Campgroundviews.com Launches Fundraising Effort
Mark and Katrina Koep began working virtually from their RV in 2009, eventually hitting 46 of the lower 48 states. They asked the same question most RVers have asked in their own journeys: “I wonder what this campsite is like?” The Koeps took the answer into their own hands and launched CampgroundViews.com, which shows what campsites are like via photos, videos, and 360-degree virtual reality images.
“Google Street View fundamentally changed the way people route and discover places,” Mr. Koep said. “CampgroundViews.com does the same for the way people find, see, and book their next campsite.”
The 21st-century approach allows campers to tour a campground virtually, view the roads, see which sites in the campground are available, gather information on a particular site, and click to book that site. To date it has more than 3,000 videos and 33,000 photos of 16,000 campgrounds across the United States, including all of the major National Park campgrounds. It’s also utilizing content shared through the online booking platform Recreation.gov, which works with 3,600 facilities.
To fund this massive undertaking, the Koeps launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in March.
“We are excited to solve the biggest problem in camping — finding the perfect campsite,” Mr. Koep said.
National Parks Campground Plan
The National Park Service continues to work on finalizing its Second Century Campground Design Guide, which lays out a plan for the modernization of NPS campgrounds, including making the facilities more friendly to today’s larger RVs.
The preliminary plan suggested all new campground sites should be at least 45 feet in length and have 50-amp power. It also recommended making the roads wider, increasing turning radiuses, and adding sewer systems where feasible. The document also made recommendations on placement of the power pedestal in relation to the water spigot; internet or Wi-Fi access; and how to make the facilities more accommodating to those with disabilities and to international visitors. However, the report noted, any changes should be made in a way so the campgrounds maintain their integrity and continue to blend with the overall natural environment.
The completion of the design plan coincides with the Great American Outdoors Act, which was signed into law last August and provides funding for the park service’s reported $12.5 billion maintenance backlog.
General RV Center Opens Facility For Predelivery Inspections
General RV Center, the Michigan-based RV dealer that operates 13 locations across the United States, opened a new inspection facility in April in Bristol, Indiana, near many RV manufacturers and just east of the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum. The facility, which General RV touts as “an industry first” among RV dealers, is dedicated to giving each RV a rigorous predelivery inspection before being sent to a General RV dealership.
Inspections are conducted in a production-line environment with six stages covering every major RV system. If quality concerns are identified during this process, the facility also has 20 state-of-the-art service bays where warranty work can be completed.
The complex spans 77 acres and includes two large buildings totaling more than 150,000 square feet. Moving predelivery inspections to the center also frees up service capacity at individual General RV dealerships.
National Park Service To Improve Lighting
The National Park Service is partnering with the Illuminating Engineering Society to improve outdoor lighting in national parks. The goal is to aid night sky viewing — one of the fastest-growing visitor activities in parks — while also offering protection in areas where light is needed.
NPS staff and engineering society members will work together to develop lighting standards and best practices for parks and other protected areas. These standards also will help plan night-sky-friendly lighting in future construction projects at NPS properties.