Technomadia's picks for 'iPhone & iPad App Essentials for RV Travel'



Recently, Technomadia listed its picks for "iPhone & iPad App Essentials for RV Travel."

The selections are more than credible since Technomadia is the virtual home of Chris Dunphy and Cherie Ve Ard. The couple work as app developers and technology and strategy advisors, but also are full-time RVers since 2006.

Chris Dunphy and Cherie Ve Ard
Or, as they put it, they're "two gen-X geeks who are utilizing technology to engage in a full-time hyper mobile life. We our owned by our cat, Kiki."

They use the term "technomad" -- technology-enabled nomad -- to describe their lifestyle.
Their latest article highlights 18 iPhone and iPad Apps they deem essential for RV travel. Although, the title to this post probably gave that away.

"As Technomads, it should be no surprise that we are mobile technology lovers," they wrote. "We love our iPhones and iPads, and find them to be perfect companions for our full time travels."

Here's the highlights from their report, but you really should read the full article.

Apps for finding RV Parks & Campgrounds
  • Camp & RV by Allstays – $9.99
  • RV Park by RVParking.com – Free
  • US Public Lands
  • Passport America – Free
Apps for Navigating 
  • Google Maps by Google – Free
  • Rand McNally GPS RV – $99.99
  • Co-Pilot
Stuff Along the Way
  • GasBuddy by GasBuddy – Free 
  • RoadTrip by Darren Stone – $4.99
  • Roadside America by This Exit – $2.99
Stuff Once You’re ‘There’
  • Dark Sky by Jackadam – $3.99
  • TideTrac by Rivolu Pte – $2.99
  • Everplaces – Free
  • Yelp – Free
  • Coverage? by Two Steps Beyond – $2.99
  • State Lines by Two Steps Beyond – $4.99
Bonus Apps
  • RedBox – Free
  • Find My Friends by Apple – Free

Showcasing the Michigan DNR: Upper Peninsula habitat improvements ramp up

Michigan DNR wildlife technician Bill Rollo
receives some assistance from his 2-year-old
daughter Elizabeth while planting and
wrapping oak trees at an On-the-Ground
volunteer event in June. (DNR photos)

Efforts made possible by new hunting license revenue and volunteers

By the Michigan DNR

On state-managed land in southern Marquette County, there stands a grove of nearly 500 mature Siberian crabapple trees that are thriving – branches heavy with fruit, ready to feed a variety of wildlife this fall, including deer, bear, ruffed grouse, turkeys and songbirds.

The trees will provide a critical food source for wildlife still recovering from a tough, long winter and late spring – a time when the presence of abundant mast (fruit and nut)-producing trees and shrubs can make or break the game of survival in the Upper Peninsula.

While the crabapple trees today look like a natural part of the state forest’s landscape, they actually were hand-planted by Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division staff in 1983 as part of an effort to enhance habitat in forest openings – a goal that remains a priority for the Wildlife Division today.

In fact, in 2014 Wildlife Division staffers in the Upper Peninsula were able to greatly ramp up tree and shrub planting efforts for the first time in years due to recent increases in hunting license fees and the addition of the $11 base license required of all hunters, which specifically funds improvement of habitat and hunting opportunities.

“While planning for this year’s planting activities, I visited the Siberian crabapple stand after hearing about it from a DNR forester,” said wildlife technician Bill Rollo. “The Wildlife Division is committed to improving habitat and food sources; we know the value of this work. But seeing the success of these crabapples gave me an inspiring, tangible example of what we are accomplishing not just in the short term but in the long run.

“Our current planting projects are a legacy that we can leave for the next generation, but doing so couldn’t happen without the support of Michigan’s hunters.”

A grove of more than 500 mature Siberian crabapple trees can
be found on state forest land in southern Marquette County
-- a testament to the lasting impact strategic planting projects
have on wildlife habitat.
And Rollo isn’t referring solely to financial support in the form of crucial hunting license dollars. Rather, hunter support for habitat improvement also manifested itself through some serious sweat equity during the 2014 planting season.

In May and June, volunteers from the Ruffed Grouse Society and the On-the-Ground program – an award-winning partnership between the DNR and Michigan United Conservation Clubs – spent several weekend days planting approximately 150 trees and shrubs to improve wildlife habitat.

During the volunteer events, more than a dozen plum trees, serviceberries and dogwood shrubs were planted along a hunter walking trail in Marquette County; 85 red oak were planted in Alger County; and 50 oak were planted in Schoolcraft County.

With recognition for the diligent work of DNR staff and contractors throughout the summer months to plant upwards of 22,000 mast-producing trees and shrubs across the Upper Peninsula, Rollo said he feels the efforts of the volunteers were especially valuable.

“What would take a team of two DNR staff all day to accomplish can be finished in less than three hours by a dozen volunteers,” Rollo said. “One of our goals is to work with partner groups to connect them to their own investment in habitat improvement, but it is also satisfying to see them complete a project in short order that will still be here decades from now.”

George Lindquist, Statewide Vice President
of Michigan United Conservation Clubs, helps
plant oak trees at a volunteer event in June.
The oak trees will replace large stands of
beech trees dying from beech bark disease.
While improving habitat through the use of strategic plantings is nothing new to the Wildlife Division, having an increased, rather than steadily decreasing, habitat budget available this year certainly was a change from the recent status quo.

As an example of what the additional hunting license revenue meant in on-the-ground work, the Shingleton Management Unit – where planting oak trees to combat the loss of beech trees to beech-bark disease is an ongoing priority – was able to more than triple the number of oak trees planted in 2014 compared to the previous year.

“The license increase has definitely enabled us to continue and expand a robust habitat program in the Shingleton Unit,” said habitat biologist Kevin Swanson.

More than 16,000 trees and shrubs were planted in Swanson's management unit, which includes Alger and Schoolcraft counties: 8,900 red oak saplings, 470 burr oak saplings, 1,650 apple and crabapple saplings, and 5,000 red osier dogwoods.

“These trees and shrubs will not only provide an immediate source of mast and browse for wildlife, but will also help to fill in the places where large stands of beech trees have already been lost,” said Swanson.

In addition to the increased tree and shrub plantings in the Shingleton Unit, wildlife staff members from Crystal Falls, Baraga, Marquette, Escanaba, Newberry and Sault Ste. Marie reported the completed planting of thousands of trees and shrubs to improve habitat and bump up the mast crop in coming years.

Examples included the planting 235 trees and shrubs in cooperation with the Ruffed Grouse Society at a hunter walking trail in Iron County, and the addition of 20 crabapple trees at the Hancock Creek Flooding in Dickinson County with the help of the Eastern Dickinson Sportsmen’s Club and the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

All of the projects fell in line with the Wildlife Division’s strategic plan and the More Bang for Your Buck management priorities promised to hunters as part of the new license package.

“We have a number of priorities that are clearly articulated in our strategic management plan and More Bang for Your Buck. Two big ones are to invest in wildlife habitat work on the ground, and to improve the hunting experience,” said Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason.

“In the U.P., we can make a big difference by focusing on replacing lost beech trees with other mast-producing trees, and planting more nut and berry trees and shrubs near prime hunting areas,” he said. “Based on what I’ve seen so far in 2014, it’s clear we’re doing exactly what we promised hunters we would do when the new license package went into effect.”

Dozens of volunteers helped the DNR plant 150
mast-bearing trees and shrubs on public land in
Alger and Schoolcraft counties in May and June,
providing an immediate and lasting benefit for wildlife.
With Wildlife Division wrapping up the first planting season since the license package became effective, it is evident that much was accomplished in the Upper Peninsula, but that doesn’t mean staff members are fully satisfied.

“In coming years, we will continue to aggressively pursue opportunities to improve wildlife habitat using both license revenue and partnership opportunities with the many organizations that are interested in contributing time and energy to wildlife and habitat management in the U.P.,” said Craig Albright, the Wildlife Division’s Upper Peninsula field operations manager.

And as these concerted efforts continue, wildlife technician Rollo encourages hunters and others interested in wildlife management to consider getting involved.

“Like the crabapples that were planted in 1983, what we are able to achieve with the help of our conservation partners today will leave a lasting legacy in the forest that will be recognized and remembered 30 years from now. That is just one of the many goals we can meet by working together.”

To learn more about efforts to improve habitat and hunting opportunities, visit www.michigan.gov/hunting.

Video: 'How to Give your RV Water Heater a Tune-up' by RV Education 101 & KOA



Enjoy this 3:21 video on "How to give your RV water heater a quick tune-up" from Mark Polk of RV Education 101 and KOA.

Here's what Mark had to say about his video:
In this RV DIY video host Mark Polk, with RV Education 101, demonstrates how easy it is to give your RV water heater a quick tune up. This periodic preventive maintenance will help extend the life of your RV water heater and ensure it's ready to use when you need it.

RV Education 101 e-book series
As I've said many times, Mark Polk is my favorite RV expert. I'm pleased he and his wife, Dawn, have allowed me to sell his RV e-book series. E-books (electronic books) are immediately downloaded to your computer after you make the purchase. The RV Education 101 e-book series includes:
  • "The Original Checklist for RVers"
  • "The RV Book"
  • "RV Campground Basics"
  • "101 Tips for RVers"
  • "RV Care and Maintenance"
  • "Insiders Guide to Buying an RV"
  • "Winterizing & Storing your RV"
  • "RV Awning Use & Care"
  • "Deep Cycle Battery Care & Maintenance"
  • "RV Buyers Survival Guide"
  • "Complete Guide To: RV Towing, Weights, Hitch Work & Backing"
  • "Pop-Up Basics 101"
  • "Dinghy Towing"

Pennsylvania campgrounds with Labor Day openings

Campers Paradise
Several campgrounds which are members of the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association have an available camp site for the upcoming Labor Day Weekend.

This list was accurate at time of publication but things can change quickly.

Be sure to call or email to confirm availability.


Region 1 - Northwestern PA  
Red Oak Campground
Russell, PA
www.redoakcamping.com
 
Meadville KOA
Meadville, PA
www.MeadvilleKOA.com

Campers Paradise
Sigel, PA
www.campersparadise.net

Region 2 - Southcentral PA  
Pioneer Park Campground
Somerset, PA
www.pioneerparkcampground.com

Hidden Acres Campground
Coatesville,  PA
hiddenacres103@hotmail.com

Region 3 - Northcentral PA
Allegheny River Campground
Roulette, PA
Pioneer Park Campground
www.alleghenyrivercampground.com

Tanglewood Camping
Covington, PA
www.tanglewoodcamping.com

Stony Fork Creek Campground
Wellsboro, PA
www.stonyforkcamp.com

Canyon Country Campground
Wellsboro, PA
www.campinpa.com

Seven Mountains Campground
Spring Mills, PA
www.sevenmountainscampground.com

Region 4 - Southcentral PA
Otter Creek Campground
Airville, PA
www.campottercreek.com

Twin Bridge Meadow Family Campground
Chambersburg, PA
www.twinbridgecampground.com

Region 5 - Northeastern PA
Cozy Creek Family Campground
Canyon Country Campground
Tunkhannock, PA
www.northeastpacamping.com

Highland Campgrounds
Dalton, PA
www.highlandcampgrounds.com

Peaceful Woodlands Family Campground
Blakeslee, PA
www.peacefulwoodlands.com

Honesdale Pocono KOA
Honesdale, PA
www.koa.com/campgrounds/honesdale-pocono

Region 6 - Southeastern PA 
Echo Valley Campground, Inc
Tremont, PA
www.echovalleycamp.com

Country Haven Campground
New Holland, PA
www.countryhaven.com

Michigan campgrounds with Labor Day Weekend openings

River View Campground & Canoe Livery
The Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds of Michigan (ARVC Michigan) is reporting plenty of camp sites - for tenters, RVers and cabin-dwellers - available at privately-owned campgrounds throughout the Upper and Lower Peninsulas for the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

Travelers searching for adventure and excitement or simply looking for a relaxing and enjoyable destination for Labor Day weekend will find exactly what they are looking for in Michigan Camping.

Site type and cabin availability and date(s) vary by property. This is not an all-inclusive list. This list includes campgrounds that responded back to a survey indicating availability, as of August 24, 2014. Availability is subject to change. Reservations are required.

More than two dozen ARVC Michigan campgrounds are reporting availability:

Bluegill Lake Family Camping Resort
Mecosta
213.972.4455
www.bluegillcamping.com

Crystal Lake Campground
Crystal Lake Campground
Ludington/Scottville
231.757.4510
www.crystallakecamping.com

Gammy Woods Family Campground
Weidman
989.506.8005
www.gammywoodscampground.com

Gaylord KOA
Gaylord
800.562.4146
www.gaylordkoa.com

Irons RV Park & Campground
Irons
231.266.2070
www.ironsrvparkandcampground.com

Kalkaska RV Park & Campground
Kalkaska
231.258.9863

Myers Lake Campground
Irons RV Park & Campground
Byron
810.266.4511

Paint River Hills Campgrounds and Cabins
Crystal Falls
906.875.4977

River Country Campground
Evart
231.734.3808

River View Campground & Canoe Livery
Sterling
989.654.2447

Shady Shores Resort
Dowagiac
269.424.5251

Thunder Bay Resort
Hillman
800.729.9375
989.742.4502

Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park
Indian River
231.238.8259

ARVC Michigan represents nearly 160 campgrounds with more than 25,000 sites available throughout the state. These privately-owned campgrounds are promoted in an annual Michigan Campground Directory, available at various locations statewide, including all Michigan Welcome Centers. The Association's mission is to lead in the development of the RV Parks and Campground industry through education, communication and representation. ARVC Michigan is an affiliated partner of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). (www.gocampingamerica.com).

Volunteers needed for September stewardship at Michigan State Parks

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently announced the September schedule of volunteer stewardship workdays at state parks and recreation areas throughout Michigan's lower peninsula.

Volunteers are needed to cut invasive shrubs or collect seeds from native prairie plants to restore high-quality natural areas. These activities are a great way to enjoy time outdoors in the beautiful late-summer weather while helping to restore unique woodlands, prairies and wetlands.

Volunteers of all ages, including youth and Scout groups, service clubs and other organizations, are invited to participate.

Workday dates, locations (counties) and times are:

Volunteers should bring work gloves, drinking water and appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants and sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Long-sleeved shirts are recommended when pulling spotted knapweed.

All volunteers are asked to register using the form available on the DNR website or via email. Any questions should be directed to Laurel Malvitz-Draper at 517-719-2285 or malvitzl@michigan.gov.

For workday details, maps and directions, visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers and click the link Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays.

Quick Facts for the 25th Annual Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show

When: October 1-5, 2014

Hours: Weekdays 2-9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Where: Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Avenue, Novi, MI 48374. On Grand River, south of I-96 between Novi Road and Beck Road.

Display: More than 275 units and 50 brands displayed, including folding campers, motorhomes, travel trailers, truck campers and fifth wheel travel trailers, ranging in price from $6,995 to more than $400,000.
Booths featuring parts and accessories, campground information, on site RV financing and RV rentals make this the complete RV show experience. Consumers can pick up the 2014 RV & Campsite guide to camping and RV dealers in Michigan, which contains coupons for many RV needs.

Special Discounts: Folding campers from $6,995; trailers from $8,995; motorhomes from $49,995. 2014 model closeouts and discounts on new 2015 models. Manufacturer rebates on select RVs.

Ticket: Register to win free tickets at www.marvac.org. At the show, enter to win event tickets and camping packages for 2015 events at Michigan International Speedway.

Admission: Adult admission (ages 13 and up) is $10, senior admission is $9, and children 12 and under get in free! Parking cost not included in admission.

Coupons: Coupons for $1-off any adult or senior admission are available at marvac.org, Big Boy restaurants and in area newspapers.

Show Director: Bill Sheffer, Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC), 517-349-8881 ext. 10. MARVAC is a non-profit, state trade association that represents all segments of the recreation vehicle and private campground industries in Michigan.

For more information: Call 517-349-8881 or visit marvac.org.

The Motley Fool presents 'The Recreational Vehicle Industry: Investing Essentials'

Editor's note: Here's an interesting article by John Rosevear of The Motley Fool, a popular financial-services company whose syndicated advice articles are published in newspapers and on websites nationwide. There's more to the article than the summary I have here. Read the full article.

Ever think of buying a motor home or a camp trailer?

For many, owning a recreational vehicle -- a motor home, camp trailers, or truck camper -- seems like an old-fashioned thing to do, a relic of the pre-Internet era.

But sales of these vehicles continue to be quite strong. According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, or RVIA, U.S. RV manufacturers shipped almost 286,000 of the vehicles in 2012, with a retail value of over $10.8 billion.

For RV devotees, nothing else offers the same inviting combination of relaxed comfort and adventure. And for investors, there are some intriguing opportunities to be had in the space.

The market for such vehicles is small, of course. But it's very lucrative -- and growing.

According to the RVIA, U.S. wholesale shipments of RVs of all types totaled just over 321,000 in 2013. Most of those were "towable" RVs. The retail value of the approximately 286,000 RVs shipped in 2012, the last year for which full numbers are available, was about $10.84 billion, according to the RVIA.

How does the recreational vehicle industry work?
Once upon a time, the RV industry had no dominant player. Instead, a long list of small companies marketed their products and made steady profits.

But like many other industries, a wave of consolidation has resulted in a few key players, each of which controls several long-lived brands.

Indiana-based Thor Industries (NYSE: THO) owns the famous Airstream brand, as well as Dutchmen, Crossroads RV, Keystone, the Thor motor home brand, and several others. Thor posted net income of $152.9 million in fiscal year 2013 on revenues of $3.2 billion.

In addition to its famous namesake brand, Winnebago owns the Itasca motor home and Sunny Brook trailer brands, as well as MetroLink, a line of small buses. In fiscal year ended 2013, Winnebago posted net income of $32.0 million on revenues of $803.2 million.

Other players include privately held Allied Specialty Vehicles, which owns several motor home brands (including Fleetwood and Monaco) as well as a long list of fire truck, bus, and commercial vehicle brands; Jayco, which has expanded beyond its pop-up trailers into premium towables and motor homes; and Forest River, a Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B) company that controls the Coachmen and Dynamax RV brands, among others.

What are the investing opportunities in the recreational vehicle industry?
For investors interested in a "pure play" in the RV space, both Thor and Winnebago offer intriguing opportunities. Both are solidly profitable, with well-recognized brand names and a growing presence in the higher-margin premium tiers of the business. Shares of both companies have enjoyed a solid run since the trough of the last recession but have fallen back a bit recently. Thor pays a small dividend; Winnebago does not.

But investors tempted to bet on RVs should keep in mind that, like the auto business, RVs are a cyclical industry with high fixed costs -- but unlike autos, which are a necessity for many, RVs are a genuinely discretionary purchase for most. Share prices of these companies will be very vulnerable to changes in the economic winds.

About The Motely Fool
Founded in 1993 in Alexandria, Va., by brothers David and Tom Gardner, The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company dedicated to building the world's greatest investment community. Reaching millions of people each month through its website, books, newspaper column, television appearances, and subscription newsletter services, The Motley Fool champions shareholder values and advocates tirelessly for the individual investor. The company's name was taken from Shakespeare, whose wise fools both instructed and amused, and could speak the truth to the king -- without getting their heads lopped off.

Rand McNally launches all-new RV GPS: RVND 7730 LM



Just in time for Labor Day getaways, today Rand McNally has made available its third-generation RV GPS device. Redesigned inside and out, the RVND 7730 LM provides all-new hardware, a faster processor, two new graphical user interface options, with improved map appearance.

Bringing together Rand McNally's award-winning navigation and new features such as Toll Cost estimates and Advanced Lane Guidance, the RVND device delivers leading-edge technology and tools specifically designed for RVers.

"Rand McNally's RVND was the first navigation device designed specifically for RVers. With this next generation device, we've incorporated an all-new look but more importantly, new features to better help RVers get the most out of their on-the-road adventures," said Stephen Fletcher, CEO of Rand McNally. 



New design - inside and out 
The device features a new, sleeker hardware design with a 7-inch screen -- rugged and large for any RV dashboard. Inside, the RVND™ has faster processing speed, allowing for quicker route calculation, point of interest searches, route comparisons, and screen-to-screen transitions.

More and enhanced features 
  • New navigation options give RVers more assistance and the ability to further customize routes:
  • Estimated toll road costs are now included for more informed trip planning.
  • More Advanced Lane Guidance instruction, combined with an increased number of enhanced Junction Views, goes beyond just turns and shows the best lanes in which to drive when approaching a turn or heading toward a complicated intersection.
  • And drivers may avoid areas permanently - such as heavily congested city areas - or temporarily -- to accommodate closures of bridges or other roads.
All-new maps 
The onboard mapping has been upgraded to include improved text and road shields, and new coloration for certain reference points such as shopping centers and parks. There are two new color schemes for the maps, giving RVers even more personalization options.

More options for customization 
To further customize the devices, RVers can choose between two new interface options – "Ice" (with a white background) and "Carbon" (with a steel grey background). Users also may choose the familiar "Classic" design interface, from prior generations of the device. The new, proprietary, color-saturated icons in the design were created by Rand McNally making features easy to recognize with just a glance.

Updated RV-specific information 
The 7730 LM device includes extensive updates to features such as:
  • The addition of the latest Rand McNally Best of the Road® towns with roadside attractions, dining, and historical sites.
  • A complete update of campgrounds – with  1,521 additions -- including Good Sam campgrounds, public and commercial campgrounds, and Good Sam-rated campgrounds.
  • An updated cross-reference to the new 2015 Rand McNally Road Atlas, with emergency and roadside assistance information by state.
  • A comprehensive update of RV parking including rest stops and welcome centers, travel centers with RV-friendly amenities, and stores such as Walmart and Sam's Club locations.
Other features, from feedback
In addition, Rand McNally has incorporated new features and thousands of updates derived from "Tell Rand", Rand McNally's proprietary feedback loop for RVND users. For example, multi-stop trip planning now provides the detail of upcoming legs of the journey color-coded for easy differentiation, allowing for easy analysis of trip segments. And, with a one-click selection, drivers may hide buttons on the display to provide a larger view of the map.

The RVND 7730 LM includes Lifetime Map updates and the ability to switch over to car routing. The device is Wi-Fi connected, allowing for up-to-the moment information along a route such as current fuel prices, weather and traffic.

The new RVND 7730 LM device is available at RV dealers and other retail locations nationwide, and in online stores such as amazon.com, bestbuy.com and walmart.com.

For more information on Rand McNally's new RV GPS, visit randmcnally.com.

Video: Michigan Out Of Doors TV visits Ludington Offshore Classic



Enjoy Michigan Out Of Doors episode #1467, in which the gang "kicks off the show with a great day of fishing with some ladies at the Ludington Offshore Classic. We also get to learn a little bit about the world of youth bass fishing, and do a little goose banding on this week's show as well."

Truck repair network launches website geared toward RVers

In recent years TruckDown, a service designed for the commercial trucking industry, recorded an increasing number of RV owners using TruckDown.com to locate repair services and generate truck routes.  Turns out the "truck worthy" size of many modern RV's limits which repair vendors can accommodate these units and it can also mean that large RV's are like commercial trucks when it comes to routing around low bridges.

In order to better serve the RV community TruckDown has launched PlanRV.com, which includes over 45,000 POI's (Points of Interest) such as Campgrounds, RV Parks, Rest Areas, Truck Stops, RV Repair and RV Towing providers across the United States and Canada.

PlanRV.com continues to follow the TruckDown.com model of being free to use whether you are planning a road trip or looking for a repair service.

For more information please visit www.planrv.com or www.truckdown.com.

About TruckDown
Founded in 1997, TruckDown Info International Inc., is a vendor-content provider furnishing service to a range of web-enabled communications devices and hand-held GPS devices. Revenues stem from vendor listings and data licensing, allowing the Winnipeg-based technology firm to provide services at no charge to commercial fleets and individuals.

SOURCE TruckDown Info International, Inc.

Camping World and Good Sam to open new SuperCenter in Toledo

Camping World, the nation's largest RV and outdoor retailer, and Good Sam, the world's largest RV owners organization, announce the grand opening of their national chain's newest SuperCenter in Rossford, OH (Toledo market).

The location, officially named Camping World of Rossford, will offer a wide array of RV sales, service, parts and accessories for the outdoor enthusiast. The Rossford SuperCenter will join over 100 other locations across the U.S. with nearby locations in Akron, OH and Belleville, MI.

Camping World of Rossford is located at 28000 Sportsman's Drive in Rossford, Ohio off Interstate 75 near the Bass Pro Shops. This new 30,000 square foot facility encompasses both a Camping World retail store and Camping World RV Sales dealership on-site and will serve the greater Toledo communities.

The grand opening celebration kicks off Aug. 22 and will run through Aug. 30. The local Rossford Business Association and the Rossford mayor's office have been invited to celebrate the new location with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m., Friday, Aug. 22. In addition, there will be grand opening lunch and refreshments, price specials, prizes and giveaways. Oldies radio station 93.5 FM WRQN will be on-site with a live radio remote from noon-2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 23.

Customers will find bargains on hundreds of new and pre-owned motorhomes and towable RVs from the finest manufacturers and brands including Winnebago Industries, Fleetwood, Thor Motor Coach, Itasca, Coleman, Heartland, Keystone, Forest River, Crossroads, Monaco, Holiday Rambler, Jayco, Starcraft, Coachmen and many more.

On the accessory side, the new location will feature new and innovative products including interactive displays and customer experiences from the top vendors such as Dometic, Honda, Thetford, Goodyear, Winegard, ADCO, Camco, Roadmaster, Husky, Reese, Cequent, Exide, Ultra-Fab, Coleman, Valterra, Dicor, Champion, Rand McNally, Max-Air, BAL, Furrion, Select Comfort, ASA Electronics, Cummins, Onan, WFCO, Weber, HWH, Presto-Fit, Stromberg-Carlson, Atwood, RDK Products, Magellan, King Controls, Charbroil, Amerigas, Exxon Mobil products, Norcold and many more. Camping World also creates and carries its own private label lines of exclusive products for the RV, outdoor and home markets.

"We are very happy with the overwhelming response to our new SuperCenter in the Toledo market and to offer customers a one-stop location to serve all their outdoor needs," said Marcus Lemonis, CEO and Chairman of Camping World and Good Sam and star of CNBC's The Profit. "Camping World has established a solid base for the dealer network around the country while reinforcing our brand's presence and supporting economic growth."

For more information about Camping World of Rossford, please visit www.campingworldofrossford.com/

About Camping World & Good Sam 
Both founded in 1966, Camping World is America's #1 source for RVs, camping accessories, RV maintenance and repair and Good Sam is the world's largest RV owners organization offering helpful technical tips, vacation planning, extended warranty, magazine subscriptions, roadside assistance and more to serve the outdoor enthusiast. Partnered together, Camping World and Good Sam offer more to those who love the RV lifestyle by offering one-stop shopping and resources for everything RV and outdoors.
Camping World features over 10,000 quality products located at over 100 SuperCenters nationwide, easy online and catalog shopping as well as stocking a wide selection of new and used trailers and motorhomes from top RV manufacturers. Good Sam members receive cost-saving benefits and services, plus loads of valuable RV information and travel tips to get you ready for your next adventure. Additionally, Good Sam represents more than 1,500 local RV chapters designed to bring RVers together from similar geographic regions for group camping excursions. Camping World is the title sponsor of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™ in addition to the Official RV and Outdoor Retailer of NASCAR®.
For more information, visit www.CampingWorld.com and www.GoodSam.com
Individuals interested in applying for a position with Camping World may visithttp://www.campingworldgoodsamjobs.com/

Showcasing the Michigan DNR: Michigan state parks focus on visitor safety by becoming ‘StormReady’

Hazardous weather and wind storms can mean downed trees
in park campgrounds. With the StormReady program, park
staff communicate early and often with campers and help
them identify nearby storm shelters. (DNR photos)
DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division named a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador

When a severe thunderstorm capable of producing damaging hail and 60-mph winds rolled through Yankee Springs State Recreation Area on a hot and humid Sunday afternoon in late July, park rangers were faced with a daunting task: ensuring the safety of the hundreds of visitors enjoying the park’s campgrounds, picnic areas and lakes.

After a flurry of activity – directing visitors to storm shelters, checking on the welfare of campers, avoiding trees that were toppled by the wind, and assessing other damage to the park – the weather eventually calmed and it became clear to the rangers that their mission had been accomplished.

Everyone was safe and sound, and the park’s rangers could point to their diligent planning and preparations throughout the day as central to the success of their efforts.

According to the park’s manager, the happy ending can be partly attributed to the National Weather Service’s “StormReady” program – a voluntary initiative that helps emergency managers and community leaders strengthen local safety and preparedness measures by ensuring they have the latest technology and communication tools (such as weather radios, emergency sirens and PA systems) in place to deal with sudden severe weather events.

As part of the StormReady program, park staff
are prepared to assist campers with evacuations
to avoid injuries from falling trees and other hazards.
“We are in the process of applying to be certified as a StormReady facility, so we had the action plan and equipment in place that helped our staff handle the weather event in an organized manner,” said park manager Andru Jevicks.

“Before the storm hit, our rangers got out into the campgrounds, picnic and beach areas, and boat launches, letting people know where they could take cover should a warning be issued, and it all went very smoothly,” Jevicks added. “This is not something you do on the fly. Being StormReady helps a lot.”

In Michigan, 17 state parks are certified by the NWS as StormReady, with Yankee Springs expecting to soon join the ranks. Nationwide, more than 2,000 facilities have received the designation since the program began in 1999.

“With millions of visitors coming to our parks each summer, we decided to take a proactive approach to weather safety and developed a partnership with the National Weather Service,” said Michael Evanoff, safety officer with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division.

“Through commitment and dedication to visitor safety, our employees have made this program a great success and the DNR is working toward making all of our state parks and recreation areas StormReady,” Evanoff said.

According to the NWS, StormReady communities are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness.

“Michigan weather can be calm and tranquil, just perfect for enjoying our many state parks, but it can also become severe and dangerous rather quickly,” said Richard Pollman, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Detroit/Pontiac office.

“Being prepared is key,” Pollman added, “and Michigan state parks have taken significant steps toward preparedness through this partnership with the National Weather Service."

Advance warning of impending severe weather
gives campers a chance to batten down the
hatches and take shelter before a storm hits.
To be recognized as StormReady, parks must have a system in place to monitor the weather, receive weather alerts, and alert employees and visitors. Michigan’s StormReady state parks have also developed formal hazardous weather plans, which include training staff as weather spotters and holding emergency practice exercises.

StormReady parks display road signs at the entrances to inform visitors of the program. When visitors see these signs, they can be confident that the park’s staff has put significant time and concerted effort into preparing for severe weather events.

“I know for a fact that our visitors feel more comfortable knowing they’ll be notified in the case of severe weather,” said Interlochen State Park manager Chris Stark. “Even in the absence of severe weather, they’ve mentioned that they notice and appreciate the signs.”

While receiving StormReady certification does not mean a facility is storm proof, trained staff undoubtedly have an advantage when it comes to helping visitors safely weather the storm when severe weather strikes.

Visitors to StormReady parks are encouraged to stay alert to weather conditions and their surroundings, should they need to seek shelter while out hiking, boating or otherwise enjoying the outdoors. One step campers and other park visitors can take to stay informed is carrying a NOAA weather radio, which are available in portable, battery-operated models.

“Modern technology is a wonderful thing,” said Tim Anderson, who volunteers as a campground host at Bay City State Recreation Area -- the first Michigan state park to attain StormReady status and only the third certified park in the nation.

“I use weather apps on my cell phone to keep informed of changing weather conditions. With a push of a button, I can access current weather forecasts as well as radar,” Anderson said. “It provides me with real-time data to help plan visitor activities and warn visitors of approaching storms.”
An emergency siren is installed at Muskallonge
Lake State Park as part of the StormReady program.
Sirens have been used at the park to warn campers
of wind storms and other severe weather
approaching off Lake Superior.
In recognition of the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division’s commitment to attaining StormReady certification for individual parks, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently named the Division a “Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador” – an initiative that formally recognizes organizations that have partnered with NOAA to strengthen national resilience against extreme weather, through such efforts as becoming StormReady.

“On any given day during the summer months, thousands of visitors may be in a state park,” said Parks and Recreation Division Chief Ron Olson. “If a severe storm develops, we want to be able to communicate the danger efficiently and potentially save lives. The Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador designation recognizes that we have one of the best warning systems in place.

“The efforts of our state park managers, rangers and other staff to protect visitors during severe weather events are just another example of the DNR’s commitment to providing the best state park experience in the country, and I commend our staff for their dedication to making safety the priority.”

To learn more about the StormReady and Weather-Ready Nation programs, visit www.stormready.noaa.gov/ and www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/.

Emergency sirens and PA systems are important
StormReady components that keep park visitors
informed and safe during severe weather events.
Michigan’s StormReady state parks include:
  • Bay City
  • Fort Custer
  • Harrisville
  • Holland
  • Interlochen
  • Leelanau
  • Ludington
  • Charles Mears
  • Metamora-Hadley
  • Orchard Beach
  • Otsego Lake
  • Port Austin Harbor
  • Silver Lake
  • Sleeper
  • Tippy Dam
  • Traverse City
  • William Mitchell State Park. 
The DNR’s Grawn Field Office is also StormReady certified; Yankee Springs is in the process of becoming certified.

Oatmeal Creme Pies and RV Road Trips – the Perfect Match!

Winnebago partners with Little Debbie 

Winnebago Industries, Inc. and Little Debbie, America’s leading snack cake brand, have partnered on the Oatmeal Creme Pie Road Trip Giveaway – combining two of America’s most recognized brands.

“We are excited to partner with Little Debbie on the Oatmeal Creme Pie Road Trip Giveaway,” said Winnebago’s Director of Marketing Chad Reece. “This promotion features two of America’s greats – the most recognized name in RVs and a leader in the snack food industry.”

The back panel of Oatmeal Creme Pie cartons provides details about the Road Trip Giveaway, featuring a Winnebago Minnie Winnie as the grand prize.  The promotion, which runs through November 30, awards the grand prize winner a two-week use of a new Winnebago Minnie Winnie.  A classic icon of road trips, the Minnie Winnie is a true family favorite offering sleeping flexibility, a comfortable living area, fully equipped galley and plenty of storage – both inside and out.  The grand prize winner will also receive a copy of Jamie Jenson’s best-selling book “Road Trip USA,” as well as the Road Trip board game that challenges player’s road trip knowledge, vocabulary and geography.

Monthly, first prize winners will be awarded a copy of the Road Trip board game; with second prize winners receiving the “Road Trip USA” book.  In addition, 100 winners will receive Winnebago coolers – perfect for any road trip!

For more information on the Road Trip Giveaway, or to enter the sweepstakes, visit www.oatmealcremepies.littledebbie.com.

About Winnebago
Winnebago, The Most Recognized Name In Motorhomes, is a leading U.S. manufacturer of recreation vehicles, which are used primarily in leisure travel and outdoor recreation activities. The Company and its subsidiary build quality motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth wheel products under the Winnebago, Itasca, Era and SunnyBrook brand names. Winnebago Industries has received the Quality Circle Award from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association every year since the award's inception in 1996. The Company's common stock is listed on the New York and Chicago Stock Exchanges and traded under the symbol WGO. Options for the Company's common stock are traded on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. For access to Winnebago Industries' investor relations material or to add your name to an automatic email list for Company news releases, visit, http://www.wgo.net.com/investor.html.

About McKee Foods and Little Debbie
McKee Foods Corporation, a privately held, family-run company based in Collegedale, Tennessee, has sold more than 157 billion Little Debbie® snacks since the brand became available in stores in 1960. The top-selling Little Debbie varieties are Oatmeal Creme Pies, Swiss Cake Rolls and Nutty Bars® Wafer Bars. McKee Foods sells over 200 million cartons of these three products every year. Sales of Little Debbie snacks represent a third of the snack cake market, making Little Debbie® the No. 1 brand of snack cakes.

Monaco Coach launches revamped website, with video of The 2015 Monaco Dynasty



Monaco Coach is pleased to announce the launch of an all-new website: www.monacocoach.com!

Its new site offers a number of new and improved features, including:

  • "Build Your Own" configurator
  • All-new 2015 vehicles
  • Large high-resolution gallery images of new products
  • Tablet optimized

Whether you are a current Monaco owner, or you're thinking about becoming one, the new site has something for everyone. Monaco encourages us to visit the website now and in the future to see for ourselves at www.monacocoach.com.

Magellan GPS takes Android for an RV adventure

Magellan unveiled an Android-based navigation tablet for RVs with a 7-inch, 800 x 480 touchscreen, WiFi and Bluetooth, and real-time traffic updates.

The RoadMate RV9490T-LMB appears to be Magellan’s first Android-based automotive GPS, and it’s specifically aimed at recreational vehicle owners. Magellan still uses Windows Mobile in many of its navigation devices.

Magellan RoadMate RV9490T-LMB
The 7-inch, dashboard mountable RoadMate RV9490T-LMB tablet starts at $380. The after-market device combines Magellan’s real-time smartphone- and cloud-connected navigation platform with additional RV-friendly functions. Yet, it can switch from RV mode to car mode when you’re not in the mood for a gas-guzzling, lane straddling behemoth.

The Magellan RoadMate RV9490T-LMB runs Android on an unnamed Cortex-A9 processor. No RAM stats were mentioned, but the device is said to include 4GB of flash storage plus a microSD slot. The 7-inch, 800 x 480 capacitive touchscreen is augmented with a speaker and microphone. WiFi and Bluetooth is built in, letting you pair Android and iOS smartphones, both of which are supported with Magellan apps.

The tablet’s GPS offers 3-5 meter accuracy and geotag navigation, says Magellan. Other features include a micro-USB port, an audio jack and an “A/V input.”

RV-specific features include customizable RV routes based on vehicle type, dimensions, and driving preferences, helping you avoid low and narrow bridges and unpaved roads. There are also RV-specific Points of Interest (POIs), including:

  • Good Sam RV travel guide and campground directory
  • Sani-Dump station POIs
  • Walmart location POIs
  • Fuel station POIs with price and brand preference prioritization


The Magellan RoadMate RV9490T-LMB device also includes the latest, cloud-updated Magellan features like turn-by-turn directions, a dedicated virtual dashboard, driving alerts, Yelp integration, and real-time weather overlays. There’s also support for backup assist displays, lane assists, and more (see spec list for a longer list). Maps are updated via WiFi or via a smartphone Bluetooth connection when no WiFi connection is available.

Specifications listed for the Magellan RoadMate RV9490T-LMB include:

  • Processor — ARM Cortex-A9
  • Storage — 4GB flash; microSD slot
  • Display — 7-inch, 800 x 480 capacitive touchscreen
  • GPS — High-sensitivity GPS with 3-5 meter accuracy; multidirectional patch antenna
  • Wireless — WiFi; Bluetooth
  • Other I/O — Micro-USB 2.0 port; stereo audio jack; A/V input
  • Other hardware features — Mic; speakers
  • Navigation features (partial):
  • Preloaded maps of U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico
  • Turn-by-turn, multi-destination routing
  • 9 million POIs, with branded POIs and POIs along route
  • Lifetime traffic alerts and map updates
  • Highway lane assist support
  • Favorites, bookmarks
  • City search, detour and speed limit support, pedestrian mode
  • Yelp integration
  • Landmark guidance
  • Real-time weather map with graphic overlays
  • Gas prices, traffic camera alert, grade and elevation stats
  • Good Sam/Trailer Life Directory
  • RV/truck route guide, dump station support
  • Operating temperature — -10 to 70°C (14 to 158°F)
  • Battery — 1100mAh Li-Ion with 30-minute duration
  • Weight — 363 g (0.8 lbs)
  • Dimensions — 194 x 120 x 15mm (7.6 x 4.7 x 0.6 in.)
  • Operating system — Android

Further information
The Magellan RoadMate RV9490T-LMB is available for $380 (MSRP) at online and brick-and-mortar locations including Camping World and Amazon.com. More information may be found at the RoadMate RV9490T-LMB product page.

Bluegrass on the River: Bill Dvorak’s Raft-Kayak-Fishing Expeditions Announces First Annual ‘Green River Roustabout’

Enjoy this guest post as I pack for our annual camping trip to Albert E. Sleeper State Park and the Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival.

Yes, that’s banjo strumming drifting down the river but this isn’t the infamous Cahulawassee River in Georgia. It’s Utah’s wild and scenic Green River and the deliverance into fantasy comes by way of Bill Dvorak’s Rafting Expeditions and live bluegrass music performed by The Hayward Strangers.

A fifth generation cousin of the famous composer, Anton Dvorak, Bill Dvorak has been running rivers commercially longer than anyone else in Colorado (he owns the first rafting outfitter license issued by the state of Colorado).  With a personal penchant for bluegrass music and an acoustically outstanding natural setting to perform in, the 2014 ‘Green River Roustabout’ was born.

“The Hayward Strangers will blend with the sweet chorus of birds, rippling sounds of the river and the drum roll of the rapids,” Dvorak muses. “Guests will join one of Colorado’s hottest bluegrass bands on a six day journey as they perform daily concerts under natural canyon walls and amphitheaters and along broad sandy beaches.”

Dvorak has also planned for ample leisure time allowing down moments to just soak up the sun, read, float along the river and listen to some impromptu jam sessions. In addition to rafting and music, there are side excursions to ancient Fremont Indian ruins, petroglyphs, and wildlife viewing. “You can play with stand-up paddle boards, inflatable kayaks, have a Bocce ball tournament, swim, fish, and wear out your camera battery taking spectacular photos!”

The trip is scheduled Sept. 13-18, 2014 and departs from Grand Junction, CO or Green River, UT.  The adult rate is $1,498 per person (for youth under 12 $1,350) plus additional shuttle flight to the put-in ($190 per person), taxes and government fees. Trip cost will include all meals, rafting and safety equipment, professional guides and staff.

Dvorak has also planned for ample leisure time allowing down moments to just soak up the sun, read, float along the river and listen to some impromptu jam sessions. In addition to rafting and music, there are side excursions to ancient Fremont Indian ruins, petroglyphs, and wildlife viewing. “You can play with stand-up paddle boards, inflatable kayaks, have a Bocce ball tournament, swim, fish, and wear out your camera battery taking spectacular photos!”

The trip is scheduled Sept. 13-18, 2014 and departs from Grand Junction, CO or Green River, UT.  The adult rate is $1,498 per person (for youth under 12 $1,350) plus additional shuttle flight to the put-in ($190 per person), taxes and government fees. Trip cost will include all meals, rafting and safety equipment, professional guides and staff.

This concert journey is also a fundraiser for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Dvorak and The Hayward Strangers are donating 15 percent of the fee to the national conservation nonprofit for its work in protecting and preserving wildlife habitat.

To book a space, call US/Canada Toll Free: 1-800-824-3795 or visit http://www.dvorakexpeditions.com/rafting-trip-reservations/Green-River-2014-Bluegrass-Music-Rafting-Trip.php

“The idea for the bluegrass journey first emerged following a conversation I had with Phil Hanceford (mandolin player) at a NWF conservation event,” explains Dvorak. “One year later, six members of the band agreed to sign on and the first such music adventure of its kind is happening.”

Each night guests and performers will mingle over campfire conversation, laughter and singing enjoying a variety of guide/chef-prepared dinners such as blackened salmon, charbroiled steaks, organic salads, garden vegetables and Dutch oven desserts such as Black Forest cake and strawberry shortcake, accompanied by hors d'oeuvres and vintage wines.  Special diets and allergies can be accommodated)

About the Hayward Strangers
It was late summer of 2009 when a weekly open music night was established on a back porch of a small house on Hayward Place in Northwest Denver, CO. Soon thereafter, the weekly musical release turned into a savory blend of complimenting sounds and personalities and a band was born. See: http://www.haywardstrangers.com/

The Strangers are Keenan Copple (banjo, resonator guitar), T.J. Brown (guitar & harmonica), Phil Hanceford (mandolin), Josh Hicks (drums), John Murret (guitar), and Scott Powers on bass. They are a creative, rowdy group of folks with roots from North Carolina, Nebraska, Tennessee, Louisiana, Maryland, and Montana who play high energy acoustic Americana.

About Bill Dvorak Kayak and Rafting Expeditions
Bill and Jaci Dvorak have been operating Dvorak Raft, Kayak and Fishing Expeditions since 1979. As one of the early pioneers of white water river rafting in the Rocky Mountains, the Dvoraks own the first outfitter license issued by the state of Colorado. Their river trips, white water skills camp and swift water training programs are world renowned and have been featured in National Geographic, the Chicago Tribune and seen on ESPN and various television specials. Bill Dvorak recently received the conservation award from American Rivers as the “River Champion of the West”.  Website: http://www.dvorakexpeditions.com/. Phone: 719 539.6851 or 800 824.3795. Email:  info@dvorakexpeditions.com.

Video: 'Do-It-Yourself RV Air Conditioner Checks' by RV Education 101



Enjoy this video from KOA and Mark Polk of RV Education 101 on "Do-It-Yourself RV Air Conditioner Checks"

Here's what KOA and Mark Polk had to say about their video:
When it’s hot outside and you are planning an RV trip to your favorite KOA the last thing you want is a problem with your RV air conditioner. In this informative RV DIY video presented by KOA, RV DIY Channel host Mark Polk demonstrates how to test your RV air conditioner cooling performance before leaving on your trip.

RV Education 101 e-book series
As I've said many times, Mark Polk is my favorite RV expert. I'm pleased he and his wife, Dawn, have allowed me to sell his RV e-book series. E-books (electronic books) are immediately downloaded to your computer after you make the purchase. The RV Education 101 e-book series includes:
  • "The Original Checklist for RVers"
  • "The RV Book"
  • "RV Campground Basics"
  • "101 Tips for RVers"
  • "RV Care and Maintenance"
  • "Insiders Guide to Buying an RV"
  • "Winterizing & Storing your RV"
  • "RV Awning Use & Care"
  • "Deep Cycle Battery Care & Maintenance"
  • "RV Buyers Survival Guide"
  • "Complete Guide To: RV Towing, Weights, Hitch Work & Backing"
  • "Pop-Up Basics 101"
  • "Dinghy Towing"

After 70 years, Smokey Bear still plays vital role in fire prevention

When the typical American thinks of wildfire prevention, the first image that comes to mind is surely that of the iconic Smokey Bear.

Since the days of Smokey’s first words in 1944 – “Smokey says - care will prevent nine out of 10 forest fires.” – his likeness and slogans have been invaluable to federal, state and local agencies responsible for wildfire prevention and management.

For the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Smokey was not only instrumental in establishing the importance of fire prevention education throughout the state, but also became one of the pillars upon which the DNR’s highly regarded fire program was built.

The Smokey Bear campaign has served a vital role
in educating the public about the importance of fire
prevention. More than 90 percent of American adults
and 77 percent of children recognize Smokey Bear
and his famous slogan, “Only YOU can prevent
wildfires.” (DNR images)
In recognition, the DNR will join the rest of the nation Saturday, Aug. 9, in celebrating Smokey Bear’s 70th birthday and all that this character has done to bring fire prevention to the forefront in Michigan.

The DNR’s fire program first began using Smokey Bear as a de facto spokesman for the cause in the 1960s, and today credits widespread public awareness about wildfire prevention to Smokey’s broad appeal.

Through the years, Smokey has appeared at countless community events and educational programs on behalf of the DNR, and the bear’s image and famous sayings have graced many DNR fire prevention promotional and educational materials.

“Every DNR Forest Resources Division (FRD) field office uses Smokey Bear at parades, fairs, school programs – anywhere we are trying to spread the fire prevention message,” said Paul Kollmeyer, manager of FRD’s Resources Protection and Cooperatives Programs section.

“Smokey is the catalyst that gets people’s interest, especially the young people,” Kollmeyer said. “When you’re delivering an educational program to second graders, you couldn’t ask for a more engaging teacher than Smokey. He really leaves an impression.”

Created by an art critic as part of an advertising campaign to educate the public about each individual’s role in preventing wildfires, Smokey made his official debut on a poster on Aug. 9, 1944. Wearing a pair of dungarees and a ranger hat, he is depicted pouring a bucket of water on a campfire.

Three years later, his slogan was modified to the long-lasting and well-known version, “Remember, Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires,” which stuck for another five decades before it was slightly updated to today’s version: “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.”

Although Smokey was originally a fictional product of the World War II-era campaign, geared at shifting the public’s focus to fire prevention rather than suppression (since many citizens who would normally help fight fires were deployed overseas), his real-life counterpart was found six years later, clinging to a tree at the scene of a wildfire in New Mexico.

The bear cub had suffered burns to his paws and hind legs and was flown to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., where he lived for 26 years, becoming an integral part of the Smokey campaign.

In 1952, Smokey became the subject of a song, “Smokey the Bear,” and that same year, his image was legally protected under the federal Smokey Bear Act, which established three administrators of the image: the U.S. Forest Service, National Association of State Foresters, and Ad Council.

Now 70 years old, the Smokey Bear wildfire prevention campaign is a bit of an anomaly in how popular it remains, still striking a chord with audiences of all ages after seven decades of heavy rotation.

With the help of DNR fire program staff and volunteers,
national fire prevention icon Smokey Bear appears at more than
100 wildfire prevention events each year in Michigan. This year
marks 70 years since the first Smokey Bear campaign poster appeared.
According to the national non-profit Ad Council, Smokey and his message are recognized today by 95 percent of adults and 77 percent of children.

“What’s so unique about Smokey is the multi-generational appeal. People and kids of all ages can relate to each other over Smokey Bear,” said Gwinn Unit fire supervisor Pete Glover. “One of my favorite parts about our Smokey Bear appearances is seeing a grandparent who is just as excited about having their picture taken with Smokey as their grandchild is.”

With the busy and complicated lives parents lead today, Glover said he recognizes that Smokey’s presence is vital to the positive reception of the many educational programs fire officers give each year.

"It would be difficult to get parents to come to an evening or weekend program if their kids weren’t interested in attending as well,” he said. “Smokey holds the attention of the younger audience members, giving us time to really drive the wildfire prevention message home to the parents and other adults in the audience.”

With the help of DNR fire officers and volunteers around the state, Smokey Bear makes more than 100 public appearances annually, including National Night Out public safety events, where he is typically swarmed with visitors hoping to get a hug, high-five and photo with Smokey.

And when they leave an event, Smokey’s fans don’t only have smiles on their faces – they also leave with their hands full of educational “Smokey swag” promoting the fire prevention message.

Smokey Bear’s slogans have changed slightly throughout
the years, but have always focused on each individual’s
responsibility for preventing wildfires. This is the
very first Smokey Bear poster to appear in 1944.
“Smokey is the linchpin that made fire prevention popular nationwide and in Michigan,” Kollmeyer said. “Without our use of his image, slogans, voice and presence, I am not sure we would have such an educated public when it comes to wildfire awareness and prevention.”

“I hope in 70 years, fire programs around the country will be celebrating Smokey Bear’s 140th birthday.”

Those interested in helping to celebrate Smokey’s 70th birthday this weekend can join the DNR at Orchard Beach State Park in Manistee or Van Riper State Park in Marquette County for cake and festivities (for event details, visit www.michigan.gov/dnrcalendar).

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission will also recognize Smokey’s milestone birthday with a special presentation at its Thursday, Aug. 14, meeting in Munising.

For more information about Smokey Bear and to see campaign posters and other images from the past 70 years, visit www.smokeybear.org.

To learn more about the DNR’s fire program and fire prevention in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/preventwildfires; to request Smokey’s presence at a community or school event, contact the DNR fire officer in your area.

Secrets of the Wisconsin Lake Michigan Shoreline

Dive Door County Dark Side Charters LLC (Travel Wisconsin)
From Travel Wisconsin

Not only is Wisconsin home to more than 15,000 freshwater lakes that provide year-round recreational fun, but the shoreline with one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, Lake Michigan, provides unique opportunities only this astounding natural resource can offer. Don’t jet off to the east or the west coast for experiences normally reserved for an ocean shoreline. Here are some ways to have fun in Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Andy’s Silver Strike Charter – Baileys Harbor
Think that you have to set sail into crashing waves off one of the oceanic coasts to be a fisherman on the high seas for a day? Think again. The Silver Strike is available seven days a week from May through October for fishing excursion charters. Whether you’re an expert fisherman or you’ve never been in a boat, this fishing expedition for a variety of trout and salmon is not one you’ll soon forget.

EOS Surf Shop – Sheboygan
Dubbed “The Malibu of the Midwest,” Sheboygan is your Midwest surfing destination. When the wind speeds pick up to 20-25 mph from the northeast or west southwest, Sheboygan’s five mile stretch of coastline has waves that are rideable by surfboard beginning in late August. EOS Surf Shop offers the equipment rental and lessons you need to catch a wave right here in Wisconsin.

Dive Door County Dark Side Charters, LLC - Sister Bay
Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shoreline is rich with maritime history. With the shipping traffic that used to traverse the unpredictable Lake Michigan waters came the inevitable disasters at sea. Dive Door County Dark Side Charters, LLC offers the opportunity for certified scuba divers to explore the final resting places of some of these shipwrecks. The 26 foot Intrepid Dark Side takes divers to both the bayside and the lakeside of Door County to explore shipwrecks located in depths ranging from 15 to 120 feet below the surface.

Lakeshore Adventures – Baileys Harbor
Interested in Lake Michigan’s shipwrecks but not a certified scuba diver? Lakeshore Adventures has you covered! Their guided and narrated clear bottom kayak tours of some shallow water Lake Michigan shipwrecks offer the opportunity to explore the wreckage and learn about the history while remaining at the water’s surface. Watch your window into the world of all the fish that call Lake Michigan home swim beneath you, see a variety of species of waterfowl, and access a secluded basin only reachable by kayak.

Wisconsin Water Wings – Ephraim
Have you been to a coastal city and seen the bright parachute of someone parasailing behind a boat and rising high into the sky? Perhaps on a beach in Mexico, the Caribbean or Florida? You can enjoy this one of a kind view of spectacular Door County with Wisconsin Water Wings! This breathtaking experience launches from their 37-foot custom built boat, gently lifting you into the air where you will have the opportunity to take pictures and enjoy the spectacular sights from this one-of-a-kind vantage point. After the ride is over, you’ll be lowered back onto the platform of the boat without ever needing to enter the water. Fly hundreds of feet in the air right here in Wisconsin!