Northeast States Report on End of Season
The Northeast Campground Association (NCA) published its “Around the States” report in its November issue of Northeast In-Sites. Here are highlights from that report:
CONNECTICUT – Peter Brown, president of the Connecticut Campground Owners Association Inc. (CCOA), reported on progress at a number of member campgrounds. River Bend Campground in Oneco purchased a former school classroom for a temporary office after a fire in the spring. A new building was built where the original office was located with a full second floor for recreation and meetings. Hemlock Hill Camp-Resort in Litchfield built a new office and store. Countryside RV Park in Griswold built an addition to its office and added a recreation center. Strawberry Park in Preston has added property as an overflow area on busy weekends. Odetah Campground in Bozrah installed yurts. A new bathroom/laundry built went up at Lone Oak Campsites in East Canaan. Sterling Park in Sterling added new campsites. Aces High RV Park in East Lyme added cabins.
MAINE – “Members are happy with what could only be referred to as a flat ’08, which comes after a great ’07, so very few are complaining loudly,” reported Rick Abare, executive director of the Maine Campground Owners Association (MECOA). Big rig traffic was down but most members saw an increase in tents and pop-ups, he said. “I heard from several owners that the smaller the rig, the more the customer spends in the store,” he added. A positive trend was fewer but longer stays. Because of the state’s budget deficit, the state legislature is again considering a proposal to raise the state lodging tax from 7% to 10%. Maine is the only state that charges a lodging tax on a campsite as well as an excise tax or property tax on the unit. MECOA is working on the lodging tax on stays of greater than 30 days, which is a big issue for the parks that have seasonal campers. MECOA will roll out a “Maine Camper Rewards Card” with its 2009 Camping Guide.
MARYLAND – Seasonal and long-term camping was “hot” in 2009 and overnight camping was a little less predictable but overall, most members of the Maryland Association of Campgrounds (MAC) had a good season, reported Deb Carter, MAC executive director. MAC continues to work closely with the state’s tourism officials. Pelland Advertising added a PDF of MAC’s directory to the website during the year.
MASSACHUSETTS – “Most of the campgrounds reported a pretty good season, despite the high gas prices, and the Cape Cod region seemed to have a great season, with most parks full or close to full most of the summer,” reported Jack and Paula Carroll, executive directors of the Massachusetts Association of Campground Owners (MACO). The association continues to work with the Department of Environmental Protection to educate it on how RV holding tanks and seasonal campgrounds operate. MACO members also spent 17 days handing out brochures and selling raffle tickets at the BigE in Springfield, Mass., in September. “We got a great response from many people who are both campers now or plan to be campers next year,” the Carrolls said.
NEW HAMPSHIRE – The New Hampshire Campground Owners Association (NeHaCa) welcomed four new members in 2008, including the White Mountain National Forest, encompassing 22 campgrounds. Every NeHaCa member campground was visited over the summer as part of the association’s annual inspection program. NeHaCa also continues to work through the New Hampshire Department of Tourism by participating in a matching grant program for marketing the state and its campgrounds. The association has retained an outside consultant to help evaluate its current marketing tools, including the planned launch of a new website early in 2009. As of October, NeHaCa distributed more than 210,000 New Hampshire Loves Campers Guides.
NEW JEYSEY – Ninety-four people attended the annual fall tour on Sept. 24 in Cape May County, reported Jay and Marji Otto, executive directors of the New Jersey Campground Owners Association. At the annual meeting, the following people were re-elected to two-year terms on the NJCOA board: Judy LaPorta, Little Oaks Campground; Clayton Taylor, Camp Taylor Campground; George Yaple, Panther Lake Camping Resort, Andover; Dave Benn, Pomona Campground, Pomona; and Annie D’Ambrosa, Pine Cone Resort, Freehold. Re-elected as officers were LaPorta, president; Jay Sporl, vice president; Taylor, treasurer; and Joann Guglielmelli, secretary. Following a protracted dispute with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), the New Jersey association is working on the legislation that would take away the DCA authority over recreational park trailers sited in campgrounds. NJCOA also is trying to form a coalition with other businesses to work out some relief for the state’s new ruling on cesspools. All cesspools in the stage must be discontinued within five years and an action plan submitted in two years, according to the Department of Environmental Protection. NJCOA is part of a consortium of four-states to reduce printing costs for its annual guidebooks. The 2009 Mid-Atlantic Conference will be held March 2-3 at Dover Downs in Dover, Del.
NEW YORK – “Most of the campground owners seem satisfied with what 2008 has provided,” said Donald G. Bennett Jr., executive administrator for Campground Owners of New York (CONY). With all the uncertainty in the U.S. economy, Bennett said campground owners “must position our industry to make the public aware of what a great value our parks offer.” The association welcomed 10 new member campgrounds in 2008, Bennett added. CONY held its 45th annual convention Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 in Rochester, N.Y. (See WCM story on this event in website archives for Dec. 4.)
PENNSYLVANIA – The Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA) worked with Jan Keen to host the September NCA Great Escape at Keen Lake Resort in Waymart, Pa. PCOA also launched its cabin website to promote cabin rentals in the state. The website was designed in a similar format to the pacamping.com website, but with rental units rather than campsites. A brochure also will be developed and marketed to consumers the first of the year. PCOA held its 45th annual convention and trade show Dec. 8-10 in Grantville, Pa. (See WCM story for this event in website archives for Dec. 15.)
VERMONT – The Vermont Campground Association (VCA) will produce and distribute 200,000 copies of its Guidebook for 2009. Copies of the Guidebook as well as brochures from at least 25 member campgrounds and Vermont state parks will be distributed at seven RV shows in spring 2009, reported Joyce Morse, VCA director. VCA will be involved in the Tampa SuperShow with NCA. VCA also has retained several distributors to pass out the Guidebook at shows in the U.S. and Canada that it does not attend. VCA also is updating its website. The association conducted 10 local meetings over the summer at centrally located campgrounds to network among its members.