Wisconsin Parks Report Major Investments
Several campgrounds across Wisconsin have invested in new park model cabin accommodations, supersize inflatable water toys and other improvements in preparation for a busy summer camping season, according to a news release.
“I need two Julys,” said Rose Schaper, co-owner of Lost Falls Campground, a 40-site campground with seven log cabins in Black River Falls. She said many of her summer weekends have been booked for months.
“Our Wisconsin people don’t wait,” she said. “They’re busy making reservations in January and February. Most of our family reunions book a year in advance.”
Lori Severson, executive director of the Wisconsin Campground Owners Association (WACO), said most of her association’s members expect their parks to be even busier this summer than they were last summer. “Most parks are reporting that their reservations are running ahead of last year’s figures,” she said.
The campground business has already proven itself to be the most resilient segment of the travel and tourism business, and many parks have been investing in park model cabins and other accommodations in an effort to further expand their business base beyond tents and RV campers.
Numerous parks have recently added rental accommodations in preparation for the upcoming camping season, Severson said, including Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts in Fremont and the Wisconsin Dells, Holiday Shores Camp Resort, also in The Dells, as well as Vista Royalle Campground in Bancroft, Smokey Hollow Campground in Lodi, Green Lake Campground in Green Lake and Pride of America RV Resort in Pardeeville.
Wisconsin campgrounds are also investing in a variety of other improvements, which range from upgrading electrical and Wi-Fi service to remodeling bathhouses, laundry facilities and camp stores. Some parks have also invested in large inflatable water toys. Here’s a sampling of the types of improvements several Wisconsin park operators have made in preparation for this year’s camping season:
- Arrowhead Resort Campground in the Wisconsin Dells: This Equity LifeStyle Properties park has made several improvements this year, including installing new carpeting on the primary areas of its miniature golf course and adding ornamental steel fencing around its pool. The park has also made various improvements to its hay wagon walking trail.
- Door County Camping Retreat in Egg Harbor: The latest improvements at this park include remodeling its main bathhouse at a cost of $37,000. The park also plans to renovate a second bathhouse at a cost of $42,000. Other improvements including installing a “solar attic” pool heating system, which also cools the attic above the park’s office and game room, thus reducing air conditioning expenses during the summertime. The campground has also extended Wi-Fi coverage throughout the park.
- Hixton/Alma Center KOA in Alma Center: This park has made several improvements this year, which include lengthening some of its back-in campsites, replacing existing water lines and creating two campsites for winter use.
- Lynn Ann’s Campground in St. Germain: Numerous improvements have been made at this park, including retiling the shower houses, and adding a dog park and dog waste stations throughout the campground. The park is also upgrading its laundry facility and expanding some of its sites to accommodate larger rigs. The park has also purchased three new pedal carts, a new lake playground toy and new bikes, which guests can use on a nearby bike trail.
- Pineland Camping Park in Arkdale: This park just installed PineZilla, the world’s largest inflatable waterslide, which stands over four stories tall and features a 175-foot-long slide with a 45-degree descent at the drop zone.
- Wilderness Campground in Montello: This park has invested roughly $250,000 in improvements during the past year, which include a jumping pillow and skateboard park as well as large inflatable aquatic toys in the park’s swimming lake. The park has also renovated its main office and store, which now has a full snack bar.
- Wisconsin Dells KOA in the Wisconsin Dells: This park has just completed a three-year effort to transform its original restroom and shower building into a much needed lounge, complete with a gas fireplace and 55-inch flat screen TV. “We’re ready for those Packer games come fall,” said park owner Jill Brennan. “It’s a huge relief knowing we have a back-up plan for small groups should the weather deteriorate during their stay with us.” Other park improvements, based on guest feedback, include building a new, 24-hour laundry facility, which includes its own seating area with a 22-inch flat screen TV. “We’ve put special emphasis on making the laundry an inviting place to be since the time spent in there is still part of the vacation,” Brennan said. The new lounge facility and laundry areas both have radiant floor heating as well as air-conditioning.
- Wisconsin Riverside Resort in Spring Green: Terry and Suzanne Shifflet have invested more than $1.2 million in improvements in this park since they purchased the property in 2006. Recent improvements include the addition of 28 new RV sites, 10 new family tent sites, two new cabins, new restroom and laundry facilities as well as a swimming pool and splash pad.