‘Tin Can Tourists’ Highlight Historic Autocamping

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors

July 23, 2014

Most of us have visited vintage car shows, where autos from the past have been meticulously restored and refurbished, but did you know there’s an organization for aficionados of classic travel and camping trailers? You’ll also read about a new study about U.S. bird mortality, and much more!

Vintage Campers Roll in to Michigan Park
Each summer, the traveling vintage trailer club, Tin Can Tourists, hosts special events at public camps and trailer parks across the country, featuring some of its member’s finest vintage and restored camping vehicles.

Port Crescent State Park in Port Austin, Mich., will host its Sixth Annual Vintage Camper Show, July 24-27, featuring more than 84 classic trailers and motor homes open for public display and exhibit. The Port Austin event began when the owners of about seven or eight vintage trailers came from New York, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and Ontario to camp one weekend at the park. Through the years, many more members have joined the Tin Can Tourists for this annual campout. A number of the trailers have been meticulously renovated and the owners are always willing to share their stories and photos.

Tin Can Tourists was organized at Desoto Park, Tampa, Fla., in 1919.
Tin Can Tourists was organized at Desoto Park, Tampa, Fla.,
in 1919.

Tin Can Tourists was organized at Desoto Park, Tampa, Fla., in 1919, receiving an official state charter a year later. The group’s stated objective was “to unite fraternally all autocampers,” and its guiding principles included clean camps, friendliness among campers, decent behavior, and to secure plenty of clean, wholesome entertainment for those in camp.

The group, whose members were known for displaying a soldered tin can on their car radiator caps, grew rapidly during the 1920s and 30s.

Originally, members could be inducted by fellow campers through an initiation process that taught the prospective member the secret handshake, sign, and password. After singing the official song, “The More We Get Together” the trailerite was an official member of the Tin Can Tourists of the World.

Study: Bird Mortality From U.S. Powerlines Substantial
Collisions with electric power lines is a growing hazard that kills millions of birds each year, according to a new study headed by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.

In the article appearing in he Public Library of Science journal “PLoS One,” the Smithsonian’s Peter Marra, along with Scott Loss of Oklahoma State University and Tom Will of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, reviewed data from dozens of surveys of bird power-line deaths to get an accurate idea of just how many birds truly die from power line collisions and electrocutions.

Because birds have eyes on opposite sides of their heads, they have a depth-of-field problem in seeing what’s right before them, explains Marra. “As they are flying through a particular area they are looking beyond those wires and don’t see the power lines. It doesn’t take much to break a hollow bone in a wing, which birds have.”

Based on the study, the new estimate of birds killed at power lines each year rests somewhere between 12- and 64 million!

“Obviously, there is still a range of uncertainty in our estimates, but it does reflect the best available data,” Loss says.

A second study appearing in the May issue of Journal of Wildlife Management, the same scientists took a comprehensive look at bird deaths caused by collisions with cars, estimating that between 80 million and 340 million auto-strike bird deaths occur annually in the U.S., based on some 20 mortality rates taken from 13 independent studies.

Other causes of bird mortality being studied include pesticides, radio towers, free-roaming cats, and wind turbines.

“Our idea, is that these are the sorts of hazards theoretically we could mitigate, change or minimize,” Marra said. “That is why we did these mortality estimates.”

Record Number of Bald Eagle Nests in Pennsylvania Count
The Pennsylvania Game Commission reports that so far this year, 254 bald-eagle nests have been documented, with nesting eagles present in at least 59 of the state’s 67 counties, both all-time highs for the mid-year report.

In January, the Commission removed the bald eagle from the state’s list of threatened species, capping a 30-year comeback that ranks as one of the great success stories in wildlife-conservation history. And in the months that followed, more than 3 million viewers joined in the celebration, watching online as three bald eaglets hatched, then developed into birds strong enough to fledge the Pittsburgh nest in which they grew up.

Each year, just before the Fourth of July, the Game Commission releases a preliminary count of bald-eagle nests statewide. The report serves to celebrate the bald eagle — our national symbol of strength and freedom — as well as the terrific progress the species has made in Pennsylvania since the onset of a reintroduction program in 1983. The number of nests and the number of counties with nests both are all-time highs for the mid-year report.

Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said the report, rewrites that final chapter in the story of the bald eagle’s recovery in Pennsylvania.

“Over my career with the Game Commission, I have watched this agency jump-start eagle recovery in 1983, and now I’m seeing the results of all that hard work,” Hough said. “I, and I’m sure all Pennsylvanians, are proud of this amazing recovery. More importantly, more of us are seeing eagles than ever before. That never gets old. They’re such exciting birds.”

Quote Of The Week
“I still enjoy the company of most dogs more than that of most people, because dogs are capable of uncomplicated enthusiasm.”
– John Gierach,
Standing in a River Waving a Stick, 1999

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for sportsmansguide.com. You may contact him at jrabsher@me.com.


Leave a Reply

Commenting Policy - We encourage open expression of your thoughts and ideas. But there are a few rules:

No abusive comments, threats, or personal attacks. Use clean language. No discussion of illegal activity. Racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally hateful comments are not tolerated. Keep comments on topic. Please don't spam.

While we reserve the right to remove or modify comments at our sole discretion, the Sportsman's Guide does not bear any responsibility for user comments. The views expressed within the comment section do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of The Sportsman's Guide.