foot-by-80-foot pull-through spaces with full water, sewer, and 50-amp electric hookups. It is designed for Winter Texans as well as those simply looking for a place to stay for a day or two.
The Rally Park was designed to serve a niche market “” RV clubs and chapters. It offers 25-foot-by-50-foot sites, each with water and 50-amp electric service, and includes 20 dump stations along the road for convenient waste disposal. When completed, the Rally Park will accommodate both large and small groups and offer a variety of catering and entertainment options.
During the second phase of the project, more Resort Park and Rally Park sites will be completed, as well as additional park facilities and clubhouses. The 1,000-acre development also will include an Old West frontier town, for which construction is planned to begin in 2004.
Workhorse Offers Shorter Wheelbase Option For W20 Chassis
Workhorse Custom Chassis, C8291, has added a 190-inch-wheelbase chassis to its W20 gasoline chassis series. The new wheelbase length joins the 208-inch and 228-inch wheelbase options in the W20 chassis, which has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 20,700 pounds. Previously, the 190-inch wheelbase option was available only in P Series chassis with GVWRs between 14,800 and 18,000 pounds.
Like other chassis in Workhorse’s W Series, which includes the W20 and the W22, the latter of which offers a 22,000-pound GVWR, the 190-inch wheelbase W20 couples the Allison 1000 Series transmission with GM’s Vortec 8100 engine. “It’s a winning combination of power, performance, and best-in-class ride and handling that now can be integrated into a midsized motorhome,” said Tony Monda, Workhorse director of motorhome marketing.
“The heavier-duty chassis allows manufacturers the capability to include upgraded amenities and provide more storage capacity in a smaller floor plan,” Mr. Monda said.