Investors Make New KOA ‘Destination Campground’
When a small group of investors came together to build a campground on property in Yankton, S.D., owned by the National Field Archery Association (NFAA), they decided to make it a first-class facility.
“The group of us decided that, if we were going to do it, we were going to do it nice,” said Dale James, one of the investors. “There are going to be a lot of activities — way more than most campgrounds. You won’t just go to camp there.”
The owners anticipate that the Yankton/Missouri River KOA, located at 807 Bill Baggs Road, will quietly open by the end of this week. A more official opening will occur in mid-August when a couple of archery tournaments will bring an influx of people to the area.
It will have 90 campsites, including pads for campers, four small cabins and six lodges.
The 20-acre site will also include facilities for basketball, sand volleyball, croquet, badminton, miniature golf and horseshoes. Additionally, it will have playground equipment, a swimming pool with a slide, a recreational area for dogs and a jumping pillow that can hold approximately 75 people at once.
Bruce Cull, president of the NFAA, which is an investor in the development, and James could be found bouncing around on the large jumping pillow during a recent muggy afternoon.
“Talk about a cardio exercise!” Cull said as he hopped off the pillow. “I was on there for a minute, and I’m breathing harder than if I had run for 10 miles. It’s crazy.”
Cull said the idea was to make the KOA facility a “destination campground.”
“It’s such a cool project,” he said. “All the things we’re going to have for campers is incredible. We’ve got pretty much everything to make it a real destination.”
In addition to the previously-mentioned amenities, Cull points out that a building at the site will house showers, bathrooms, a convenience store, an arcade room and a video lottery area. A pavilion will also be used to hold activities.
On the NFAA grounds adjacent to the campground, there are four 28-target field archery courses, a trap range, a tennis court, and a pond for fishing.
The project will represent an investment of more than $2 million, Cull said.
“The whole idea is to bring more people to town,” he stated.
James added, “Look at the money these campers are going to spend in town. They’ve got to buy fuel, food and will also spend money on recreational opportunities.”
A manager will live in a lodge on the campground, and it is expected to be open annually from March through December.
Cull believes hunters will be among those who use it during the traditional camping off-season.
“The operation is set up so it can run in harsh winters,” Cull said. “The intent is to be open as long as we can profitably do so. The bottom line right now is to keep our heads above water financially. We’ve got a big investment here.”