RV Resorts, RV Parks report from Around the U.S.

Private campgrounds and RV resorts are collectively moving ahead with plans to spend millions of dollars in capital improvement projects this year, despite the recession, according to private park operators and industry officials.

“The recession is temporary, and most campground and RV resort operators
believe that it behooves them to move forward with their improvement plans
if they want to remain competitive with other travel and tourism options,”
said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV
Parks and Campgrounds in Larkspur, Colo., which represents more than 3,700
private parks across the country.

As a result, she said, many private park operators are investing in new
facilities and amenities this year, which include everything from cabins and
yurts to miniature golf courses, skate parks and waterslides.

The push by private park operators to improve their facilities has been
going on for many years. In fact, three quarters of private park owners made
an average of $147,508 in improvements to their parks in 2007, according to
a national survey by the Arizona Hospitality Research & Resource Center at
Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

Profaizer cautioned that not every park is investing in capital improvements
this year, and some may hold until later this year until they get a better
sense of where the economy is going. However, there are numerous examples of
parks across the country that are making substantial investments in
improvements and, in some cases, expansions. Consider these examples:

n Adventure Bound Camping Resort in Gatlinburg, Tenn.: This Great Smoky
Mountains area park, whose amenities include a 500-foot waterslide, is
spending $70,000 in swimming pool, water heating and other improvements this
year.

n Arctic RV Park in Cosmopolis, Wash.: This park, located on the southern
border of Olympic National Park, is making an effort to accommodate bigger
rigs by investing $10,000 for improvements this year, much of which will
involve converting four back in sites with 30-amp electrical hookups to
three, pull-through sites with 50-amp service.

n Buttonwood Campground, Mexico, Penn.: This central Pennsylvania park plans
to invest $160,000 in improvements this year, including a miniature golf
course, a new satellite cable TV system, an upgraded wireless Internet or
WiFi system, laundry facilities and two park model cabins.

n Campland on the Bay, San Diego, Calif.: This RV resort, located near Sea
World and the San Diego Zoo, is spending up to $50,000 this year on a skate
park, which is expected to open by Memorial Day Weekend. The park is also
spending $100,000 on other infrastructure improvements.

n Flying Flags RV Resort, Buellton, Calif.: This RV resort, located near the
Dutch-themed town of Solvang, has budgeted $550,000 for improvements this
year, including three park model cabin rental units, a fitness center,
electrical and sewer service upgrades, renovation of campsites, cable
television system upgrades and new landscaping.

n Fox Hill RV Park in Baraboo, Wis.: This park, located 45 miles northwest
of Madison, is planning to invest $10,000 to $15,000 in improvements this
year, which will pay for improvements to its pool, construction of new
seasonal sites and new activities.

n Holiday Cove RV Resort in Cortez, Fla.: This park just completed $1.4
million in a complete overhaul, which included the addition of 50-amp
electrical hookups at every site, brick paver pads and patios at each
campsite, a new laundry and fitness center building, new pool decking and
landscaping, the paving of all roads inside the park and the installation of
security fencing.

n Kozy Rest Kampground, Harrisville, Penn.: This western Pennsylvania park
is investing $300,000 in improvements this year, including the addition of
two full-service cabins, a new maintenance building, a new bathhouse and
laundry, as well as the installation of sewage service to 22 of its
campsites.

n Lake George RV Park in Lake George, N.Y.:  This park is investing $150,000
to $200,000 in upgrades this year, which will include new landscaping, a new
cable television system and other infrastructure upgrades.

n Normandy Farms Campground in Foxboro, Mass: This park, located 30 miles
southwest of Boston, is adding 20 new campsites and an additional yurt this
year and next at a cost of approximately $40,000.

n Port of Siuslaw Campground in Florence, Ore.: This campground, located
near the famous Oregon sand dunes, is investing $53,000 in electrical
upgrades this year as it upgrades many of its campsites with     50-amp
electrical service.

n Stony Ridge KOA in Perrysville, Ohio: This park, located 90 miles
southeast of Cleveland, is spending $6,000 on a new pavilion and plans to
spend another $1,000 on hay rides and other new activities this year.

n The Vineyards Campground and Cabins in Grapevine, Texas:  This park plans
to begin making $1.5 million worth of capital improvements this year,
including additional RV sites, cabins, sewer system upgrades, a new
gatehouse and store and landscaping. Geocaching and kayak rentals are also
being added to the park this spring.

n Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort Mammoth Cave, in Cave City, Ky.:
This 129-site park plans to invest roughly $400,000 in new facilities and
other upgrades this year, including new cabins with fireplaces and pull out
sofa beds, upgrades to its miniature golf course, improvements to its water
slide as well as new landscaping and new tile in its bathhouse.

Resort chains, for their part, are also moving ahead with expansion plans,
including Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties, which spent more than
$13 million in improvements to its 170 RV resorts last year. Last year’s
improvements included construction of a ‘50s-style diner, pool improvements,
a fitness center and activity bus at Paradise RV Resort in Sun City, Ariz.;
$100,000 worth of new pool decking, bathroom, clubhouse furniture
improvements and signage at Royal Coachman Resort in Sarasota, Fla.;
$162,000 in pool area and bathroom improvements at Breezy Hill RV Resort
near Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; $165,000 worth of upgrades to bathrooms, laundry
facilities and roads at Fun N Sun RV Resort in San Benito, Texas; and
$100,000 on pool renovations at Goose Creek RV Resort on North Carolina’s
Crystal Coast.

“We expect to continue to demonstrate to our customers that we care about
our properties by investing in them,” said Ellen Kelleher, ELS’s executive
vice president of property management, adding that ELS will spend millions
of dollars again in improvements this year.

This year’s improvements at ELS parks include $2 million in upgrades to its
Thousand Trails campgrounds for interior roadway improvements, new
electrical hookups, new kayaks, paddleboats, picnic tables and barbecue
grills. Other ELS projects include new fitness centers and pool area
upgrades at Sunshine Key RV Resort and Marina in Big Pine Key, Fla. and
clubhouse renovations at Crystal Isle RV Resort in Crystal River, Fla.

Other RV resort companies making improvements this year include Salt
Springs, Fla.-based Elite Resorts of America, which is overseeing $1.2
million in proposed renovation work at Ocala Sun RV Resort in Ocala;
$300,000 worth of improvements at Desert Gardens RV Oasis in Florence,
Ariz.; and roughly $500,000 worth of improvements at Palm Lake RV Resort in
Foley, Ala., according to Ed Mayer, president of Elite Resorts, which is
managing these properties on behalf of a Philadelphia-based investment
group.

Elite Resorts is also planning to invest $200,000 in improvements at its
namesake parks in Salt Springs, Clermont and Crystal River, Mayer said.
Of course, not every park is spending money in facility or amenity
improvements right now. Some, in fact, have not been able to move forward
with their expansion or improvement plans because of difficulties obtaining
loans. But that’s doesn’t always stop them.

The Jellystone Park in Cobb, Calif., north of Napa Valley, was planning to
spend half a million dollars on a miniature golf course when its lender
stopped issuing loans after the golf course was 75 percent completed. But
that didn’t stop park owner Brian Barnhart. He negotiated a deal with the
golf course builder that allowed him to finish the golf course himself.
“This is looking like it’s going to be a very good year for our campground
business,” Barnhart said, adding, “I think we’re going to do a lot better
than last year.”
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