First “National Get Outdoors Day” Attracts Thousands
June 14, 2008, marked the inaugural National Get Outdoors Day (NGOD). More than 50 official National Get Outdoors Day sites across the United States welcomed thousands of new faces to the joy and benefits of the great outdoors, while participating partners offered opportunities for American families to experience traditional and nontraditional types of outdoor activities.
The U.S. Forest Service and the American Recreation Coalition led this nationwide effort to inspire and motivate people to get outdoors. National Get Outdoors Day partnered with federal, state, and local agencies; key enthusiast organizations; and recreation businesses to create a healthful, fun day of outdoor adventure aimed at reaching first-time visitors to public lands and helping to reconnect youth to the great outdoors.
Each NGOD event offered a mix of information centers and “active fun” areas “” places where guests, and especially kids, could use a fishing pole, go geocaching, help pitch a tent, and more. The sites offered photo opportunities with characters such as Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl, and other interesting creatures. In addition, National Get Outdoors Day events encouraged partners such as the Boy Scouts of America, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and the National Park Service WebRangers to recruit youth to become part of programs and organizations designed to strengthen their connection to the outdoors.
Thousands of American families and youth participated in NGOD activities at 54 official sites in 34 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, in addition to countless unofficial sites. Hundreds of partners made the NGOD events possible through support and sponsorship, providing more than $10,000 in free giveaways to the public.
Book Traces RV History In Photos
RVs & Campers 1900 – 2000: An Illustrated History ($24.95, Iconografix), by Donald F. Wood, provides a pictorial history of recreation vehicles from the earliest motorized house cars to present-day motorhomes.
The book chronicles the evolution of RVs with 340 black-and-white photos, advertisements, floor plans, and illustrations depicting the innovative and the odd through the years. Each chapter covers a 10-year period and includes a written synopsis of the decade, describing some of the companies, innovations, and developments in the RV industry during that time frame. Many of the images also include extensive captions that are filled with historical information about a particular vehicle or company.
The 160-page book is available at bookstores, through online booksellers, or by contacting the publisher at www.enthusiastbooks.com; (800) 289-3504.
RVIA Survey: RVers Adjusting To Fuel Costs
A study by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) indicates that despite the fuel prices, 82 percent of RV owners say RV vacations cost less than other types of vacations. This is one of the reasons many RVers still plan to travel this year, simply adjusting to fuel costs rather than not traveling in their RVs.
The latest biannual Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners revealed that 76 percent of RV owners intended to use their RVs at least as much this spring and summer as last year.
Of those who said their plans would be affected, 58 percent said they’d travel to destinations closer to home, 35 percent said they’d travel fewer miles, and 34 percent said they’d stay longer at one destination.
“Because there are more than 16,000 campgrounds throughout the country, RVers have the flexibility to cut costs by staying closer to home,” said Richard Coon, president of RVIA. “Whether they travel five or 500 miles, they can still have a great outdoor experience.”
One-third of RV owners say fuel costs won’t affect their travel plans, according to the study. Their travel intentions reflect research by international travel and tourism experts PKF Consulting, which found that even as fuel prices increase, RV trips remain the most affordable way for a family to go, because of the significant savings on hotel and restaurant costs.
Many families are taking shorter, more frequent weekend trips in their RVs. According to the Campfire Canvass survey, nearly 75 percent of respondents planned to spend at least five or more weekends in their RVs.
In addition to turning off home utilities to save energy when traveling, RV owners also take additional measures to be more energy-efficient while vacationing in their RVs. For example, 66 percent say they drive or tow their RV at 55 mph; 76 percent minimize the use of air conditioning by opening windows; 74 percent turn off their RV’s lights when not needed; 68 percent turn off water when bathing; and 15 percent use solar panels on their RVs.
According to the survey, recreational and health benefits associated with RV travel are an important part of the lifestyle. Eighty-six percent say RV travel provides them with the opportunity to spend more time enjoying outdoor activities; 78 percent say RVs allow them to escape everyday stress and pressure; and seven out of 10 RV owners say that they are more physically active on RV trips than they are at home and during other types of vacations.
Interior Secretary Receives Great Outdoors Award
On June 10, 2008, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne received the 20th Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award during Great Outdoors Week 2008 in Washington, D.C. Since 1989 the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) has presented this prestigious award to an individual whose “personal efforts have contributed substantially to enhancing outdoor experiences in America.”
Secretary Kempthorne was a recreation champion during his service in the U.S. Senate, where he led successful efforts to create a sustainable funding source for building and maintaining trails and to promote balance between resource protection and outdoor fun.
The award also recognizes his advocacy of recreation programs during his two terms as governor of Idaho and his leadership as the nation’s Secretary of the Interior since 2006. In addition to the tangible successes in park funding and his leadership efforts to increase outdoor activities by American youth, Mr. Kempthorne has brought about fundamental changes in the relationships among national interests in the environmental, conservation, and recreation arenas. The recreation community also recognized Mr. Kempthorne’s support for the Take Pride In America program and its messages of volunteerism and responsible use of the outdoors.
The Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award was established in 1989 in honor of Sheldon Coleman (1901-1988), longtime chairman of The Coleman Company and a champion of outdoor recreation and conservation. Winners are selected by a national panel of recreation and conservation leaders from both the private and public sectors.