“” RV & Camper Toys: The History of RVing in Miniature ($34.95, Iconografix Inc.).
The 128-page softcover, coffee-table-style book contains more than 375 full-color photographs of more than 800 RV toys and related memorabilia. The book is divided into 10 chapters illustrating every type of RV, including motorhomes, travel trailers, truck campers, and camping vans.
Highlights include vintage RV toys (from the 1930s through the 1950s), the iconic Airstream travel trailers, tin Japanese RV toys from the late 1940s to the 1960s, toy RVs from other foreign countries, and RV toys made especially for children. The RV memorabilia include many different kinds of collectibles, such as jigsaw puzzles, postcards, cookie jars, ham radio cards, piggy banks, salt and pepper sets, advertising pieces, and much more. The book shows that toy RVs manufactured since the 1930s have realistically depicted the actual RVs used to travel the highways and populate the campgrounds in the United States and around the world.
All of the toys and memorabilia pictured are from the combined collection of the authors. They have worked for more than 20 years to accumulate 1,200-plus pieces, which they say make up the largest and best-known collection of toy RVs and related memorabilia. Because there is no RV toy museum anywhere in the world, the authors hope that their collection will soon become the centerpiece for such a museum where the general public can see and enjoy these little treasures that document the history of RVing.
RV & Camper Toys is available at bookstores and through online booksellers. To contact the authors with general questions or to inquire about purchasing the book, e-mail [email protected], or call (863) 665-3696.
New RV/MH Hall Of Fame Board Chairman
Len Larson, general manager of Oliver Technologies Inc., a producer of manufactured housing foundation systems, has been elected chairman of the RV/MH Hall of Fame board of directors. A board member since 2001, he has served as board vice chairman since 2006.
Mr. Larson takes over as chairman less than a year after the unveiling of the new 80,000-square-foot RV/MH Hall of Fame, Museum, Library, Conference Center and the national headquarters for the RV/MH Heritage Foundation, in Elkhart, Indiana, which opened last August.
“The last few years of the RV/MH Hall of Fame’s history have been phenomenal, culminating in the completion of our new facility,” Mr. Larson said. “However, our work isn’t done.” He described a vision for continued growth to the Hall of Fame, including the addition of a show pavilion, and an enlarged conference center, among other projects.
Program For Georgia “Junior Rangers”
This summer, children who live in or visit Georgia can work toward earning a Junior Ranger Badge, a new program that’s part of the Georgia State Parks’ “Get Outdoors Georgia” campaign.
By following the guidelines in the Junior Ranger Activity Book (available at all of Georgia’s state parks and historic sites or by visiting www.gastateparks.org), children ages 6 to 12 will be able to experience nature firsthand, explore Georgia’s history, and enjoy outdoor recreational activities. The experience builds as children work their way through three badge levels.
To earn a Junior Ranger badge, children ages 6 and 7 must complete at least five activities; kids 8 to 10 must complete at least 10 activities; and children 11 and 12 must complete at least 14 activities. Junior Rangers can work through the activity requirements on their own or with the help of a parent or other adult. Some parks and historic sites offer Junior Ranger day camps or workshops, usually during summer. A few of the many activities include identifying pine trees; engaging in “outdoor fun,” such as fishing, swimming, or hiking; observing wildlife; embarking on a plant scavenger hunt; participating in a living history program; and learning about rare and endangered species.
For more information about the Junior Ranger Program, or to download the activity booklet in PDF format, visit www.gastateparks.org and click on “Kids & Educators.”
Coachmen RV Group Offers Special Financing On Type A Motorhomes
Coachmen RV Group recently unveiled its Easy RVing “Smart Buy” Retail Finance Program, which provides qualifying consumers with fixed-term financing as low as 4.99 percent for the life of the loan on the purchase of a new Coachmen, Georgie Boy, or Sportscoach type A motorhome.
“Despite an abundance of journalistic gloom and doom economic forecasts, we know this: there are Class A motorhomes being sold and there are qualified buyers out there,” said Michael R. Terlep, president of Coachmen RV Group.
The Smart Buy program runs through May 31, 2008, and is offered through participating dealers only. The Smart Buy finance rate is good on loans up to 240 months. The offer is subject to credit approval through GEMB Lending Inc. See your participating dealer or visit www.easyrving.com for complete program terms and restrictions.
National “Get Outdoors Day” Launched
Participants from dozens of federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and the recreation industry gathered in Washington, D.C., on February 28 to launch National Get Outdoors Day, a new annual event designed to encourage healthful, active outdoor fun. On June 14, 2008, and the second Saturday of each June thereafter, the USDA Forest Service and the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) have agreed to lead a nationwide effort focusing on a single day when people are inspired and motivated to get outdoors. Prime goals of the day are to reach first-time visitors to public lands and reconnect youth to the great outdoors.
National Get Outdoors Day is an outgrowth of the Get Outdoors USA! campaign, which encourages Americans, especially young people, to seek healthy, active outdoor lives and embrace U.S. parks, forests, refuges, and other public lands and waters. Working with the Forest Service, Get Outdoors USA! hosted six recreation forums and learned that public lands were missing the right triggers to capture the attention of today’s youth. ARC and the Forest Service have each pledged $100,000 to the initial National Get Outdoors Day effort.
Site identification, partner recruitment, and communication efforts are already under way, with plans for at least 100 sites (including at least one in every state) to be highlighted. Proposed official National Get Outdoors Day sites include High Resort in the Angeles National Forest; Big Bear Discovery Center in the San Bernardino National Forest; Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest; Boy Scouts Camp Snyder in Haymarket, Virginia; and Callville Bay Marina in Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
A February meeting of the National Get Outdoors Day Coalition concluded with an agreement to work together to develop and produce an outstanding national event that will recapture America’s enthusiasm for the great outdoors. Kevin Coyle, vice president of the National Wildlife Federation, urged the coalition to energize the conservationists of tomorrow. “We are losing the battle. But we have plenty to offer. The demand side is where the attention needs to be. American childhood has moved indoors. We need to get them back outdoors.”
For more information about National Get Outdoors Day, contact Caroline Mica, [email protected], (202) 682-9530. To learn more about Get Outdoors USA!, visit www.getoutdoorsusa.org.
National Park System Attendance Increases
More than 275 million visits were recorded in America’s National Park System in 2007, an increase of 3 million visits from the previous year.
The National Park Service tracks visitation to units of the National Park System, the 391 areas set aside by Congress that include more than 100 national historical parks and historic sites, 74 national monuments, 58 national parks, 28 national memorials, and two dozen national battlefields and military parks, as well as national seashores, parkways, recreation areas, and national preserves.
At 17.4 million, the Blue Ridge Parkway recorded the highest number of visits among all sites in the National Park System last year. Golden Gate National Recreation Area was second with 14.4 million visits. Great Smoky Mountains National Park was third with 9.4 million visitors, followed by Gateway National Recreation Area at 8.8 million visits, and Lake Mead National Recreation Area at 7.6 million visits.
The 58 national parks in the National Park System were the most popular site category in 2007, collectively recording 62.3 million visits, with 19 of them recording 1 million or more visits. Great Smoky Mountains National Park led the way, while Grand Canyon National Park was second with 4.4 million visits. Yosemite National Park was third in visits with 3.5 million, followed by Yellowstone National Park with 3.2 million visits and Olympic National Park with nearly 3 million visits.
“Despite rising gas prices and the lure of electronic entertainment, this is great news,” said National Park Service director Mary A. Bomar. “With all the recreation choices available, national parks still draw more visits than Major League Baseball, the National Football League, professional basketball, soccer, and NASCAR combined.”
After a record 287 million visits to National Park System sites in 1999, and a one-year bump attributed to the 2004 opening of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., the number of visits has been in decline. “Hopefully the 2007 figures are a permanent rebound from 2006, when we had 272.6 million visits,” Ms. Bomar said.
Pet Injury Coverage
According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, more than 8 million RVers bring pets along on trips. To address their needs, Progressive Insurance now offers pet injury coverage. As of March 31, 2008, in most states, the pet injury coverage is free with a Progressive collision and comprehensive policy, and pays up to $500 if a dog or cat is hurt or dies because of a crash, fire, or flood. In September 2007 Progressive was the first to introduce pet injury protection to its car insurance customers.
For more information, visit www.rv.progressive.com, or call (800) 776-4737.
Gulf Stream Produces 40,000th Type C Motorhome
Gulf Stream Coach Inc., based in Nappanee, Indiana, recently reached a major milestone when it produced and presented its 40,000th type C motorhome. The unit, a SuperNova from Conquest Motorhomes, a division of Gulf Stream Coach, was presented to Nate McClain of McClain’s RV Super Stores, with locations in Oklahoma and Texas.
The company also is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2008. Since entering the RV manufacturing business in 1983, Gulf Stream Coach has become the largest privately held manufacturer in North America. The company, which also has facilities in Goshen and Etna Green, Indiana, employs more than 1,500 men and women in Elkhart County, Indiana.
Passport Rules Established
On March 27, 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State announced the final rule for the land and sea portion of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).
The rule, which becomes effective June 1, 2009, requires that travelers present a passport or other approved secure document denoting citizenship for land or sea entry into the United States. This includes U.S. citizens as well as those from Canada and Bermuda entering the United States. Mexican citizens already are required to present a passport with visa or a laser visa border crossing card.
Besides a U.S. passport, other approved secure documents for U.S. citizens include a passport card, a valid trusted traveler program card (FAST, NEXUS, SENTRI), an enhanced driver’s license (being issued in Washington state, with programs being developed in Vermont, New York, and Arizona), a military ID with official travel orders, or a U.S. Merchant Mariner document. Options for Canadian citizens include a passport issued by the Canadian government, a valid trusted traveler program card, or an enhanced driver’s license.
Currently U.S. and Canadian citizens 19 and older are required to present a government-issued photo I.D., such as a driver’s license, along with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, for land or sea entry into the United States. Children 18 or younger must only present proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.
The new rule is being published more than a year in advance to give the public ample time to obtain proper documents.
Maine Catamaran Ferry Resumes Service
The CAT, a high-speed catamaran ferry operating between Maine and Nova Scotia, Canada, will begin its 10th year of service on May 30.
Dubbed one of the world’s “superships” by The Discovery Channel, The CAT can transport up to 750 passengers and up to 240 cars, motor coaches, RVs, and motorcycles. On-board features include movie theaters, a casino, dining, and duty-free shopping.
Traveling at speeds exceeding 40 knots, The CAT connects Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine, with Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, in a fraction of the time required to drive. Currently passports are not required for citizens of the United States and Canada. Travelers must carry a government-issued photo I.D. and proof of residency, such as a birth certificate.
From May 30 to July 13 and September 1 to October 14, the ship departs from Bar Harbor four times per week (Monday through Thursday) and Portland three times per week (Friday through Sunday). From July 14 through August 31, the ship departs from Bar Harbor Monday through Wednesday and departs from Portland Thursday through Sunday. All sailings land in Yarmouth.
Bay Ferries, which operates The CAT, also offers conventional ferries in Canada between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Together the ships can significantly reduce driving times for visitors to Maine and the Maritimes.
Rates, schedules, and a wide variety of vacation packages “” including transportation and lodging “” can be found online at www.catferry.com. Or call (877) 359-3760.
Good Health Through The Great Outdoors
Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tevi Troy was the guest at the March Recreation Exchange, a special session hosted by the American Recreation Coalition in Washington, D.C., on March 26, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the National Park Hospitality Association.
Mr. Troy opened his remarks by recognizing that, while science and medical advancements allow people the opportunity to be among the healthiest who ever lived, “Good health care is not up to others. Health care starts with self care.” Mr. Troy said that far too many people are not making the effort to take care of themselves, and as a result, chronic diseases have replaced infectious diseases as major killers. “Largely preventable chronic diseases cause seven in 10 deaths and consume three out of four dollars spent on health care,” he said.
Mr. Troy told participants that national parks and public lands are important tools in combating chronic diseases. “Far too many people are cut off from nature. The reality is we need to get people outdoors.”
On March 20, 2008, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports issued a call for all Americans to commit to physical activity at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week during a six-week period. Mr. Troy said that this call to activity is aimed at spurring our sedentary society to get moving. He also stressed the role of the outdoors in a healthy lifestyle. “After all,” he told the group, “a walk in the park is enjoyable, while a 30-minute session on a treadmill may not be all that fun.”
Mr. Troy closed his remarks by saying, “Prevention makes sense. It is the right thing to do.” He praised efforts by several national park concessioners and the work of recreation community leaders to implement President George W. Bush’s 2002 HealthierUS initiative. He also encouraged Recreation Exchange participants and National Park Hospitality Association members to do even more to encourage physical activity on public lands and to promote volunteerism on public lands, an activity that has been shown to help people meet the U.S. Surgeon General’s recommended levels of physical activity.
For more information on past and future Recreation Exchange programs, visit www.funoutdoors.com