Manitoba RV Park a Community Treasure

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June 10, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

At first sight, Champagne's RV Park in Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba, appears to be like any other campsite, but a closer look reveals a true community treasure.
It's a forest, a walking trail and a make-belief haven, the Lac du Bonnet Leader reported.

Home to the traveler, the park has brought in campers from as far away as Berlin, Holland, England and Paris, but it's just as much of a gem to those close by.

"We used to do a lot of fundraisers and skits every August," Irene Champagne explained. Now the park serves as the perfect venue for Halloween themed adventures, which the Champagnes organize to help different organizations fundraise each year. Birthday parties and school groups have also made good use of the facility.

"We've done a lot of travelling ourselves and we like to take bits and pieces of what we see and bring them home."

The forest is divided by 12 trails, each decorated with a different theme. It was a creative and fun project Dennis and Irene worked on with their grandchildren.

"Every trail is named after the grandkids," Champagne said.

Treasure Island features a pirate ship and hidden treasure and across the way, high up is a tree house in a jungle scene. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the old classic nursery rhymes as they spot "Rock-a-bye-baby" in a tree or find the cow jumping over the moon.

The most intriguing feature of the forest is the extensive village trail, which weaves in and out between small buildings, each furnished with detail according to its purpose.

The "Champagne Store" boasts of antique goods and groceries.

"I leave a few pennies here for the kids so they can get a bubblegum," Irene said pointing to the bubblegum machine. When families tour through the village, kids can take a toy from the store home with them.

Tiny desks furnish the schoolhouse and names are scribbled across the chalkboard. Just down the trail stands the "Little Church in the Wildwood" complete with steeple, pews and preacher.

"We had a couple in town who came and got their wedding pictures here," Champagne told the Leader.

In the farmhouse, pies are in the oven, a kettle sits on the stove, and the chinaware is ready for use. Saddles and tack hang in the barn and an egg or two can be spotted under the hens.

"Everybody loves it, the seniors too," Champagne said of the furnishings.

Behind the door of the "Doll House" 200 porcelain dolls are arranged with care.

"We travel lots, all over the world, and I buy a doll everywhere I go," Champagne explains, adding that each has a name.

At the end of the trail stands a motor bike outside "Mel's Diner", a '50s diner designed with an Elvis theme. Poodle skirt girls sit at the table with milkshakes and records hang on the walls, while Elvis stands by the door to welcome visitors with his motion censored singing shoes.

"It's a little piece of paradise out here; it's so quiet," Champagne said, explaining that the trails get even more beautiful when the flowers come out.

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