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Owners: N.Y. Campground's Demise is Likely

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July 30, 2012 by   - () Leave a Comment

Family atmosphere stressed on homepage of Mt. Kenyon Campground's website.

Keith Rand and Tina Fitzgerald know their customers have cleared some hurdles to find them.

"We’re just about the best-kept secret around here,” said Fitzgerald, speaking July 24 at Mt. Kenyon Campground near Lake Lucerne, N.Y., where just five of the 80 campsites had tents or trailers on them, the Post Star, Glens Falls, reported.

Fitzgerald and Rand said the lack of campers is partly a result of the campground’s strategy of following family friendly rules.

“We sacrifice a whole lot of business because we cater to couples and families only,” Tina Fitzgerald said.

Those rules are relaxed only during the Americade motorcycle rally in Lake George, and even then, the campground refuses entry to motorcycles with loud exhausts, she said.

Rand, who said the campground isn’t profitable these days, also blamed the weak economy and rising summer temperatures for the falloff in business over the past decade.

“I just think the people who are interested in tent camping with a family as a more affordable way of getting out, they can’t even afford to do that anymore,” Rand said. “Anybody who does have the money to do it is buying big trailers.”

The changing market is one reason the longtime proprietors have decided to put the 278-acre property up for sale. Another is they both want to take some time to enjoy life, rather than focusing on helping others relax.

"We’re pushing 60,” said Tina, whose family owned the Lake Luzerne Market during her childhood, where she helped out a lot.

“One of my big goals in life is to spend a summer and find out what it’s like to enjoy a beach,” she said. “I haven’t had a summer off since I was 11.”

The campsite has been on the market since March, Fitzgerald said. The initial asking price was $3.2 million, but it has been reduced to $1.9 million, Rand said.

Keith said he doesn’t think the next owners will try to run a campground, but the land itself has potential — for someone with the right capital.

“There’s nothing money won’t fix,” he said, adding the mountainside site would be a good location for condominiums or similar development.

In the meantime, Rand and Fitzgerald are working to keep campers happy, and if there’s a turnaround in the camping business, that would be OK, too, they said.

Rand was in his early teens when his parents broke ground on the business in 1967, after having bought the property while living in Florida. Back then, the parcel was all trees, so the family lived for a time in South Shaftsbury, Vt., before building a home on the Mt. Kenyon site.

Today, the property has a recreation/gaming pavilion, laundry, large swimming pool — with the original slide — and other features.

Tina runs the front-office side of the business.

“I’m the people person,” she said.

Rand keeps busy with the daily operation of the campground and is contemplating plans to expand the business’s free Wi-Fi service to more of the campsites, as well as upgrade electrical service throughout.

“I can stand anywhere in the campground and find something to do,” Rand said.

The couple pride themselves on running a quiet, relaxing campground with easy access to attractions in Lake George and Lake Luzerne.

“The people who do come here absolutely love it here, and they come back again and again,” Fitzgerald said. Specifically, the campground’s bathrooms get high marks for cleanliness and amenities, she said.

The business is also friendly to ATV riders, with access to nearby trail systems from its trailhead.

 

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