Washington Campgrounds Eye Busy Season
For outdoors enthusiasts, the Silver Cove RV Park in southwest Washington is close enough for a day trip but secluded enough for deer to come right into campsites to graze.
The 2-year-old park lies on 53 acres along the Silver Lake shoreline on Hall Road, with 160 year-round and part-time RV spots available. An osprey nest sits atop one of the tall trees in the middle of the park, the lake is full of bass and other fish and a recreation center is coming soon, according to the Longview (Wash.) Daily News.
For travelers with an RV or a trailer, Silver Cove a good time at a reasonable price, park officials say.
“This is a great getaway spot where they can go fishing and do all sorts of outdoor activities,” said Glenda Remillard, Silver Cove’s office manager.
“A lot of our guests are local.”
Last year, $4 gas prices hindered long-distance recreational travel. This year, the stagnant economy is forcing people to think twice about where they spend their money on warm weather trips.
Both economic factors have led vacationers to think local, and area campground operators are reaping the benefits.
“This is the first time we ever filled this thing for the Fourth” of July, said Nancy Sprague, owner of Cauffman Wildwood Campgrounds in Long Beach.
“It’s not expensive to camp, and gas prices are reasonable now,” she added.
From Mount St. Helens to the coast, the great outdoors is a popular destination for Pacific Northwest families to find fish to catch, campfires to build and waterways to paddle. And vacationers across the country are spending more to enjoy it.
Nationwide, sales of camping equipment rose 3.2% in 2008, and sales of fishing and hunting gear each went up 10%, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. The group expects outdoor-equipment sales to rise again this year.
At the Cauffman Wildwood Campgrounds, the focus is on family fun for visitors, Sprague said. The campground has 25 tent sites, 28 RV sites and a catch-and-release lake at its heart, she said. The beach is less than a mile away, and August is a big month for fishing, Sprague said.
“People are coming to the beach from Seattle and Portland because it’s not as far to drive,” Sprague said.
The Columbia River beach is a big attraction for the Skamokawa Vista Park in Wahkiakum County, where 80% of the business comes from within a two-hour drive, manager Steve McClain said.
The 40-acre park also saw an influx of European travelers last year who were heading to Mount St. Helens, McClain said. The weakening U.S. dollar could encourage further international tourism to Southwest Washington, he said.
The weekends will always be busy, but the traffic on the weekdays this season is up in the air, McClain said.
“We had a good season last year, despite the gas prices,” McClain said.