National Parks Set Fee-Free Days For 2021
January 18: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 17: First day of National Park Week
August 4: One year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
August 25: National Park Service Birthday
September 25: National Public Lands Day
November 11: Veterans Day
Of the 422 National Park Service sites, 108 charge an entrance fee, with costs ranging from $7 per person to $35 per vehicle for a daily pass. The entrance fee waiver does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.
Before taking advantage of the fee-free days, be sure and check the park’s website for any restrictions that may be in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The NPS is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local public health authorities, in its attempt to maintain public access while adapting to the ever-changing conditions brought on by the pandemic.
Thor Acquires Tiffin Motor Homes
The world’s largest RV manufacturer just got a little larger. In December 2020, Thor Industries acquired Tiffin Motor Homes Inc., known for its high-end Type A motorhomes, for $300 million in cash. The transaction was financed through $135 million cash on hand, along with $165 million borrowed from an existing credit line, which Thor officials said the company expects to repay by the end of its current fiscal year on July 31, 2021.
“The Tiffin brand is synonymous with quality and customer satisfaction in our industry,” said Thor president and CEO Bob Martin. “For many decades, Tiffin has set the standard for the luxury class A market. Its strong presence in the luxury class A segment makes it very complimentary to Thor’s current North American portfolio.”
“As a family-owned business since 1972, finding the right partner for the future of the Tiffin Group of companies was crucial,” added Robert “Bob” Tiffin, Tiffin Motorhomes CEO. “The future of this group of companies is critical not just to the Tiffin family but to our employees, our dealers, and our incredibly loyal customers. We needed a partner who we could trust would sustain all of those elements and help us grow the business in a manner that is consistent with how we’ve done business at Tiffin for nearly 50 years.”
The sale also includes Tiffin’s ownership in fifth-wheel manufacturer Vanleigh RV, which accounts for 10 percent of Tiffin’s $800 million in annual RV sales, as well as additional Tiffin holdings — window, door, and furniture manufacturing businesses; a fiberglass supplier; and an RV transport company. All the properties now fall under a newly created stand-alone subsidiary, Tiffin Group, which is being managed by members of the Tiffin family along with existing senior management.
“I am not going anywhere as I will continue to operate the Tiffin companies as I have with no timeline for change,” Mr. Tiffin said. His sons, Van and Tim, and his grandson, Leigh, also will continue to have major roles in the Tiffin business.
The acquisition of Tiffin offers Thor several opportunities for growth, Mr. Martin said, which may include expanding the Tiffin brand into the Type B or travel trailer segments. Also, with Tiffin operating in Alabama and Mississippi, it presents Thor with the chance to expand its operation’s geographic footprint.
In addition to the newly acquired Tiffin and Vanleigh brands, Thor owns 16 other RV brands, including Airstream, Jayco, Starcraft, Venture, Redwood, Highland Ridge, Cruiser RV, and Entegra Coach.
RV Industry Loses An Icon
Mark Warmoth, who is credited for creating and having the most significant impact on the very popular toy hauler RV product segment, passed away in October at the age of 64. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Mr. Warmoth’s creation of the toy hauler segment began as an offshoot of his love of riding all-terrain vehicles and other motorized machines in the deserts of the Southwest. His merging of a trailer to haul his “toys” with the need for a place to eat and sleep developed into a nationwide niche. His RVs came to include every shape and size, all with rear or side ramp doors for easy loading and unloading of the vehicles. His “Weekend Warrior” brand led the innovation and segment growth during the 1990s and early 2000s.
What made his RVs so successful, though, was his innate knowledge of the customer’s lifestyle and wants.
“I know Mark would never take credit for being the mastermind behind the design and development of what became one of the strongest and fastest-growing segments within the RV industry,” said Randy Hunter, R&D manager for Lance Campers, who worked for Mr. Warmoth before joining Lance, “but he will always be known as the man that chiseled the name toy hauler in the history books of the RV Industry. Mark was the most giving individual, touching so many lives over the years, including mine. He brought countless memories to those who enjoyed the toy hauler lifestyle. He also taught me there are no limits for product design, only those you place on yourself, and never accept less than your best. He is a true legend in the industry and will be greatly missed.”
Luxury RV Storage Facility Partners With Prevost
The first phase of construction of Luxtor RV Garage Condos in Coachella, California, was nearing completion in November 2020. Mike Lyon, a California developer, is building a 150-space RV storage facility for high-end vehicles. He is partnering with Prevost, a manufacturer of luxury conversion coaches and passenger coaches, so the site also serves as a Prevost warranty and service center.
“It makes sense for Prevost owners to store their coaches at the same location as the warranty and service center,” Mr. Lyon said. “The convenience factor, coupled with our resort-inspired garage condominiums, makes the perfect package for ease of ownership and hands-off service.”
Each storage unit is fully insulated and air-conditioned. An app-based thermostat enables coach owners to control the temperature from anywhere.
For information, visit www.luxtorvip.com.
Thor Donates 500,000 Trees To National Forest Foundation
America’s national forests are a retreat for millions of people each year, including RVers who camp among the trees and escape into the woods for recreation and relaxation. More than 15 million people annually visit national forests, which occupy 193 million acres in 44 states and Puerto Rico. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Forest Foundation has recorded a double- digit increase in the number of visitors it has welcomed. In an effort to conserve the beauty and allow the forests to continue to be a refuge for RVers, Thor Industries committed in December to donate 500,000 trees over the next five years to the National Forest Foundation. “Our tree planting program is critical to promoting the health and public enjoyment of our national forest system,” said Mary Mitsos, president and CEO of the NFF. “Reforestation efforts have not been keeping pace with the need on the ground. The generosity of Thor Industries will help us ensure forests remain as forests.”
The trees not only support rebuilding of public lands and provide an escape for outdoor enthusiasts, they also help capture greenhouse gases, filter pollutants, and release oxygen.
“Partnering with NFF to protect such vital national and environmental treasures is a natural fit for Thor,” said Chris Workman, vice president of global supply management and sustainability.
Thor began working with NFF in 2019, supporting the organization’s reforestation efforts, recreation site improvements, and other conservation and education efforts. The company also just committed to intensifying its environmental sustainability targets by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030, and achieving net neutral emissions by 2050.