Michigan Campground Serves Local Community Well
Gladstone Bay Campground in Gladstone, Mich., has been hopping with campers so far this summer, say campground officials. It's not only a popular destination for tourists, but also for locals who regularly rent a campsite each summer.
Friends William Brunette, Escanaba, and Leonard Thorsen, Rapid River, said they've been coming to the city-owned campground located on Little Bay de Noc in Michigan's Upper Peninsula for years, and often stay all summer, according to the Escanaba Daily Press.
"I like this campground because it's by the lake (Michigan), and it's just really nice," said Brunette. "I used to do a lot of fishing around here, too. I usually stay here for three months."
Thorsen said he usually camps out for two months and likes that he can feel like he's on vacation while still being close to home.
"I'm close to home, so I can keep the place up," he said. "I like meeting the people who come here. (Me and Brunette) have always camped here together."
Jay Pepin, Gladstone Bay campground manager, said the campground has been quite successful this summer.
"We're doing very well this year, considerably, over last year," he said. "We have a full house here every weekend, and many are two-day campers. It's been quite busy during the week here, too."
Pepin said the campground is usually at around 70% capacity during the week and is full during weekends.
The economy may have something to do with the success of area campgrounds and parks such as Gladstone Bay. Nationwide, people are taking advantage of recreational opportunities close to home, which offer a variety of activities at a less expensive price.
"It seems that a large number of locals have become our residents here, whether it's because they don't want to travel far, or they can't afford to travel far," said Pepin.
The incoming revenue has allowed for some upgrades at the campground, which in turn has attracted more customers.
Upgrading the electrical boxes to 50 amps serves customers with large motorhomes and campers. Campers now also have access to cable TV and a wireless Internet hotspot.
The campground's success also benefits the local economy, since it attracts tourists to the area who may eat and shop in town during their stay.
"I think the campground goes hand-in-hand with the area's desire to attract people to the beauty of the area," said Pepin.