28 - February 2018 Woodall’s Campground Management More Campgrounds Exploring GREEN Initiatives to Preserve Area Environments, Beautify Parks OceanLakes’I-Carestationsofferawayforgueststohelpkeepthecampground looking nice, while also contributing to the campground’s green initiatives. Campingisawayforindividualstoescape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy the natural beauty of the great outdoors. From beaches to forests, camp- grounds and RV parks are surrounded by unique natural settings that help attract people to the area. Maintaining that natural beauty is key for any campground owner if they want to pre- serve their business moving forward. For manycampgroundownersthatmeansincor- porating green programs into their business model so that trash is disposed of properly, the park runs as efficiently as possible and saving natural resources in the area. In 2009, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds launched its “certi- fiedgreen”initiativetoencourageparkstofind ways to run greener operations. There are currently 47 parks taking part in the program. “Any business has a responsibility and obligation to incorporate green programs,” said Renee Scialdo-Shevat, owner of the Herkimer Diamond Kampgrounds of Amer- ica (KOA) Resort in Herkimer, N.Y. “Whether they are experimental or routine. It can be as small as using green-certified products. It is just important that we each give a little.” Herkimer KOA is billed as the “Edutain- ment KOA,” according to Shevat, with six lodges and a treehouse designed to give guests a great place to stay while also educating them on various science themes. There are three solar-powered lodges, an Astronomy Lodge, a mining-themed treehouse, a robotics-themed lodge with two drones and a new Windmill Lodge that opened in August. “The Windmill Lodge sleeps eight and uses a small wind turbine to produce usable energy that powers everything in the cabin,” said Shevat. “We have a meter on the build- ing that shows the guest how the lodge is converting wind energy into something that we can use. It really embeds them in the idea of being green, so they understand how it is used.” Shevat said that while Millennials continue to drive interest in being more ecofriendly, every cohort has really started becoming more aware of how things are impacting the environment around them. “Guests want something that is off the grid,butalsoabletopamperthemwithgreen products,” said Shevat. “As interest grows I think you will begin to see more campground owners doing these types of things.” At Cooperstown Beaver Valley Cabins & Campsites in Milford, N.Y., Juli and Dwaine Sharratt have been working since 1988 to buildgreenpracticesintotheirbusiness.The Sharratts have a recycling-and-compost area that guests can take advantage of and features100%post-consumerrecycledtoilet paper in their bathrooms and LED lightbulbs, among many of the other smaller things they do to make sure they are taking care of the environment around the campground. Sitting on 300 acres, with 60 campsites and 30 cabins, the campground’s electricity is supplied by Niagara Falls, which is about a four-hour drive from the campground. A new solar-heatedpoolandsolarpre-heatedwater systematitsbathhousehasallowedthepark to save big on the amount of oil it purchases annually for their oil furnace. “Itpre-heatsthewaterbeforeitgetstothe oil furnace, meaning the oil furnace doesn’t havetokickonasmuch,”saidJuli.“Thispast year we reduced the amount of oil we purchased from 250 gallons to 125 gallons.” On top of that, the campground’s land- scaping is kept natural and there are no chemicals used on the campground’s base- ball fields. “We are looking at investing in small windmills for the future,” said Juli. “It would help us cut back on the amount of electricity we are using.” Customers are taking notice and like the optionsthatareavailableatthecampground, according to Juli. “We advertise the bath house and we get comments all the time from guests who say they enjoy being able to recycle or compost material,” she said. At mega-resort Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., green programs make practical sense as they feature 859 campsites and host thousands of guests every weekend. Dawn Bryant, communications specialist with Ocean Lakes, said that the campground launched its “iCare” program in 2009 after being prompted by a letter from longtime guests. “We took a look at beach litter, cigarette butts and dog waste, and knew we could be more proactive,” said Bryant. “Really it was great timing because county officials were alsobeginningtotalkaboutwaysbusinesses can cut waste.” With more than a mile of beachfront and more than 300 acres, Bryant said there were lots of areas to tackle. “We now have seven recycling stations and28doggiedoostations,wherecustomers can come and get dog waste bags,” said Bryant. Each year Ocean Lakes recycles 30 to 35 pounds of cigarette butts, which are then used by a company to make park benches and other products. Obviously in Myrtle Beach guests are spending a lot of time on the beach, and Bryant said the campground invested in a beach sweeper a few years ago and now AttheHerkimerDiamondKOAaWindmillLodgehelpseducateguestsonthebenefitsofwindpower. HerkimerDiamondKOA’sAstronomyLodgeletsguests spend a night under the stars, while remaining inside. Solar power helps heat the pool at Cooperstown Beaver Valley Cabins & Campsites in Milford, N.Y.