June Designated As Great Outdoors Month
The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) has designated June as Great Outdoors Month throughout the United States. Great Outdoors Month, of which FMCA is a participating partner, is a month-long series of events that will include a special focus on the role of recreation as a catalyst for physical activity needed to combat obesity. The theme “Get Active, Get Outdoors!” has been adopted. Great Outdoors Month also will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Forest Service, which manages some of the best-loved recreation sites in the country.
Numerous activities have been planned throughout the month to encourage Americans to get outdoors. Among the events are National Family Recreation Week (June 1-7); National Trails Day (June 4); National Fishing & Boating Week (June 4-12); Great Outdoors Week (June 5-11); and National Clean Beaches Week (June 27-July 2). Great Outdoors Month 2005 also will celebrate the tradition of volunteerism in the outdoors by highlighting events such as National Trails Day and the Take Pride in America program.
For a complete list of Great Outdoors Month events, visit www.greatoutdoorsmonth.org or call the American Recreation Coalition at (202) 682-9530.
Xplorer Name, Look To Continue
Following several months of uncertainty, motorhomes bearing the Xplorer name once again will be produced. During an April 23 auction held at Xplorer’s Brown City, Michigan, factory, Bob Helvie, founder of Starship Custom Vehicles, based in Valparaiso, Indiana, purchased the fiberglass molds and process patents used in the production of Xplorer units, as well as the rights to the Xplorer name. Mr. Helvie plans to begin manufacturing new Xplorer motorhomes in the near future. Production by Xplorer Motor Homes, a company founded in 1967 by Ray Frank, widely considered the father of the manufactured motorhome, had been suspended since December 2004.
Mr. Helvie said that he believes the purchase will provide his company with an opportunity to expand its line of products that “help people fill a need in their lives.” The company’s Web site, www.startracks.org, displays a variety of products, including mobile medical and command units; motorized and towable RVs; and medical assistive devices such as lifts for homes and RVs.
During its 37-year run in the RV industry, Xplorer Motor Homes produced type A, B, and C motorhomes. However, in recent years production had been limited to type B units and the fiberglass type C Xcursion. Mr. Helvie said that he intends to expand the offerings to include all three types again, as well as towable RVs. An emphasis will be placed on producing four-wheel-drive units, but two-wheel-drive vehicles also will be offered. In addition, he plans to introduce Xplorer trailers for the commercial market.
It is possible that production of the fiberglass bodies will continue in the Brown City facility. The bodies would then be transported to a newly acquired facility in northern Indiana for completion of the interiors. If this should occur, it is still undecided as to whether the bodies will be mounted on chassis in the Michigan or the Indiana facility.
Joe Murray, senior vice president of the former Xplorer Motor Homes, expressed great satisfaction that “the Xplorer name is going to live on.” For more information about Xplorer motorhomes, visit www.xplorermotorhome.com.
Monaco To Move Beaver Production
Monaco Coach Corporation, C2111, has announced that it will move production of all type A Beaver motorhomes to its Coburg, Oregon, headquarters and permanently cease operations at its Bend, Oregon, manufacturing facility. The plant shutdown is scheduled to take place on approximately June 15.
According to Monaco officials, the Bend facility, due to its age and configuration, was consistently the company’s least efficient motorhome operation and a major investment in redesign and renovation would have been necessary to meet the required production needs.
Monaco will continue to operate its Electronic Design and Assembly division (ED&A) in Bend.
Beaver produces Marquis, Monterey, Patriot, and Santiam brand motorhomes.
Survey Suggests RVers Have Big Travel Plans, Despite Fuel Prices
Findings from a newly released “Campfire Canvass” survey of 444 RV owners “” conducted by Robert Hitlin Research Associates Inc. for Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) “” indicate that RV owners plan to use their vehicles more this spring and summer than last year, despite higher fuel prices.
Nearly seven out of 10 owners surveyed said that they plan to use their RVs more this spring and summer than they did a year ago. More than a quarter of those surveyed said they plan to use their RVs the same amount as last year, while only about 4 percent of RV owners plan to use their RVs less. These findings indicate that, as in 2004 when RV shipments rose 15 percent despite record-high fuel prices, the price of fuel will have little impact on RV use this spring and summer.
Close to half of those surveyed expect to travel more total miles this spring and summer than last year. RVers plan to log an average of 3,000 miles “” nearly 100 more than last year “” and travel an average of 35 days and eight weekends this season.
“Whether traveling five or 500 miles, RVers enjoy the same quality time with loved ones, taking advantage of closer-to-home recreation opportunities and destinations or staying in one place to cut costs,” observed David J. Humphreys, RVIA president.
“Although some RV owners are concerned about fuel prices, the added cost is only a small part of the equation and not an overriding issue,” added Mr. Humphreys. “Gas price hikes impact all forms of travel, and RV trips remain less expensive than flying or driving, staying in hotels, and eating in restaurants. For most RV owners, the advantages of RVing, such as greater flexibility, control, and comfort, outweigh the higher costs of fuel.”
A desire to take more mini vacations emerged as the top reason for RV owners to travel more this season, the survey found. Survey respondents also cited desires to enjoy nature, escape stress, spend more quality time with family, and enjoy outdoor activities as key reasons for using their RVs more.
Reflecting the family-friendly nature of RVing, 97 percent of respondents indicated that RVs enable their family to spend more quality time together. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they will travel with either their children or grandchildren this spring and summer.
Elden Smith Rejoins Fleetwood Enterprises As President, CEO
Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., C985, recently announced that Elden Smith has been named president and CEO of the company, succeeding Edward B. Caudill.
Mr. Smith, 64, previously served as senior vice president of Fleetwood’s recreation vehicle group until his retirement in 1997. He joined the company in 1968 and served as the executive in charge of the RV Group from 1973 until his retirement. Under his guidance, Fleetwood RV revenue grew from $39 million to more than $1.3 billion. Mr. Smith also has been appointed a member of Fleetwood’s board of directors.
Mr. Smith is a past chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and served on the association’s board for more than 20 years.
Summer Employees Sought For Yellowstone National Park
Xanterra Parks & Resorts, which operates the lodging, restaurants, gift shops, and activities in Yellowstone National Park, is looking to hire more than 3,000 seasonal employees. While the company seeks employees who can work the traditional June-through-August summer season, it also needs workers with the flexibility to work the entire season, May through October.
A wide variety of jobs exists, including those in the areas of lodging, maintenance, food service, campground management, accounting, housekeeping, human resources, interpretation, laundry, marina, entertainment, reservations, retail, security, transportation, and others. Prospective workers need only to have a good attitude, a willingness to work hard, and a little flexibility in their schedule.
Living quarters consist of dormitories or RV parking spaces. Employees pay a nominal fee that covers the rooms or spaces, their meals, laundry, and bedding.
To learn more about employment opportunities at Yellowstone National Park or to request a job application, call (307) 344-5324 or visit www.yellowstonejobs.com. Job application requests also can be made by fax at (307) 344-5441 or by e-mailing [email protected].