Around the USA Over This Holiday Weekend
Editor's Note: Following are brief comments from RV park and campgrounds sources from around the U.S. reporting on the just-concluded Memorial Day weekend.
At the Grand Island KOA campground in Nebraska, Corie Lubash spent time with family during the holiday weekend.
"And so we come out here and grill and have a good time soaking our feet in the pool," Lubash told KOLN-TV, Lincoln.
For them, Memorial Day Weekend is an important one, and something they look forward to each year.
For campground owners Wayne and Sue Bates, the holiday weekend meant making sure campers are happy.
"They're planning this a month ahead of time or better," said Wayne Bates.
Bates says the majority of their business consist of walk-ins during the camping season.
"But for this weekend people will try to make that reservation or call ahead," said Bates.
The only concern they have is the weather.
"We just hope the weather clears up a bit and gas prices go down a bit. And we'll have a fun season," Bates said.
In Michigan, it didn’t matter that the weekend started off cool. The Holland State Park campground was full anyway, because if tradition is to welcome in summer on Memorial Day weekend with a quick camping trip, then it must be done, the Holland Sentinel reported.
One large group of seven local families — the Nashes, Skaags, Schuurs, Cooks, Lloyds, Maats and Greshaws — camp together about four or five times every year. The large brood, with a total of 19 children, ages 4 months to 17 years, and one on the way, always visits state parks. They like Holland because it’s close to home in case something was forgotten.
The group, some relations, some friends, cluster together in a large area of the park, they like the time together. Seriousness was left at home. They focused on laughing and relaxing while the children spent all day playing on the playgrounds, riding bikes and working on their talent show. Saturday was also pot luck dinner night.
Around a curve, a small family from Wanatah, Ind., was camping. Tom and Carolyn Lewis first visited Holland about 15 years ago for their anniversary, having no idea what the area offered. They’ve been back several times, usually to camp at the state park. Last year, they remember it being so hot the water was steaming at the beach.
Every year they kick off summer with a three-day camping trip on Memorial Day weekend. Camping was something both did with their parents and continued with their children.
“You just got to get out,” Tom Lewis said.
“And it’s easier to camp when you have three days instead of two,” Carolyn Lewis said, adding places in Michigan are usually their destination. “We generally don’t go far. We live so close to Michigan. It’s so pretty.”
The couple came with one grown son and two granddaughters, ages 1 and 3, for the weekend. They got into Holland late Friday, with enough time to set up beds in their pop-up camper and get some sleep.
No Quake Damage at Campground
In California, the Red Bluff Daily News reported it was business as usual for campgrounds near the epicenter of Thursday night's earthquake, according to Almanor Ranger District Recreation Officer Michelle Ahearn.
"District employees checked the campground facilities in the area of the earthquake, and there were no signs of damage," said Ahearn. The campgrounds have not been affected by the earthquake, she added.
In New York, every last state park on Long Island was ready to go after Superstorm Sandy.
State park officials say they worried the parks would not be ready by Memorial Day, but hard work by state parks workers and contractors has paid off, News 12, Woodbury, reported.
Officials say workers still need to dispose of some of the 3,000 tons of garbage and debris that washed up on the beaches.
Officials say the last major project to be completed will be building a bridge on the running trails at Sunken Meadow State Park by fall to replace a natural bridge destroyed by Sandy.
In Vermont, camping reservations at Vermont’s 52 state parks poured in for the Memorial Day Weekend, despite rain in the forecast. Last year broke a 20-year record with more than 900,000 visits to the parks all year.
State Parks Director Craig Whipple says the State Park website has added some new bells and whistles to entice even more campers this year.
"We’ve got menu ideas, we’ve got ideas for activities, we’ve got checklists for how to plan, the gear to bring camping, and we’ve also done seven really fun videos," Whipple said.
The website includes a scavenger hunt game, with free passes as prizes. Libraries also lend out passes. Whipple says camping hit a peak of popularity in the 1970s and ‘80s, and it’s making a comeback, especially when the economy takes a dive, or when there’s a tragedy.
"People are attracted to places like public parks when something awful happens," said Whipple. "whether it’s to them personally or to our community or our country."
Whipple says more people also flock to state parks when the sun shines. Last year’s weekend weather, he says, was usually great, and he’s hoping for a repeat forecast this year.
In North Carolina, campers at the Charlotte Motor Speedway discovered a new service this month: a new free All & Snuggle Laundry Pit Stop outside of turn No. 1 in the Tim Flock Campground.
While fans are washing their clothes, they can visit the family entertainment zone, which includes corn hole games for adults, games for kids, watch movies and eat popcorn.
"A lot of fans come in kind of skeptical, like what's the catch," Jody Bennett, the senior vice president for Aquarius Sports and Entertainment, said in a release. "They can't believe it's really free. But after we show them around and explain that it really, truly is a free service courtesy of All, Snuggle and Target, they love it."
The laundry mat has been open for six hours a day since the track's "10 Greatest Days of Racing" began last week.
The laundry mat provides free wash, dry, fold and delivery services. They've also been giving away coupons and Snuggle mini teddy bears and Snuggle products.
"It's been a lot of fun," Bennett said in release. "And we haven't even lost a sock."
In Colorado, Memorial Day campers did not have the luxury of potable water at 10 Turquoise Lake Recreation Area campsites near Leadville due to frozen water lines, the Pueblo Chieftain reported.
The San Isabel National Forest campgrounds have experienced continued cold nights, keeping both the lake and water lines frozen. Campers were charged a reduced rate due to lack of water.
Campers brought their own water for drinking, washing and dousing campfires.
In Minnesota, the high gas prices might actually help Minnesota tourism.
According to a spokesperson from Explore Minnesota high gas prices won't stop people from taking a summer trip, it just might mean they'll stay closer to home, and spend closer to home, KSTP-TV, Minneapolis-St. Paul reported.
That's good news for the state tourism industry. In a pre-season survey, 38 percent of state hotels, campgrounds and resorts expect to see higher occupancy levels this summer.
"Historically, we haven't really seen a dip in travel due to gas prices. I think it actually encourages staycations, and our state has a lot of close-to-home getaways," Alyssa Ebel with Explore Minnesota said.
Tourism is a $11.9 billion industry for the state.
On a sad note, elsewhere in Minnesota, divers found a body matching the description of a 2-year-old girl who disappeared from a nearby campground two days earlier, Elk River police said Sunday (May 26).
The body, which has been taken to the Hennepin County medical examiner's office for official identification, matches the description of Daisy Jo Holland, police Chief Bradley Rolfe said at a news conference. He added that the active search for Daisy is now over, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reported.
The body was found in a river, several hundred yards downstream from where Daisy vanished, Rolfe said.
"At this time, there is no evidence of foul play," Rolfe said.
Daisy, who would have turned 3 on Monday, was last seen Friday evening near a campsite at Wapiti Park Campground. She was playing with other children while her mother and two other adults set up camp. Suddenly, she was gone.
Search dogs on Saturday tracked her scent to the edge of the river. But they lost it at an area where the swift water gets deep fast and visibility only extends about a foot below the surface.
Authorities organized search parties Saturday to scour fields and forests nearby. When hundreds of volunteers showed up, police eventually said they had enough people.