ALL ABOUT RV PARK “RULES”
In some of our earlier articles we briefly discussed the importance of establishing RV park rules that are (i) reasonable, and articulated in a manner that ensures they will be both (ii) effective and (iii) “guest friendly”. These three objectives are not at all incompatible. A good statement of RV Park “rules” will not only ensure a pleasant experience for your RVer guests, but will make a positive statement about your park as well.
Too Many Bad Examples
All too often the local park rules are put together with little thought about the image of your park they will inevitably portray. In our own RV travels we’ve seen them all -- some so ridiculous that one wonders what the park owner must have been thinking when he or she wrote them in stone. In one otherwise charming smaller RV park in Montana, we noted that there were quite limited restroom facilities. Instead of modestly expanding the facilities to better accommodate the number of RV spaces, the owner had chosen instead to post a rule in the restroom: “Time Limit: 5 Minutes”. And in a zealous effort to keep vehicles from speeding inside the park, one sees all manner of signage that is difficult to justify on some objective basis -- “Speed Limit 6 MPH”. Does the RV park really think I’m able to measure my speed in such a scientifically precise manner? And of course a rule always reflects very specific conduct that has actually happened: “Do not wash your dog in our showers”.
In our current travels we’ve noticed a couple of noteworthy new entrants in the contest for absurd rules. One otherwise delightful Idaho park, obviously with intent to dissuade RV guests from not picking up after their pets, and created an elaborate scheme whereby (i) guests would be fined $20 if they failed to pick up after their pets; and (ii) the RV guest that reported the infraction would be awarded the $20 for his keen investigative efforts. Another larger Washington park apparently suffering from the blight of having some guests store unsightly items under or near their RVs had stated that there should be “no unsightly items left outside the RV”. So far so good I suppose. But then it was followed by the parenthetical comment “(By whose standards? OURS!)”
Rules Paint a Picture of both You and Your Park
We’ve long been aware that where a rule exists, no matter how “unusual” it seems, it’s there because the act described has indeed already happened. Thus “Do not wash your dog in our showers” clearly depicts an unfortunate event that has most surely occurred there. Rules that attempt to describe virtually every possible potential unwanted human behavior say something about the park itself. Taken collectively, they are clear evidence that the park owner or manager is essentially angry with RV guests. And that anger clearly shows through in the carelessly articulated set of rules. Equally importantly, it also says something about the quality of the persons that typically stay at this park. Their behavior is obviously so egregious that it requires an exceedingly long and detailed list of “Don’ts” and other descriptors of prohibited behaviors. Many RVers will infer that this park is likely to be populated by individuals that are unsavory characters -- and that this is not really a place one can feel comfortable staying.
There IS a Right Way...
Most RVers actually welcome a reasonable set of rules that describe acceptable standards of behavior. Most of us are offended when a park does NOT take reasonable steps to ensure pets are properly supervised; that park speeds are controlled; that cars are not parked so as to become an obstacle to passing traffic; that loud noise is not welcome -- particularly during evening and early morning hours; and other such matters. And we also welcome the fact that whatever rules are stated are actually enforced.
Said otherwise, all reasonable rules are both welcome and expected. So too is their consistent enforcement. But the trick is always in how they are “presented”. A most welcome articulation of park rules make it clear that the park owner has prescribed these reasonable standards to ensure the enjoyment and comfort of all of their RV guests. They are never couched in a list of 20 or so items that all start with the word “No” -- or the word “Don’t”. Make them sound both reasonable, and clearly related to the best interests of the park’s guests. You’ll be surprised how much more motivated RVers are to conform to pleasantly worded reasonable standards. At the same time you’ll avoid the unintended subliminal message that the park owner really doesn’t like RVers; and that the rules are a a clear reflection of the bad behavior of those who have opted to stay here.