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COVID-19 Pandemic causes challenges for the RV community

Posted at 5:10 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 19:10:51-04

BOISE, Idaho — In this day and age there are more people living full-time out of their recreational vehicle, but the coronavirus has caused challenges for this community as people try to find a way to shelter-in-place.

Ron Lundquist owns the Boise-Meridian KOA and Riverside RV Park, he said people live out of there RV's while waiting for their house to get built, to save money as rent prices in the Treasure Valley has risen over the years and there are many retirees who enjoy this lifestyle.

The Cook family is one of those as Cyndee Cook just retired as a nurse, Cyndee and her husband started traveling and ended up returning just as the coronavirus pandemic started to get more serious.

"It’s actually been kind of scary because it’s hard to find a stable place," said Cook. "We are trying to follow the Governor's order to shelter-in-place."

Idaho State Parks have closed the parks for camping because of the coronavirus, some forest service campgrounds are open while others are closed but it's still the off-season and most of them likely have snow with hookups being few and far between, plus there are travel restrictions to places like Sun Valley and Valley County has closed RV parks until May 15.

So that left the Cook family with really one option and while they were able to find a place to stay long term at a Mountain Home RV park, they couldn't find a spot in the Treasure Valley because at the time a flock of Canadians were told they needed to return to Canada.

"Our travelers headed to Canada hit us all at once," said Lundquist. "Night after night all these travelers coming out of the southern states were trying to get back to Canada."

RV parks are also adjusting because of the coronavirus as the KOA and Riverside RV Park started designating their nightly spots to accommodate people who need to stay longer because they noticed a decrease in the amount of recreational travelers.

"We still have room for a person who is going to be here a couple nights, or a couple weeks, but when we start getting into needing 30 days we are really working our system to make it work," said Lundquist.

Lundquist also told us there are many traveling nurses and other essential workers who have decided to stay in RV parks to protect their families in case they catch the coronavirus.

"They are going to work everyday and they are taking care of us," said Lundquist. "I also have people stalled trying to get somewhere and people who came here for work and got laid off."

It has certainly been a challenging time for this community who is adapting to these uncertain times as best they can, it's a very unique community that helps each other out when they can.

The KOA and Riverside RV Park is also taking social distancing seriously by setting up reservation times for people to use the laundry room or the showers, the main office is closed and transactions are being done over the phone or through the internet.

"It’s a unique business, you sort of make a commitment to the public in a unique way that you are going to be a place for them as a traveler to seek refuge," said Lundquist.

As for the Cook family they are sheltering in place and they feel safe inside their RV, but they are looking forward to this pandemic coming to an end.

"I feel very blessed to be here and I'm so grateful to this park for letting us stay as long as we need," said Cook.