The modern campground industry is traced back to the 1960s. A time when rapid growth in the RV industry created demand for lots of new campgrounds across the country. It was in 1962 when Kampgrounds of America (KOA) was formed. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park franchise network was established in 1969. Big camping clubs were also formed at this time, including The Good Sam Club in 1966. (Excerpt from The History of the California Travel Parks Assn by Jeff Crider)
It was the late 60’s and early 70’s when many of California’s oldest privately owned and operated campgrounds and RV parks were established, including:
Wishon Village RV Park (1960) - Fountain of Youth Spa in Niland (1966) - Bodega Bay RV Park (1967) - San Diego KOA in Chula Vista (1968) - Casini Ranch in Duncan Mills (1969) - Casa de Fruta RV Park (1971) - Orangeland RV Park (1972) - Pismo Coast Village RV Resort (1972) - Village Camper Inn in Crescent City (1972) - 49er Village RV Resort (1973) - San Francisco North / Petaluma KOA (1973) - Carmel by the River RV Park (1976).
It was also a time when the owners of these properties and others recognized that the rights of RV parks needed to be recognized and protected. Associations began to form across the country. The California Travel Parks Association was established in 1972.
These early pioneers were passionate political activists that took many matters into their own hands. In 1979 they fought legislation to terminate HCD jurisdiction over RV parks. In 1992 they ran legislation to encourage California to conform to the Federal System of Highway Mileage Marker and Exit numbers. 1993 they sued the National Park Service (talk about some guts) citing unfair competition in Orrick. They fought taxes, ran economic studies, partnered with Ticketron to sell sites, and eventually created the Special Occupancy Parks Act that made significant changes to Title 25 Heath and Safety Code.
The forefathers/and mothers of our industry paved the way for the industry we have today. While it has become more challenging for park owners to tap into their own political prowess there is still work to be done. The California Outdoor Hospitality Association fought legislation that would have punished RV park owners for following the RV park residency law. Had CalOHA not stepped in to oppose this legislation, AB 1472 would be on its way to becoming law.
We need to continue the fight, but we need your help. Your membership dues allow us to help you.
Please reach out to your fellow parks and encourage them to join in support of all private RV parks and campgrounds in California.
Jeff Crider is currently in production of our association history book that should be released in early February.
See you on the road.
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