I often wonder how many businesses in the US are also governmental units. While there are some other Improvement Districts in Florida, from what I understand, none of them even come close to what WDW has done with the Reedy Creek one. They can and do tax themselves to cover the cost of roads, water and sewer, power generation, etc, which must be a tax deduction for them. They also, as mentioned in the two links, have the right to condem and take property outside the Improvement District which they used once for land needed to build one of their many canals. They also have the authority to issue tax free bonds for needed improvement. A source of contention with some other government units in the state.
Seems like every couple of weeks I get an email from them offering a discount on one of the hotel properties but never on the Fort Campground. On our last stay at the Fort, ten days, I ended up paying 4 different nightly rates, bach in December. I sometimes think they used the same software to set their site prices that the airlines use for ticket prices. LOL last year, with lodging taxes added, we paid from a low of about $65 for a night to a high of about $125 a night for the same class of camp site. Of course, most were closer to the upper end. But we can pay about the same rates in the Keys.
Discounts at FW are pretty much a thing of the past. Building new loops???? highly unlikely due to land restrictions. There are plans for a Disney Vacation Club timeshare by the old River Country section utilizing the shore and into the water. Don't recall seeing any RV sites.
Remember, the cheap prices are for smaller tent/pop-up site loops-1500 and 2000 with only water, electric and cable.
Disney has no land restrictions in Florida. When WDW bought the land, they had the state legislature set up a special district for them. They have all the same rights as a town or county. They can operate their own school system, police department, waste disposal, water treatment plants, fire departments, EMS ambulances and electrical power stations. Their Improvement District also allows them to operate a nuclear power plant which they have never shown any interest in applying to build.
However they contract with the near by sheriff's department for police services, even though they have a security force of over 3,000 personnel that work for WDW.
There is a saying in Florida, that what the Mouse wants, the mouse gets. With a daily payroll of over 70,000 employees at WDW, they are the largest single site employer in the state.
All the land, etc, is owned in the name of the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The land was originally purchased under the name of the Reedy Creek Ranch, to keep prices under control. It was only later the land sellers found out they had sold to Disney.
You may have seen their trucks running around the Fort campground, if you have been there.
The Improvement Dist. has a board of directors that hold monthly meetings open to the public, just like county commishners would do. To be on the board, you have to own land within the Improvement District. There are only 5 parcels of land available and all are owned by the operating officers of WDW, so they are the Board of Directors.
WDW's Improvement Board has also chosen to let the two Florida counties where the are located to assess and collect property taxes. Last year, the two counties received approx $125,000,000 from WDW in property taxes. Both counties fall all over themselves to do what the Mouse wants, like the state does.
If WDW decides to increase the size of Fort Wilderness campground, no one is going to say no to them, not the state, not the two counties and certainly not the Improvement District, which probably has the legal authority to approve it. Zoning and building codes also come under the Improvement Districts areas of control
This is from the Reedy Creek web site
Just because the station is closed, doesn't mean there won't be a Canadin Customs patrol officer or RCMP officer parked out front. Unlike us, Canada takes entering the country illegally, very seriously.
Going from the Canadian side to the U.S. side never required a stop anyways. Why would it be any different if the station is closed? Leaving a country is seldom a problem. We all only stop when entering, not leaving.
Hyder Alaska is also the only area of Alaska that does not use the 907 area code. They use the 250 of BC. Up until a few years back, the state of Alaska did not run a school in Hyder, so BC bused the Hyder kids to Stewart for school every day. There are some Hyderites that went all 12 years to school in Stewart BC. As far as I know, BC never charged the out of country, Alaska kids to attend. The Alaska kids just learned to sing, God save the Queen, like every one else.
But on a much more serious note, with alchohol being so much cheaper in the US, due to the different tax structures, many from Stewart would drive over to Hyder to the bar to drink in the evenings. Now they have to be back into Canada by midnight or spend the night in Hyder Alaska. Major problem for some of those folks as well as the bar owners in Hyder.
Not sure the closing of the Canadian station would have any effect on leaving Canada for Hyder. We never have had to stop on the way over to Hyder, just on the way back to Stewart. Don't see how that would change any.
We are Florida resident annual pass holders. If we can get a reservation we like to stay at the fort. Thirty to forty nights a year. I haven't seen any discounts at the campground in years. The local taxes on a camp site are up to around $17 a night, but that applies to camp sites on or off property.
I would love to see them build some new camping loops as it seems to me, each year it is harder to get reservations. They sure have enough land to expand. But obviously not at the top of their priority list. I have been trying to get a week for next Halloween and started checking last October.
But we do, as annual pass holders, get other special offers such as Tables in Paradise, with gives a nice discount at all the eating places and shops.
We were in a somewhat similar situation with a 41 ft sailboat. It had been with an agency and the we pulled it out and handled it ourselves, somewhat. My comments are Colorado specific. We also owned a walk in gift shop in western Colorado which we had set up as a LLC. So we sort of added the sailboat rental to that LLC even though the boat was located in Florida.
The first thing I did with insurance was to go to a local broker and explain what I was looking for in the way of protection. This was after talking to my tax attorney and CPA. The boat added a bit of a problem in that it was financed and the mortgage holder was not willing to switch ownership over to my Colorado LLC. So we had to do some sort of formal lease arrangement between us, my wife and I, and the LLC. I personally kept making the boat's monthly payment after the LLC paid me the lease fee. LOL We were sort of like the OP in that we already had the boat, couldn't sell it and needed to do something with it. To have bought a boat for this convoluted setup would have never been worth it. Florida not having an income tax was helpful as well as my wife and I owning property in Florida, even though our state of residence was Colorado, where we worked. Took out a Florida business license for the boat rental portion.
I found several problems with vendors with our LLC the first few years, due it not have a credit history. On several of the financial transactions, I had to personally cosign the bank loans to say buy store inventory, because the bank had no recourse against the LLC if it went belly up. After four or five years that problem disappeared once we had a good track record.
I am sure setting down with my tax attorney and CPA, spending probably a $1,000, to get their opinions, before setting up the boat rental, saved me ten fold that amount in the long run. Just the paperwork that had to be sent to the state in Colorado, for a LLC, was a major pain in the tush, monthly, quarterly, yearly, separate tax filings, etc.
Joyceyam, welcome to the forum. Don't worry too much about making mistakes, we all do at times. sounds like you have purchased a new RV outside and plan to drive it back to Alaska. You didn't mention if this would be your first time on the Alaska Hwy or not. Doesn't matter if you have driven it or not, as it is a great trip. There are many hundreds of RV on that trip every summer, some first timers and some more experienced, as it tends to be addictive.
You might list more about what you are thinking in going in a small group, traveling together daily? or camping together at night? etc. I have often thought it would be fun to go in a small group, as my wife has heard all my stories. By the way, most of my true stories are. I lived in rural Alaska for 25+ years and considered retiring on the Kenai as we owned a river front lot about 1 1/4 miles east of soldotna on the East Redoubt Rd for a number of years. But someone wanted it more than we did so we sold it before we moved out of Alaska.
So again welcome, and keep asking your questions.
A couple of ways to do what the OP wants. Carry the handgun in the RV and ride the Alaska Ferry system from Bellingham Washington to Whittier Alaska, never stopping at a Canadian port. Or ship it dealer to dealer with federal firearms license at both ends. When I moved out of Alaska I shipped my handguns to the lower 48 by barge freight, through Totem Express at the time.
Some very special exceptions to the no handgun rule into Canada by a U.S. citizen. Most common, but still applies to very few is if you have with you a U.S. government issued handgun and are on travel orders. A U.S. Airforce pilot changing duty stations from the lower 48 to a base in Alaska, that has been issued a handgun by the military and assigned to that individual person. Others could be gun carrying officers of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Coast Guard pilots, etc. in all cases the actual owner of the firearm has to be the US Government.
While I agree 100% with Bill that they aren't needed, and he has lived in Alaska or close to Alaska(Anchorage) a lot longer than my 25+ years, in my bush plane, the State of Alaska, required a weapon to be on board as part of your required survival gear. In case of a plane accident and the pilot is injured, if a bear approaches the wreck, the pilot can shoot him/her self before the bear can eat you alive. LOL
For the most part I use 1/4 inch hardware cloth behind the grill. But I put it on as soon as I buy a new truck or new to me. Whether I am going to Alaska or not. Lots of road debris on the Interstates, etc. on my current Chevy, I put a commercial, attach with Velcro, bug screen on the outside.
It works well and no over heating problems. Keeps the bugs out of my radiator and oil coolers. Several spring times I have found myself in places with cottonwood trees, putting off their fuzz. Looks like snow in the air and will clog a radiator fast. The way they stack coolers in the front makes it difficult to keep them clean without some type of protection.
I keep a small whisp broom under my driver's seat and will brush off the screen several times a day, such as when fueling, etc. a few trips back, we got into swarms of bees in northern BC and southern Yukon. I was very happy I had a screen on the front. It may have stopped a few rocks here and there as well.
On a couple of rigs I have installed one of the plastic, raised bug deflectors on the front or the hood. Mixed feelings on them. At highway speeds, the windshield washer fluid goes everywhere, due to the disrupted air flow, but after a trip or two, the rock cracks and chips in the plastic of the bug deflector, told me it was working on low flying debris. Don't use them anymore.
On Alaska trips,
In 2006, I chipped a windshield in Iowa, on the Interstate and about 2009, I broke a windshield, just out of Valdez, due to meeting a loaded gravel dump truck, that was running without a load cover. Nice paved road, but nothing would have protected me from that blast of gravel. Just had the glass replaced when I got home. Florida requires full glass coverage.
We lived in Ouray for about 10 years prior to moving to the swamp country of Florida. Ridgway SP is our favorite state park in Colorado. One of the three campgrounds there, Pa Co Chu Puk, does have full hookups. Water, and a dump station are available in the CG. Very nice coin operated laundry and shower facilities are available.
The Ouray KOA, just north of town is our favorite of the privates and we often spend a month or so there in the summer. It is probably book full for the July 4 time frame but worth a call. The owners winter at their home here in Florida. Real nice folks. CG is seasonal.
We have stayed for a month at the 4 J + CG in Ouray, down by the river. Site are a bit tight but it is run by a good family as well. Several more privates just north of town that have changed owners in the last few years.
Gov't CG up on the hill side east of Ouray, called the Amplitheater CG. No services and have never stayed there.
Ouray and surrounding area does need reservations for the popular months. You may have problems getting them now.
The road from Montrose to Ouray is fine, low altitude, etc. hwy 550 gets interesting south of Ouray. New to the area, I suggest you camp in Ridgway or Ouray. Then drive your vehicle over the Million Dollar Hwy and see for yourself what you think of it.
While Whittier may not be considered to be a destination location to most it is worth a day trip to me. The Camping in the Portage area is some of the best in the lower Anchorage bowl area.
Whittier is, I believe the farthest north, ice free US port for shipping. It was developed during WWII, same time frame as the building of the Alaska Hwy by the US military as a way to get troops into Alaska, all year around. So it is a bit of a strange place due to all these factors. The military built two huge building in Whittierr, one is now the Begich Towers and the other sets abandoned. At the time they were built they were the largest building in Alaska. The Begich building was bult mainly as an apartment build and that is what it is still used for. It is 14 stories tall, has almost 200 apartments to house the just leas than 200 year around residents. The local school is next door and is connected to the apartment building by a tunnel so the students don't have to go outside to get to school or back home
Whittier weather is often very different from that in Portage. Portage may be sunny and warm and Whittier will be low clouds and rain. The military built a rail road tunnl from Whittier to Portage where it connected to the Alaska Railroad which the military also owned and operated at the time.
I have been to Whittier, probably half a dozen times over the years. my wife and I like to ride our motorcycle, from Nenana where we lived for 13 years over to Delta, south to Valdez and catch the ferry over to Whittier. At that time we would have to put the bike on a flat bed rail car and ride with it through the tunnel to be off loaded in Portage, where we could go south to the Kenai or north to head back home.
Now days you can drive vehicles through the train tunnel. Directions alternate every 30 minutes as I remember and trains still have priority use. Just the drive through the tunnel is a fun experience for us. In Whittier, there is a large small boat harbor, several day long boat tours around the area, good places to eat, etc. It is a cruise ship docking town, but the people are mainly getting off the cruise ships and onto buses or trains to head to Anchorage. A large majority of all ocean freight headed into main land Alaska enters through the Port of Valdez. The rail barges out of the Seattle area and Prince Rupert load and unload here.
While Whittier is not somewhere we go every trip, for someone that has never been there, to me it would be worth a days time, to do the trip. Would just depend on how tight your time schedule was at the time.
Even though I have made 13 round trips by RV, to/from Alaska, I have also made another half dozen or so by car or pickup and about the same by small aircraft following the Alaska Hwy north.
Several of the car trips, I made solo and all the flying trips, north bound, I was by myself. (working as a ferry pilot) Not sure that sounds right. LOL But I found it was just necessary to do a bit more planning as to where you wanted to spend the night. You will have choices of road houses/lodges, though not as many as in the past and all the towns will have places to stay, motels and hotels, B&Bs, etc. Now I like to tent camp and have done so over much of the Alaska hwy and mainland Alaska, without incident due to wildlife. Now I did have a group of voles get into my Cheetos, in my food cache one night and ate them all gone, just like in the story books.
I have traveled extensively in main land Alaska camping out of my river boats or my airplanes parked on a gravel/sand bar for the night. The bears of the north can be lumped into a couple of general groups, wild bears and dump bears. Now I will not tent camp near any town or village that has a city dump as the bears will have lost their fear of humans and are trouble with a capital T. Most people that get bear bit in Alaska, are usually within the city limits of Anchorage. Wild bears will avoid people for the most part. Black bears are somewhat a curious lot at times Camping out of my river boats on the Interior rivers of Alaska, I will often find bear tracks around the front of my boat where I have pulled it up on shore for the night.
But as mentioned, keep a clean camp and all should go well. Never cook in your tent, never store food in your tent, etc. When boat or airplane camping, I had a method I used. I would park my plane or boat in the center, walk about 50 ft down stream and set up my tent, then walk back to the boat or plane and go 50 or 75 ft beyond it to set up a food cache, in a tree or tripod, etc. and then I would go off another direction 50 ft or so to build my cooking fire.
I always tried to figure what was the most important to protect. Me, first, then my transportation, boat or plane and the food cache and my tent were at the very bottom of the list. Never camp with dogs, except in the spring time when I was traveling with my dog team, where I would stake them out around my sleeping spot at night. No bear alive is going to try and take on a dozen snarling, semi domesticated sled dogs, just to taste joe b. or the teams supply of dried salmon for their food. LOL
All bets are off if you are dealing with white bears, absolutely crazy and without reason understandable by a human. I wouldn't trust a white bear any farther than I could throw him and that would be zero distance.
Some campgrounds prohibit tents and soft sided campers just for liability insurance reasons. Your chance of winning the lottery or getting struck by lighting are far greater than for getting bear bit, if you stay away from dump bears.
Gary, so glad to be able to help out. I knew you would be reluctant to mention the matter, not wanting forum members to think you were looking for sympathy. But it doesn't embarrass me at all to help out a good friend. See I could have said something about a guy your age being up on a rooftop, but I didn't. We just don't bounce as well as we used to in our youth. LOL
Get well buddy.
Gary Haupt is a frequent poster to the Canada and Alaska forum section. He recently mentioned he was headed to Mexico for awhile. He had become concerned with the snow load on the building, where he had his Class C, RV stored. He removed his rig and a few days later, the building did collapse from the weight of the snow. Gary lives in Kitimat, BC just SW of Kitwanga Junction, over by the coast where it really knows how to snow.
So this past weekend he decided to shovel the snow off the roof of his home, and managed to fall off the roof, breaking his leg. So he will be doing the hippity hop pirate walk for some time with his cast.
Cash is an interesting product in rural Alaska and probably in rural northern Canada. Cash is king and not always easy to obtain in the rural villages. When I would be wandering around the state in my Piper Super Cub, which burned about $50 to $80 an hour in aviation gasoline, it was all paid for in cash.So it wasn't too unusual for me to have somewhere in the range of $5,000 cash with me, at the start of a trip.
Many of the rural men, would work summer jobs out of the village, as fire fighters, equipment operators, labors, whatever it took to make a living. So when they returned home in the fall, they brought their summer earning back in cash, no local banks available. But by Thanksgiving time, the money had been handled so much it looked more like a used green kleenex with writing on it, than it did a bill of legal tender. LOL One village where I lived, Koyukuk,350 miles west of Fairbanks,the store keeper was also the post master. So after about the first of the year, when people came in to cash checks, social security or whatever, they got back postal money orders instead of cash. There simply was not cash available. Most people ran a book at the store for groceries, so cash was not used and the book was to be paid up each fall when the folks had cash.
So at times when I was going to fly into Fairbanks for some reason, the store keeper, a good friend of mine, would often make out a check to me to cash for her and bring back for her store use. These checks were often for $20,000 or more. Was a reassuring feeling as I figured if I crashed my plane, more people would be interested in looking for me if they knew I had that kind of cash with me. LOL Postal money orders were used just like cash if cash wasn't available. The were not make out to anyone and just circulated around and around.
Once you get up into northern Canada, you will from time to time find places that don't take credit cards. Many local artists don't accept them and at times, the lodge's card machine is down, they aren't accepting them either, for for fuel, a meal, etc. it is cash or wait till the data line comes back up for the merchant. I have had this happen several times over the years I have been driving to/from Alaska. Also as mentioned by someone, most of the governmental campgrounds don't accept plastic, they want cash only, whether it is a CG with a host collecting the money or one run on the honor system where you fill out the card, attach your money and drop it in the pipe.
Along the US-Canada border, plastic rules on both sides but once you get north, it is a different game. The last time I was at Boya Lake Provincial Park in northern BC, a older guy and his daughter came by selling fire wood at what I thought was a fair price. No way he was set up to accept plastic as payment for his nice dry fire wood. LOL
If you have specific places you want to stay on specific dates, then make them. What most people will say is they don't make reservations very far ahead, but often do make them. Seems to be the same thing to me but to some it is obviously different. The salmon runs are somewhat predictable based upon historic runs. If I know I am going to fish the Valdez pink salmon run, the week or two after the 4th of July, I will call and make reservations a week or two ahead, same with the Kenai as Bob mentioned. Seward on the 4th, you will need them.
With all that verbiage, I have yet to talk to anyone that didn't find some place to park for a night, even though it may be box store pavement parking. I personally don't overnite at the big box stores, except in emergencies. Once in Alaska your cell phone will often work so I don't see it as a big deal to call a few days head to reserve a spot, especially in places like Fairbanks, Valdez, Homer, Seward as I know where we want to stay. Will at times turn my cell phone on in Canada to call for a place in Whitehorse or Dawson. This is all based upon what the RVers is comfortable with so far as a place to park. If you love parking at Wal Marts or Fred Meyer stores, then don't call as neither accept reservations that I am aware of. LOL
As king27 mentioned, Discovery is not widely accepted in Canada. Make sure to have a Visa or Master Card for fuel, etc.
Northbound I will stop at the first Canadian bank and use their ATM machine to take out $400cdn, which normally will last us till we get to Alaska. Then we do the same on the south bound leg of the trip. On the way back south I will try to use up any of the remains Canadian currency for fuel etc.
Canadian banks and merchants are much better at working with US currency than once back in the US and trying to use Canadian dollars. I think I have about $40 cdn remaining from the last trip and will take that back north the next time
The latest info I have received from Turbo Tax is that as of Feb 7, 2015 when you pull up the program on your computer, it will do the upgrade to make your program like it was in the past, as no cost. I was one of the real unhappy customers of their's as I have used the TurboTax Delux version for years. Nothing on this years product indicated it was any difference, same basic price etc. However upon loading it n my computer, I found some of the forms I have used in the past were no longer included but could be purchased. So the end cost of the same product as last year was going to be about double. If a person has already filed with the "lite" version, Turbo Tax will send them a $25 refund. For those that haven't filed yet, just wait till after tomorrow, Feb 7 to download the complete program.
Whatever their reasons were, Turbo Tax got roasted on the Internet, far and wide for these under the table changes. Hopefully they and other companies will take note, that if they plan to make changes in a long standing product, they better be up front about it. Think I will wait a few days into next week to check on the download as their servers may be busy.