America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium To Open Spring 2016

Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, in partnership with noted conservationists from around the world, introduced plans for America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri.

America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium To Open Spring 2016
America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium To Open Spring 2016

Envisioned as the most elaborate conservation attraction of its kind for fish and wildlife conservation, America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium is scheduled to open in spring 2016.

The 315,000-square-foot educational experience will consist of multiple thematic attractions and exhibits on a scale unlike anything else in the world.

Anchored by an all-new world-class aquarium, the massive facility brings together a variety of opportunities for visitors of all ages to engage with nature like never before, according to a news release from the organization. Through immersive environments and incredible live animal habitats, the experience aims to showcase the beauty of wildlife while celebrating the critical role hunters and anglers play in wildlife conservation by honoring past accomplishments and ongoing efforts.

“Responsible hunters and anglers are often the unsung heroes in conservation despite playing a significant role,” said Johnny Morris, the visionary behind the experience.

“Our vision is to create a world-class experience that celebrates hunting, fishing, and conservation in Springfield where half of the U.S. population lives within a day’s drive.”

America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium To Open Spring 2016
America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium To Open Spring 2016

When fully realized, the attraction will consist of an all-new 1.3-million-gallon aquarium adventure showcasing 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles and birds in an immersive tour through the world’s marine habitats; a wildlife museum that brings visitors eye-to-eye with amazing mammal specimens from North America, Africa and the Arctic; and a conservation education center for youth programs, conservation groups and events.

Construction on the project—funded entirely by private dollars, primarily from the nonprofit Johnny Morris Foundation—is underway with a grand opening anticipated in spring 2016.

Specific components include:

All New Aquarium Adventure & Fishing Heritage Hall: The centerpiece is an entirely new world-class aquarium adventure designed by renowned aquarium architect Michael Olesak that plunges guests into a thrilling tour of the world’s oceans, lakes, and streams, bringing them eye-to-eye with more than 35,000 animals.

America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium To Open Spring 2016
America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium To Open Spring 2016

New Fishing Heritage Hall: Visitors will first enter the 60,000-square-foot entry hall, home to a dramatic 300,000-gallon “open ocean” habitat teeming with saltwater marine life including mahi-mahi.

New Aquarium Adventure: Designed to transport visitors to some of the world’s greatest undersea environments, visitors will discover an elaborate trail system that winds in and around marine habitats teeming with life, including a sunken shipwreck, colorful coral reefs, tropical coasts, underwater caves, steamy rainforests, freshwater swamps and more.

New International Fishing Hall of Fame: The new International Game Fish Association Fishing Hall of Fame will highlight some of the sport’s most accomplished men and women through interactive exhibits, personal artifacts and recreated replicas of world-record fish mounts from both freshwater and saltwater species.

All-New Wildlife Museum & Hunting Heritage Hall: Walk amongst the largest land mammals on earth, go eye-to-eye with the Arctic’s top predator and discover some of the most spectacular game animals on the planet in this sprawling 50,000-square-foot showcase of amazing mammals from around the world.

Hunting Heritage Hall: Meticulously recreated lifelike environments will educate visitors about the importance of conserving the icons of the animal kingdom.

Boone & Crockett Club’s World-famous National Collection of Heads & Horns: Experience a part of history through more than 40 historically significant North American big game mammals that originally helped bring conservation to the forefront of public awareness in America when it debuted at New York’s Bronx Zoo in 1922.

America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium To Open Spring 2016
America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium To Open Spring 2016

John A. & Genny Morris Conservation Education Center: The conservation leaders of today and tomorrow already gather together at the completed 50,000-square-foot Conservation Education Center, which connects to the Museum facility.

The Wonders of the Ozarks Learning Facility School: A comprehensive outdoor learning school operated in partnership with Springfield Public Schools, Missouri Department of Conservation, and Bass Pro Shops, is a national model for outdoors education.

National Outdoor Recreation & Conservation School: Which runs outdoor conservation education programs for families across Missouri.

Elaborate Banquet Spaces: With a signature wilderness atmosphere are available for national conservation organizations as well as local community groups throughout the year.

Additional Conservation Partnerships

AmericasWildlifeMuseumAquariumAdditional Conservation Partnerships include the National Archery Hall of Fame and the NRA Sporting Arms Museum which complements its neighbor, Bass Pro Shops’ iconic flagship store. Known as the “Grandaddy” of all Bass Pro Shops locations, this is the largest Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, and the number one tourist attraction in Missouri, attracting four million sportsman and outdoors enthusiasts each year as Missouri’s most popular tourist destination.

Worth Pondering…

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.


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There’s an RV for Every Lifestyle

What is the RV lifestyle? It all depends upon your perspective.

Large and roomy Class A Diesel Pusher motorhomes offer the luxuries of a traditional home. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Large and roomy Class A Diesel Pusher motorhomes offer the luxuries of a traditional home. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What do you want a recreational vehicle to do for you? What type of lifestyle do you anticipate? What are your hobbies and favored activities?

For some the RV is a home—full time or part time. For some it’s an economic family vacation and for others it is a luxury vacation with suitable amenities.

For all RVers, it is a fantastic lifestyle that surpasses expectations and opens the door to numerous opportunities and experiences. Some plan to tour the U.S. and Canada checking off items on their bucket list, camp in the natural surrounds of a national park, state park, and local recreation area, or seasonally locate in a community of like-minded people.

Some pursue activities related to special interests including dancing, visiting historic sites, hiking trails in outdoor recreation areas, birding, golfing, geocaching, boating, or fishing—the list is endless. Still others participate in volunteer activities or workcamping.

The RV lifestyle is what you want it to be!

Rather than purchasing a recreational vehicle, you are purchasing a lifestyle. And the RV you choose should compliment that lifestyle.

Considering the RV lifestyle? Try renting before laying down the cash. Camping in a rental Class C motorhome at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Considering the RV lifestyle? Try renting before laying down the cash. Camping in a rental Class C motorhome at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do you want to leave the RV at a nearby lake for the summer and go fishing on weekends.

Do you plan to camp at a nearby RV park or local recreation area with a strong social or family program?

Do you desire the snowbird lifestyle and migrate to a Sunbelt area during the cold winter months?

Do you want to camp in the woods and enjoy the sound of birds?

Do you plan to travel to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Shenandoah, and other national parks? Tour the Canadian Rockies or Alaska?

Recreational vehicles have suitable sleeping and dining areas; bathroom; cooking facilities with gas stove/oven, microwave, refrigerator/freezer; air conditioners; TV, entertainment center, computer—the list goes on.

Does your physical condition require special consideration or adaptation to the RV?

How many people will occupy the unit? Will you travel with pets?

Do you plan to live in your unit full time or for extended time periods? Where will you park the RV when not in use? Do local bylaws or ordinances restrict the parking of an RV on private property or city streets?

Keystone Cougar Introduces Fifth Wheel With Party Deck
Keystone Cougar Introduces Fifth Wheel With Party Deck

What is your budget?  In addition to the purchase price consider the unit’s operating cost, routine and preventive maintenance, unexpected repairs, taxes, insurance, storage?

If a towable, have you considered the costs of operating the tow vehicle? You will need to match the towing capacity with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of your towable. Is your present tow vehicle up to the task? Proper sizing of the tow vehicle is a critical component of safe RV towing.

If a motorhome, will you tow a car or SUV? Is your current vehicle towable four wheels down?

Do you plan to tow a boat or transport other toys including ATV, dirt bikes, or motorcycle?

Convenience and automation are two popular trends that have recently emerged with RV manufacturers.

Power awnings, power jacks, and outdoor kitchens complete with refrigerators and cabinets are popular options especially with young families since they maximize the time out-of-doors and anything that limits trips back into the RV is being looked at as a positive.

Well designed floor plans provide versatile living quarters with ample storage for everyone’s gear.

Fifth wheels have a split-level floor plan and offer a home-like atmosphere. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Fifth wheels have a split-level floor plan and offer a home-like atmosphere. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The reality is that purchasing a recreational vehicle is largely a personal choice. Depending on a variety of factors including space requirements, budget, driver comfort level, and lifestyle preferences, select the type of RV that best meets your needs. There’s an RV for every taste and budget. And there is a variety of new and pre-owned RV at every price point. Not everyone is looking for all the bells and whistles of a diesel pusher.

Buying an RV is a major decision. But if you have a sense of adventure, a desire to explore, and a willingness to find your own fun and lifestyle, there is an RV for you.

Worth Pondering…

It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.

—Mae Jemison

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Good Sam Announces Top Waterfront RV Parks for 2014

The Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory announced its list of Top Waterfront RV Parks for 2014.

Good Sam 2014-Top WaterfrontShieldGood Sam editors and consultants chose the list of Waterfront Parks from the annual publication’s database of 8,000 private parks.

These RV parks are located on or near the banks of some of North America’s most popular lakes, rivers and ocean shores.

For water loving RVers, these parks provide easy access to fabulous recreation. In many parks, the shore is just a few paces from guests’ front doors. Whether RVers seek to catch a wave or drift in a lazy current, these parks inspire travelers to pull off the open road and hit the shore.

Highlights of this list include:

  • Several parks on the list cater to RVers who love boating and waterskiing. Located on the Colorado River in Nevada, Willow Beach Marina and Campground, for example, rents boats and kayaks to visitors eager to explore the area’s sheer cliffs and sandy beaches.
  • A number of parks offer the ambience of a seaside community, such as Point Hudson Marina & RV Park, a short walking distance from historic Victorian Seaport with its quaint shops and restaurants.
  • Rustic lakesides are the norm for RV parks like Spring Creek Marine and RV Park in Texas, where guests can boat, water ski, or swim in a beautiful constant-level body of water.

Facts about Waterfront RV Traveling

Pristine stretches of marshland, punctuated by small islands known as hammocks, define the breathtaking landscape of the Georgia Golden Isles. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pristine stretches of marshland, punctuated by small islands known as hammocks, define the breathtaking landscape of the Georgia Golden Isles. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

According to a study by PKF Consulting, 48 percent of RVers hit the water to go fishing, while 14 percent of RV travelers go canoeing and kayaking.

A report from the National Marine Manufacturers Association shows that boating has been taken up by 88 million Americans, many of whom tow their watercraft by RV.

After years of anemic sales, powerboats have bounced back, with a 10 percent increase in sales in 2012 and another 5 to 10 percent expected in 2013.

Top Waterfront RV Parks

Willow Beach RV & Campground, Willow Beach

British Columbia
Burnaby Cariboo RV Park And Campground, Burnaby

Campland On The Bay, San Diego
Mad River Rapids RV Park , Arcata
Mission Bay RV Resort, San Diego
Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina Newport Beach
Palms River Resort, Needles
Pirate Cove Resort, Needles
Pismo Sands RV Park, Oceano
Riverwalk RV Park & Campground, Fortuna
The RV Park of Rolling Hills, Corning

Beverly Beach Camptown RV Resort, Flagler Beach
Camp Gulf , Destin
Carrabelle Beach RV Resort, Carrabelle Beach
Daytona Beach RV Resort, Port Orange
Destin West RV Resort, Fort Walton Beach
North Beach Camp Resort, St. Augustine
Red Coconut RV Resort, Fort Myers Beach
Signature Motorcoach Resort at Naples, Naples

Gulf State Park, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Gulf State Park, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

River’s End Campground & RV Park, Tybee Island

Wild Acres RV Resorts, Old Orchard Beach

Cape Cod Campresort & Cabins, East Falmouth
Peters Pond RV Resort, Sandwich

Harbortown RV Resort, Monroe

New Jersey
Lake Laurie RV Resort And Campground, Cape May

North Carolina
Frisco Woods Campground, Frisco

Beach Resort at Turtle Rock, Gold Beach

South Carolina
Lakewood Camping Resort, Myrtle Beach

Island RV Resort, Port Aransas
Spring Creek Marina & RV Park, Inc, San Angelo

Cajun Palms RV Resort consist of over 300 Deluxe RV Spots,12 Chalets,and 25 Cabins. RV spots have full hookups, 30- and 50-amp, 70+ channels of digital cable, and on-site water and sewer. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Cajun Palms RV Resort consist of over 300 Deluxe RV Spots,12 Chalets,and 25 Cabins. RV spots have full hookups, 30- and 50-amp, 70+ channels of digital cable, and on-site water and sewer. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Columbia Riverfront RV Park, Woodland
Point Hudson Marina & RV Park, Port Townsend

Good Sam RV Travel Guide

A different category of Top Parks will be featured each month in articles released by the Good Sam RV Travel Guide.

In addition to comprehensive listings of RV parks and campgrounds across North America, the 2014 Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory features travel itineraries, helpful maps, and informative tips that RVers need for a journey anywhere in North America.

Additional camping and RV Travel information is available on the Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory Camping Blog.

Worth Pondering…

For all at last return to the sea—to Oceanus, the ocean river, like the ever-flowing stream of time, the beginning and the end.

—Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us

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RV Camping and Fishing

It is always fishing―and RV camping­―season somewhere in the U.S. and Canada.

Recreational or sport fishing has become a popular sport and outdoor recreation activity. Pictured above is Parker Lake in southern Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Recreational or sport fishing has become a popular sport and outdoor recreation activity. Pictured above is Parker Lake in southern Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and ocean waters are filled with fish just waiting to test your skills.

Recreational or sport fishing has become a popular sport and outdoor recreation activity. Estimates indicate more than 30 million anglers over the age of 16.

Start checking your supplies, packing your tackle box, and preparing the RV. There is no better time than now for an RV camping and fishing trip.

Preparation is the key to any successful RV camping and fishing trip. To avoid that, “Oh, no, I forgot…” scenario, get into the habit of making an RV checklist when you prepare for any RV camping trip.

Consider the following when you develop your RV camping and fishing list:

  • Are you fishing saltwater or freshwater?
  • What species are you fishing for?
  • What’s the weather like?
  • What season is it?
  • Are you fishing from a boat or the bank?
Fishing (and birding) is great along the Creole Nature Trail, a National Scenic Byway, in southwestern Louisiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Fishing (and birding) is great along the Creole Nature Trail, a National Scenic Byway, in southwestern Louisiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Your RV camping and fishing checklist may include fishing supplies and tackle box, fishing vest, fishing license, sun protection (wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, bandana), coolers with ice, first aid kit, insect repellent, compass, portable GPS, small fixed blade knife, needle-nosed pliers, and a multi tool. And don’t forget your digital camera for a photo of that one that didn’t get away.

RVers can choose from a variety of fishing experiences when they plan their trips―fly fishing, fresh water fishing, salt water fishing, and the popular winter activity of ice fishing.

At its most basic level, fishing is simply the act of catching fish. The variety comes in how you chose to fish. The most basic way is with rod and reel. Then comes the choice of bait―natural bait (salmon eggs, cheese), live bait (worms, minnows), or artificial lures (spoons, sonar, glitter).

Then there is fly fishing which uses a different type of rod, reel, and fishing line as well as artificial machine or hand-tied flies. Beyond that you can get into more exotic forms of sport fishing such as bow fishing and spear fishing. And the popular cold-weather pastime ice fishing.

Freshwater fish can be caught throughout North America in creeks, streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. Pretty much anywhere there is a substantial body of water can be home to game fish. Fish may be caught from the shore, by wading into the water, from a boat, or from a dock or pier. Anyplace with solid footing to be able to cast a line will work.

Whether you prefer to drop a line from a cane pole or tie flies in hopes of catching fish, there’s a fishing hole that’s perfect for your next RV camping trip. In fact, there are RV resorts especially designed with the avid fisherman in mind.

Locate an RV park or campground as close as possible to where you’re fishing if you want to get those early biters.

As it name indicates the fishing is great at Utah's Fish Lake. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
As it name indicates the fishing is great at Utah’s Fish Lake. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many RV campgrounds are located on lakes, rivers, or streams with game fish. It is not uncommon for an RV campground to have both a lake or pond as well as streams or creeks for fishing. Some RV parks offer fishing right on the property and even stock the lakes on their property with game fish.

Missouri’s Basswood Resort in Platte City, for one, has RV sites located just a few steps from stocked fishing lakes. Stocked with catfish, bass, crappie, bluegill, and carp, the four freshwater lakes at Basswood are fed by the ever-bubbling original Basswood spring.

Some RV parks including Live Oak Landing on the Florida panhandle (near Destin) partner with charter fishing services to help guests catch the big one. In Live Oak’s case, Wounded Warrior charters take guests out to the Choctawhatchee River and its tributaries.

Great fishing awaits you at Virginia’s Gwynn’s Island RV Resort on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

For additional RV camping/fishing locations, see Good Sam Top RV Parks for Fishing.

Worth Pondering…

There he stands, draped in more equipment than a telephone lineman, trying to outwit an organism with a brain no bigger than a breadcrumb, and getting licked in the process.

―Paul O’Neil, 1965

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The Open Road & The Great American Road Trip

More than 20 million Americans will travel in RVs throughout the summer months, heading to the nation’s 16,000-plus campgrounds and enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

Rand McNally The Open Road
Rand McNally The Open Road

According to a recent survey of RV owners by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), 66 percent of RV owners intend to use their RVs more this summer than they did last year, and 28 percent will use theirs the same amount.

Road trips have long remained a classic American pastime, and with the increasing popularity of RV travel these popular driving adventures won’t be going out of style anytime soon.

That’s because there’s no better way to experience the charming waterfront towns, stunning vistas and rugged cliffs that dot America’s varied landscape than from behind the wheel of a recreational vehicle.

The Great American Road Trip is steeped in lore going back to the days of Route 66.

There is an unlimited variety of scenic routes all boasting incredible sights including the stunning National Parks such as Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Mesa Verde.

There are the towns of the Wild West, like Tombstone and Dodge City, the nation’s uniquely colorful and lively party sports like New Orleans and Las Vegas, and smaller but wonderfully charming cities that might otherwise evade travelers such as Santa Fe and Austin.

Rand McNally The Open Road
Rand McNally The Open Road

There’s the Gulf Coast, Texas Hill Country, the Great Plains, Sonoran Desert, Rocky Mountains, Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Lakes, and the Golden Isles.

There are stark deserts, high peaks, endless sand dunes, broad rivers, and every sort of stunning natural beauty.

Every step of the way there are unique regional foods from slow smoked Texas barbecue to Cajun and Creole cooking to deep dish pizza.

Finally, there is endless roadside Americana, from giant balls of twine to rocket ships, all sorts of unique attractions and outdoor adventures.

Whether done in six or 60 days, the Great American Road Trip is a seminal experience, and one that is worth doing over and over again.

So pack the RV and get ready to embark on your summer road trip.

And just in time for Father’s Day and the 2014 summer travel season, Rand McNally has released a perfect gift for Dad, Granddad, and others who love their road trips: A limited edition boxed gift set called The Open Road: Rand McNally and the Story of the Great American Road Trip.

The Open Road is a nostalgic journey through transportation milestones, auto innovations, and roadside iconography — with some modern-day tools to help plan and memorialize the family road trip.

The set contains a 32-page book, The Open Road, giving an overview of motorists, road-side Americana, and the birth of the road trip; an up-to-date mid-size Road Atlas; an attractive, ready-to-frame 26.75-by-39-inch wall map poster with the U.S. road network; and a gift box to hold all the items.

Rand McNally The Open Road
Rand McNally The Open Road

Peruse The Open Road book, which is part of the set, to discover the origin of the U.S. highway numbering system, the development of services (“filling” stations, drive-in diners, roadside inns and more) to support the growing number of road-trippers, and the development of the RV lifestyle. From the first cross-country trips of the 1900s to the Mid-Century “Golden Age” through to the high-tech road-culture of the 21st-century, this book takes the reader on a journey that spans generations of road trips.

Among other tidbits, the book explores:

How the drive between New York and San Francisco was reduced from 63 days to less than 7

How the family car evolved from the Model T to the SUV

When the so-called Tin Can Tourists become intrepid RVers

Why a depot hack would be on the lookout for a Sterling Streamliner

What makes U.S. Patent 1909537 so entertaining

Who was the Uniroyal Lady?

The Open Road Box Set: The Story of the Great American Road Trip is available at select Walmart and Books-A-Million locations as well as online at and on Amazon for a suggested price of $14.99.

Worth Pondering…

The open road is a beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a man can lose himself.

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Top 100 Family-Friendly Fishing & Boating Spots

Getting out on the water to boat and fish is one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with your family.


But, finding the time and the right place to fish can be a challenge.

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) has made planning easy with its recently released list of the top 100 family-friendly fishing and boating spots in the U.S.

The RBFF released its Top 100 list to encourage Americans to get out on the water during National Fishing and Boating Week, June 1-8, 2014.

People are encouraged to visit their local parks and other fishing holes, perhaps one of the Top 100, during this week. Other ways to celebrate follow:

Free Fishing Days: Perfect for those who are new to the sport or who want to mentor others, most states offer free fishing days that allow the public to fish without having to purchase a fishing license.

Special Events: Sites all over the country will host events, such as fishing derbies, regattas, boating demonstrations, and festivals.

Kids Activities: Take Me Fishing Little Lunkers section offers games and information to learn before getting out on the water, and even certificates to commemorate their catch.

The RBFF Take Me Fishing campaign initiated a nationwide vote to provide families and outdoor enthusiasts with a recommended list of the best family-friendly places to experience the joys of boating and fishing as the weather warms up around the country.

“We enlisted the help of state fish and wildlife agencies to identify popular locations, and asked fishing and boating enthusiasts who belong to our communities to vote on their favorite spots that are easily accessible and where the fish are known to bite most often,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson.

The top 10 family-friendly places to boat and fish include state parks from Florida, Texas, California, Missouri, and Pennsylvania.

In total, park and recreation areas in 24 states are represented in the Top 100.

NBFWBannerGalveston Island State Park (6th) is accompanied by eight other Lone Star State fishing and boating spots in the Top 100. The states of Florida, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania each are represented six times on the Top 100. Georgia, Illinois, and Wisconsin have five placements in the Top 100. North Carolina, Michigan, Colorado, Minnesota, and Washington have four park and recreation areas on the Top 100 list.

Criteria for the top family-friendly places to boat and fish have some or all of the following qualities:

  • Within an hour’s drive of a major city or town, so they are easily accessible
  • Have a public body of water that is known for having plenty of common fish species such as bass, crappie, bluegill and trout; often times these public places are stocked with fish for all
  • Part of a park that also offers amenities families need like parking, restrooms, playgrounds, picnic areas, or campgrounds
  • Has plenty of places to cast a line, like a fishing pier or has boat ramps to allow you to reach other areas on your boat
  • Is recommended by other anglers

Who Hooked the Top 10 Spots?

The top fishing and boating spots for a memory-making adventure include:

Lake Berryessa, Napa Valley, California

Bahia Honda State Park, BigPine Key, Florida

Skyway Fishing Pier State Park,St. Petersburg, Florida

Everglades National Park, Homestead, Florida

Kissimmee State Park, Lake Wales, Florida

Galveston Island State Park, Galveston, Texas

Lake Chabot Regional Park, Castro Valley, California

Blue Springs State Park, Orange City, Florida

Table Rock State Park, Branson, Missouri

Presque Isle State Park, Erie, Pennsylvania


Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF)

fishing_littlelunkersThe Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating and thereby increase public awareness and appreciation of the need to protect, conserve, and restore this nation’s aquatic natural resources.

RBFF’s centerpiece,, is the key destination for individuals to learn, plan, and equip for a day on the water.

Address: 500 Montgomery Street, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone: (703) 519-0013


Worth Pondering…

Everyone should believe in something; I believe I’ll go fishing.

—Henry David  Thoreau

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State Parks Impact Alabama’s Economy

An earlier story detailed the economic benefits for communities located near national parks and other recreation and scenic hot spots.

Relax and enjoy the beauty of Gulf State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Relax and enjoy the beauty of Gulf State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The National Park Service concluded that, nationwide, the country’s parks contributed more than $14.7 billion to gateway communities in 2012.

A recent study conducted in Alabama concluded the State Park System also makes significant contributions to local economies.

From the beaches of the Gulf Coast to the Appalachian foothills, Alabama’s 22 state parks offer a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities that include hiking, biking, swimming, camping, boating, fishing, horseback riding, lodging options, museums, cave tours, golf, dining, and relaxation.

With an economic impact of $375.2 million, Alabama’s state parks contribute far more than simply locations for outdoor recreation and family vacations.

According to the study in 2011 the statewide network of parks and nature preserves supported 5,340 jobs totaling $140.2 million in earnings adding an estimated visitor spending of $152.4 million.

From 2007 to 2011, the parks had $170.3 million in receipts; $127.5 million was collected at the parks. Expenditures totaled $167.8 million and generated statewide economic and fiscal impacts of $336.1 million in gross business sales, $203.4 million contribution to GDP, $125.6 million in earnings to Alabama households for 4,784 direct and indirect jobs, and $9.5 million in income and sales taxes ($4.7 million state income tax, $2.1 million state sales tax, and $2.7 million local sales tax).

Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail, DeSoto State Park
Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail, DeSoto State Park

Economists Samuel Addy and Ahmad Ijaz with the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce conducted the analysis.

The study confirms what anyone working in the system already knows: “State parks are valuable tools to promote the state’s economy,” stated Greg Lein, Alabama State Parks Director.

“But the study gave us real numbers for state parks’ overall economic impact and the many public and private jobs that depend on them.”

According to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which commissioned the study, the state parks division recorded more than 4.6 million visits in 2012.

Clearly, the study concludes, state funding for Alabama State Parks is an attractive investment as the parks system generates more in tax revenues, promotes tourism, attracts both in-state and out-of-state visitors, creates jobs, and provides numerous educational, recreational, and environmental benefits that are difficult to quantify.

And in 2014 the Alabama State Park System celebrates a milestone—its 75th anniversary.

Throughout the year, Alabama’s 22 state parks will host a variety of hikes, nature walks and programs, dining and camping specials, and various other events highlighting 75 years of service.

Alabama’s park system began in the 1920s with Cheaha State Park being the longest continually operating facility. There were 11 state parks in Alabama by 1933 including Bromley, Cheaha, Fort Toulouse, Geneva, Little River, Panther Creek, St. Stephens, Sumter, Talladega County, The Lagoons, and Weogufka.

Alabama State Parks
Alabama State Parks

So whether it is hiking or biking (roads or trails); camping (RV or tent); fishing (bank, pier, or in a boat); golfing (six courses across the state); horseback riding (available at several parks); swimming, water skiing, canoeing, or boating; lodging options; museums; cave tours; family friendly activities; restaurants (with fine dining at resort parks); wildlife and nature watching; or simply relaxing; Alabama State Parks have it all. State parks also provide numerous educational, recreational, and environmental benefits that are difficult to quantify.


Alabama State Parks

The Alabama State Parks Division operates and maintains 22 state parks encompassing approximately 48,000 acres of land and water.

These Parks rely on visitor fees and the support of other Partners like local communities to fund the majority of their operations. Partners Pay the Way.

Visit the website for information about the Alabama State Parks 75th Anniversary Celebration and for lodging, camping, and dining specials and event announcements.

Phone: (800) ALAPARK (252-7275)


Worth Pondering…

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet home Alabama
Lord, I’m coming home to you
Here I come, Alabama

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Mediaplanet Introduces American Adventure Guide

Mediaplanet introduces distribution of its first edition cross-platform edition of American Adventure Guide, as part of a campaign to encourage readers to reconnect with the America’s great outdoors.

Jeff Corwin, renowned conservationist and explorer, graces the cover of the print publication. (Source:
Jeff Corwin, renowned conservationist and explorer, graces the cover of the print publication. (Source:

The campaign focuses on different types of trips from road trips, RVing, camping, hiking, fishing, and many more.

In partnership with industry leaders, the campaign provides readers with educational insight about family adventures and explorations as well as the accessibility and growth in recent years that continue to propel the industry forward and bring dream vacations to life, according to a Mediaplanet news release.

The print component of American Adventure was distributed within last weekend’s edition of USA Today in select markets including New York, South Florida, the Carolinas, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, and San Francisco, with a circulation of approximately 470,000 copies and an estimated readership of 1.4 million.

Jeff Corwin, renowned conservationist and explorer, graces the cover of the print publication. An exclusive interview with Corwin on the interior serves as a source of inspiration for readers to get up, get out, and get going on the next adventure.

Dolly Parton is also featured, sharing insight into her RV lifestyle, memories, and inspirations.

Dolly Parton, a Country Music Hall of Fame member is at home in her custom made Prevost home on wheels. (Source:
Dolly Parton, a Country Music Hall of Fame member is at home in her custom made Prevost home on wheels. (Source:

This time of year outdoor enthusiasts begin planning camping trips and start researching and purchasing new equipment. Part of the cost is in camping gear, and for many, finding durable gear that lasts from year to year is crucial to a positive camping experience. An informative article in the digital version, “Innovative Gear For Outdoor Adventures”, offers tips for buying durable products.

Whatever your interests, wherever you want to go, whoever you want to travel with—an RV is a fun, flexible, and affordable option. There is an RV for everyone. Indulge in your options and find a recreational vehicle that fits your travel needs as you peruse “Which RV is Right For You?”

The digital component is distributed nationally through a vast social media strategy and across a network of top news sites and partner outlets.

To explore the digital version of American Adventure Guide, click here.

This outdoor adventure campaign is made possible with the support of AAA, Leave No Trace, Children & Nature Network, National Park Conservation Association, Yellow Stone Association, Family Motor Coach Association, National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, American Boating Association, Foundation for Safe Boating & Marine Information, and more.

RVs come in an array of shapes, sizes, and configurations designed to make vacation travel convenient and comfortable. (Source:
RVs come in an array of shapes, sizes, and configurations designed to make vacation travel convenient and comfortable. (Source:



Mediaplanet is the leading independent publisher of content-marketing campaigns covering a variety of topics and industries.

Mediaplanet turns consumer interest into action by providing readers with motivational editorial, pairing it with relevant advertisers, and distributing it within top newspapers and online platforms around the world.

Worth Pondering…

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

There is a society, where none intrudes,

By the deep sea, and music in its roar:

I love not Man the less, but Nature more

—Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

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Catherine’s Landing & AdventureWorks Announce Partnership

Memphis, Tennessee-based RVC Outdoor Destinations, a provider of high-quality outdoor resort properties in the United States, announced the grand opening of AdventureWorks, Hot Springs at its Catherine’s Landing outdoor destination.

Catherine’s Landing
Catherine’s Landing

“Guests are seeking high-quality, memorable experiences.” said Andy Cates, CEO and general partner of RVC Outdoor Destinations, in a news release.

“As we continue to expand our guest offerings at RVC properties throughout the United States, we’re pleased to offer a world-class adventure park that includes 12 zip lines, a sky bridge, and an incredible aerial experience.”

“We’re thrilled by the opportunity to partner with RVC Outdoor Destinations. They offer the complete outdoor hospitality experience to guests who want to camp comfortably, said Jennifer Halverson, President of Adventure Works.

“AdventureWorks is happy to be a part of the RVC movement and excited to add another major tourist attraction to the Hot Springs, Arkansas, area. We felt there was no better place to get people in the air than beautiful Catherine’s Landing.”

While the new regional attraction is open to the public, Catherine’s Landing guests will receive special pricing to experience the new addition.

Catherine’s Landing
Catherine’s Landing

The tour takes about an hour and a half, includes 12 zip lines varying in length of up to 800 feet and heights of up to six stories, provides various tree top activities, and includes routes for all ages and abilities.

The AdventureWorks Hot Springs grand opening will be March 29 and 30.

In addition to Catherine’s Landing in Hot Springs, Arkansas, RVC currently operates Outdoor Destinations and RV Resorts in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.


Catherine’s Landing

Catherine’s Landing sits on 400 pastoral acres and a mile of water frontage on Lake Catherine.

Location: 6 miles south of Hot Springs

Address: 1700 Shady Grove Road, Hot Springs, AR 71901

Phone: (501) 262-2550


RVC Outdoor Destinations

RVC Outdoor Destinations develops, owns, and operates a portfolio of high-quality outdoor hospitality properties located within some of the country’s most beautiful natural settings and offering upscale services and amenities.

Catherine’s Landing
Catherine’s Landing

Memphis, Tennessee-based RVC is redefining the traditional camping experience with its original Outdoor Destination concept and upgraded RV resorts that provide guests with a comfortable, customizable, outdoor vacation through a variety of affordable lodging options, including RV sites, yurts, cabins, and cottages, all with enhanced guest amenities and recreational activities.

RVC operates 10 Outdoor Destinations and RV Resorts in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and North Carolina.

Address: 429 N Main Street, Suite 100, Memphis, Tennessee 38103

Phone: (901) 432-4748


Worth Pondering…

What will you begin today?

Yesterday is gone.

Tomorrow has not yet come.

We have only today.

Let us begin.

—Mother Teresa

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Georgia DNR Launches Interactive Recreation Map

From the majestic ridges and valleys of northwest Georgia to the marshes of Glynn County on the coast, the state of Georgia is fortunate to have a diversity of natural and cultural resources for residents and visitors to enjoy.

GaOutdoorMap_0The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is charged with the conservation and protection of these resources for current and future generations. Their web site (SEE link below) provides visitors with information on how DNR manages the state’s natural and cultural resources and how the public can enjoy the great outdoors and the state’s rich history.

The DNR unveiled an interactive map that identifies DNR-managed lands and outdoor recreation opportunities.

The Georgia Outdoor Map (SEE link below) includes state parks, wildlife management areas, public fishing areas, boat ramps, and historic sites. Users are able to search by category to find locations where they can camp, hunt, hike, fish or explore history.

“We are proud to offer this new resource to Georgia’s citizens and visitors,” said Governor Nathan Deal.

“We are blessed here in Georgia with a state that is rich in both natural and cultural resources. I want to encourage Georgians to use this interactive tool to find new places to explore.”

Ossabaw Island
Ossabaw Island

The “Georgia Outdoor Map” can be visited using any device with a web browser including desktops, phones, and tablets.

By checking criteria fields, users can find recreational opportunities, directions, handicap accessibility, telephone numbers, and website links for more details.

The tool also offers a “near me” function to help users determine which recreational opportunities are closest to them.

“With this web-based tool, users can easily see what types of outdoor recreation are available in all parts of the state,” said DNR Commissioner Mark Williams.

“The map includes all DNR properties open for public use, from the smallest historic site to the largest wildlife management area. It’s a quick way to find boat ramps, campgrounds, archery ranges and other places for enjoying the great outdoors.”


Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Georgia Centennial Farm, Terrell County
Georgia Centennial Farm, Terrell County

Address: 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, SE Suite 1252, Atlanta, GA 30334


Georgia Outdoor Map website:

Worth Pondering…

Georgia On My Mind

Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through

Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.

Georgia, Georgia, a song of you

Comes as sweet and clear as moonlight through the pines

—words by Stuart Gorrell and music by Hoagy Carmichael

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