New York Campground Joins KOA Family
Wildwood Lake Campground near Medina, N.Y., has taken a major step forward with the announcement it has become part of a national franchise.
On Sept. 12, more than 100 campers, community members and local dignitaries joined with campground owners Rob and Rachel Kaiser and personnel from Kampground of America Inc.'s (KOA) corporate office in Billings, Mont., to celebrate the campground's debut as Medina/Wildwood Lake KOA, according to the Medina Daily News.
KOA has 453 campgrounds in the United States and Canada, said Louise Everett, senior business development consultant with the company.
"To join KOA, a campground must meet certain quality standards," Everett said.
She explained each member has his own territory, so as not to infringe on any other KOA member. "It makes good business sense for the operators," she said.
"KOA inspects its member camps each year to make sure they run a quality camp, and Rob and Rachel certainly do," Everett said. "They are very good operators. They have made a lot of improvements since they took over in November 2003. All the campers I talked to seem to love them."
All employees at a KOA campground wear yellow shirts, Everett said. That way if the campers need something they know immediately who to go to.
In two weeks, the Kaisers will travel to Billings for two weeks' training at KOA University, Everett said.
The opening ceremony featured tours, a ribbon cutting and remarks by state Sen. George Maziarz, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Medina Mayor Adam Tabelski, interim Orleans County Chamber Director Kevin Lake, Everett and Donald Bennett Jr., executive director of Campgrounds of Owners New York (CONY).
Maziarz called KOA the "Gold Standard of campgrounds."
Hawley said his family did a lot of camping when he was growing up, and having a KOA designation is something every campground owner aspires to.
"It's wonderful for Orleans County, and one of few in western New York," Hawley said.
While Wildwood is not in the village of Medina, it has a Medina address and the village is proud to have that association with the campground, Tabelski said.
Lake said the Chamber is making a strong push on marketing and tourism, and several years ago when he was out marketing, he stumbled on Wildwood Campground. He had no idea it was there, he said.
"I've come back to the campground several times since, and each time noticed a step up," Lake said.
Bennett said he was at the campground two years ago, and said the Kaisers have made tremendous dramatic changes since then.
Don Provorse of North Tonawanda has been a seasonal camper at Wildwood for 30 years.
"There have been a lot of changes since Rob and Rachel took over," Provorse said. "I come here because it's beautiful and the sites are bigger."
In addition to basic cleanup, the Kaisers have added cabins and other amenities. This year alone saw completion of a $150,000 swimming pool, three new cabins with bathrooms on the creek and a new 2010 rental trailer on the lake.
The campground's 135 acres have sites for 186 seasonal campers, more than 100 weekend sites, full-service cabins, "bare bones" cabins and RV sites which are primitive or with water, sewer and power. Wireless Internet service is also available in the park.
Fishing, swimming, boat rentals and planned activities are among the features.
The Kaisers said their goal is just to keep expanding and improving.
The campground is open until Oct. 15.