RVs are being churned out at a rate much faster than campgrounds can add new sites or new ones can be built. A breaking point looms somewhere in the future, when we will no longer be able to roam freely without having to adhere to an agenda with confirmed reservations wherever we think we might be in a month or two.
Housing costs and rental property rates keep going up, now well beyond reach of most middle-class Americans that don’t work for Facebook, Microsoft, or Google in cities, which in turn is forcing more and more people into RVs, further reducing the places where the new mobile population can live.
So I’ve been thinking of survival plans for the retired, baby boomers, and millennials who can’t find jobs and are freelancing to help pay the bills. But traveling between private campgrounds, that are mostly full and expensive, can put a strain on most budgets. So what to do.
In England, there is a lot of Trust lands that the English call National Parks, yet people live and work there. The beauty of it is, that there is a lot of space between small settlements. You’ve likely seen photos of much of the UK with rolling green fields, stone walls, paths and trails that spider web across private and public land, connecting much of the countryside without the need for so many multi-lane high-speed motorways. Even the RV campgrounds are spacious (photo above).
So what if…?
Congress establishes a fund to create small communities of RV spaces, more like campgrounds than trailer courts, but with more space between vehicles, a little land belonging to each site for growing veggies or planting flowers and trees. These communities would cater to those looking for longer term living – like a month or two or six, like snowbird roosts in the southwestern deserts and along the Rio Grande in Texas rather than for overnight campsites for wandering or touring RVers. Monthly rates would be inexpensive because of the use of low-priced (or public) land and the removal of the profit motive. Residents could stay as long as they wanted and each community would include additional land for expansion – up to an established limit – for a sustainable population.
RVers could make reservations for space and as these RV communities filled up additional ones would be built to accommodate demand. These communities would be set up on the fringes of Public Land, with recreational access to the open spaces of the Public Land. Residents would elect a board to handle internal matters, settle complaints and disputes, and establish rules and regulations. A regional board would decide disputes and rules where local boards could not reach decisions.
These no-frills communities would draw ire from campground owners fearing competition, local residents fearing trashy trailer courts, and environmentalists fearing the loss of public land. But these problems could be worked out with all concerned (even now there are not enough available campsites in private campgrounds to accommodate all RVs, and if residents, environmentalists, and locals worked together to protect the adjacent public land it would be a win-win situation).
The goal, and hopefully, the end result would be affordable places to live for those on fixed or low incomes, those in no need of permanent over-regulated houses (instead think tiny houses and RVs), and those that no longer required large living spaces (like most fulltiming RVers).