SPRING HILL, Tenn., April 2009 – The economy may be mired in recession, but that hasn’t stopped private campground owners in Tennessee from investing in new campsites, cabins and other upgrades for the upcoming camping season.
"The recession is temporary, and most campground and RV park operators believe that it behooves them to move forward with their improvement plans 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 the more than 8,000 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 to activity centers and miniature golf courses, skate parks and waterslides. Consider these examples:
Adventure Bound Camping Resort in Gatlinburg: This Great Smoky Mountains area park, whose amenities include a 500-foot waterslide and 14 cabin rentals, is spending $70,000 in swimming pool, water heating and other improvements this year.
Big Meadow Family Campground in Townsend: This 77-site park spent about $10,000 this year adding new playground equipment and re-landscaping the area around the park’s bathhouse. Other upgrades during the past two years include remodeling the bathhouse and adding deluxe supersites to better accommodate campers with big rigs.
Caney Creek RV Resort in Harriman: This park has spent $200,000 in 20 new deluxe campsites in their own section, boosting the park to 178 sites. Each new campsite has cement pads and 50 amp electrical service.
Deer Run RV Resort in Crossville: This 200-acre resort expects to invest about $45,000 in improvements this year. Major projects include re-surfacing the resort’s swimming pool and tennis courts; installing new wood flooring in its park model cabin rentals; expanding the park’s Wi-Fi service; upgrading electrical service in several areas of the park and adding another pavilion to the park’s chapel.
Misty River Cabins & RV Resort LLC in Wallard: This park has recently invested $15,000 in various upgrades, including a new concession stand with barbecued food and ice cream. The park also improved its Wi-Fi system and added safety improvements for its pool and hot tub.
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 the National Operations & Economic Survey of RV Parks & Campgrounds, which was sponsored by the ARVC Foundation and conducted 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 off on projects until later this year until they get a better sense of where the economy is going and how their business is doing.
For additional commentary, statistics and sources on the latest camping trends in campgrounds and RV resorts or for leads on parks in your news coverage area that are making improvements this year, please contact Linda Profaizer at the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds at (303) 681-0401 and John Westenberger at the Tennessee Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds at (931) 487-9871.