Campgrounds and RV parks that cater to Winter Texans in South-Central Texas anticipate a stronger winter season than last year, thanks in part to the Eagle Ford shale oil pipeline project, which has brought scores of construction workers into the area, according to a news release from the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO).
“Last winter was about the best we’ve ever had and we’re going to be about 20% ahead of that this winter, so we’re looking really good,” said Doug Shearer of Parkview Riverside RV Park in Rio Frio.
In addition to seeing the return of their Winter Texan visitors, campgrounds in the Texas Hill Country and other areas of South-Central Texas are filling up with construction workers involved in the Eagle Ford shale oil project, which is boosting campground occupancies during the fall shoulder season, Shearer said.
Other Hill Country campgrounds and RV parks also anticipate a strong winter season, including Hill Country RV Park & Cottage Rentals in New Braunfels. “We have a waiting list for both RV sites and park model rentals,” said Bryan Kastleman, the park’s manager.
Other parks are similarly upbeat.
“We did well last winter, but we’re doing better this winter,” said Teri Blaschke of Hidden Valley RV Park in Von Ormy. “People are making reservations further in advance, so we’re being able to tell sooner what our vacancies will be. I do have spots here and there for travelers, but our long-term sites are already booked.”
Blaschke added that she is putting in eight new campsites for the winter season and they are already reserved.
Further to the north, La Hacienda RV Resort in Austin is already booked solid for the winter season. “We’ve got a waiting list and we’re turning people away for the 2012-2013 winter market,” said park owner Ken Butschek, who added that his year-to-date revenue is up about 15 percent over last year’s figures.
La Hacienda RV Resort has a mix of sites that are owned by RVers as well as elegant park model cottages that are available for rent. The park also has about 30 sites that are available for overnight use.
“We have a loyal group of repeat Winter Texans. But we’re also seeing a lot of people who are trying out our park models,” Butschek said.
Further east, Rayford Crossing RV Resort in Spring and Timber Ridge RV Village in Tomball are already booked for the winter season, said Gwen Craig, who co-owns both parks. She said she has waiting lists for her seasonal sites, although she has kept a few overnight sites available for travelers.
“Every year we’ve outperformed the prior year in occupancy and revenue,” she said, adding that this year is again shaping up to be stronger than last year.
Thousand Trails RV Resort at Lake Conroe is also seeing a strong winter season, fueled both by Winter Texans as well as families from Texas that come to the park on weekends to take part in organized activities and special events.
“We’re seeing younger crowds,” said Terry Munoz, resort manager of the 360-site park. “Even during the winter the locals come out on weekends, so long as we have mild weather. We do a lot of themed weekends and activities.”
Indiana State Police are investigating a man who was found shot to death in a campground in southern Indiana.
Authorities in Greene County were called to a campground just off County road 200 South, near Linton, for an unresponsive man found in a camping trailer.
After further investigation, officers discovered the man had suffered a gunshot wound.
The victim has been identified as 41-year-old Todd Bargman. It’s not known where he is from, but police say his family has been notified.
An autopsy is scheduled for later today in Terre Haute.
From The Herald Journal, Logan:
A Logan man has been arrested in connection with a fire that destroyed his own trailer at an RV park Tuesday (March 20).
Christian Fitting, 40, was booked into the Cache County Jail on Wednesday. Police say he was involved in a fire that destroyed his trailer at Riverside RV Park, at 447 W. 1700 South in Logan, on Tuesday morning.
He was arrested on suspicion of first-degree felony aggravated arson, reckless endangerment, cruelty to animals and intoxication.
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From The Associated Press:
District Judge Steve Verby has reaffirmed his original sentence for a northern Idaho man convicted in a 2008 campground slaying.
Verby resentenced James Matthew Anderson on Monday (March 19), ordering him to serve 10 to 20 years in prison for the shooting death of 30-year-old Elvin “Eli” Holt.
The Bonner County Daily Bee reports the terms are identical to those Anderson received in 2010, when he was first sentenced by Verby in the case. Anderson successfully appealed that sentencing.
During the re-sentencing, Verby said he believed Anderson was remorseful but even if he spent 30 years in prison, he would still be alive while Holt would not. Anderson, who was found guilty of shooting Holt in the head during a dispute at the campground, has said he acted in self-defense.
Top barbecue teams from around the world will be competing for $100,000 in prize money in what’s being billed as the “world’s richest barbecue competition,” the second annual USA Barbecue Championship, part of Smoke on the Water set for Friday and Saturday (March 19-20) in Riverside RV Park in North Little Rock, Ark., according to The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The event will also include Saturday hot-air balloon rides, a carnival with midway and a classic car and motorcycle show. On Saturday, area youngsters ages 6-10 will participate in the EZ Grill Kids’ Que Jr. Championship. Friday’s musical entertainment schedule starts at 6 p.m. with performances by Eden Crow, Crisis and the Blue Meanies.
Saturday, gates open at noon; sample the barbecue 3-4:30 p.m. with the awards ceremony at 5. Saturday’s music schedule starts at noon with Crisis, followed by Mr. Happy, LoCash Cowboys and, headlining at 9 p.m., Colt Ford. Sponsors are Smoke on the Water Productions and the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. The carnival opens at 5 p.m. today (March 17).