RVillage speaks to Dana Nelsen, publisher of RV News Magazine, about how you can help get RV parks and dealerships to be listed as essential services
After a discussion with RVillage, the owner of a major RV trade publication was inspired to write a letter to his Colorado senator. Here's his advice to RV consumers & the industry.
Dana Nelsen is the owner of RV News Magazine, a major trade publication for the RV industry. He wrote this letter to his senator in Colorado when he heard about the recent plight of full-time RVers in the face of all the park closures. It's an excellent letter and a great template for any RVer, RV park owner, RV sales and repair shops etc. to use for contacting elected officials.
After seeing the letter, RVillage had a few questions for Dana.
RVillage: How long have you been in the RV industry?
DN: I've been around the industry as a journalist, writer, editor and former reporter for 15+ years.
RVillage: What prompted you to write that letter?
DN: I had a long call with Curtis [ed: the founder of RVillage] the other night, and I realized I was in a position to do something about this.
People who live in their RVs are being told they must leave the campgrounds they are in because of government proclamations dictating that the campgrounds are non-essential and must close.
RVillage: Why do you think this is happening?
DN: The elected officials are totally unaware of the impact of their decisions. They have no idea of the unintended consequences of causing so many people to become transient.
Forcing people to needlessly travel at this time works against what our nation is trying to do to combat this virus.
RVillage: Have you had any responses to publishing this letter in your magazine?
DN: I've received many, many emails from business owners, manufacturers, and distributors, dealerships and suppliers, as well as RV associations, thanking me and asking what they can do, too. We are seeing this situation from the business side and the consumer side.
RV dealerships and repair shops play a vital role in helping people do their part to stay at home and flatten the curve. Like residential homes, RVs have complex systems. They have water systems, power (electrical and propane) systems and sewer systems. When you grasp that there are literally millions of RVs in use, you must understand that RVs occasionally break. RV dealerships and repair shops need to be listed as essential businesses. This is just as important as having RV campgrounds also listed.
RVillage: What do you think is the best way to get the attention of these decision-makers and raise their awareness?
DN: Get on the phone and call your governor, your senator. They need to hear your story. Get personal. Explain that you had intended to stay in place at the RV park or campground that you were in for 45 days, but they have now made that impossible. Tell them "Now I’m going to be driving around your freeways and roads, looking for a safe place to park. I’m not alone — there are thousands of other people in this same situation! You’ve now made it so we CAN’T comply with the shelter-in-place mandates!" Ask them what they'd like to do about that.
RVillage: What about full-timers who are domiciled in one state but need to shelter-in-place in the current state they are in? Who represents them? Who should they call?
DN: They should call the governor of the state they are staying in, whoever is impacting their current experience.
DN: Get in touch with your elected officials. Call them or write to them. Make them aware. Tell a real-life story: "Here's what I am going through..." Get them to empathize. They care about their individual constituents. This is a non-partisan situation. There are no negative political repercussions for them to help you. It's actually good PR for them, and easy for them to do! Just tell them "Hey — let me be safe! Help me be safe!"
DN: It may easier now more than ever to get them to listen. Tell your story!
How to contact your government officials
Who should make their voice heard? RVers, RV park owners, and ANYONE who supports the RV lifestyle and RV industry.
To advocate for RV parks and campgrounds and RV businesses to remain open as essential services, visit the following page: How to Contact Your Federal, State and Local officials.
The RVillage list of open RV parks
For those of you needing a place to stay RIGHT NOW, here is the RVillage crowd-sourced List of Open Parks.
Know about a park that's open? Submit it here.
RV Park owners can submit your open park here: My Park is Open.
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