Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds

July 16, 2013 by · Comments Off on Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds 


Online voting open until July 29.


From the Indianapolis Star:

The contest is on for America’s favorite water park.

The leader so far: Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Ind.

As of last week, the Southern Indiana park enjoyed a comfortable lead over Schlitterbahn of New Braunfels, Texas, and Noah’s Ark in the Wisconsin Dells.

The online poll by USA Today ( continues all month to determine America’s top 10 water parks. Twenty major waterparks are listed on the online ballot.

The poll has prompted some overt lobbying by the parks. Holiday World is pleading for votes among visitors to its website, asking them to vote and vote often.


From USA Today:

Death Valley is a hot mess.

After a Death Valley National Park employee posted a video of an egg being cooked in the desert sun, the park is now littered with egg shells and cartons from visitors attempting the stunt themselves.

It’s gotten so bad, that Death Valley National Park has made a public plea on their Facebook page asking visitors to stop frying eggs on the ground.

Their Facebook post reads:

“An employee’s posting of frying an egg in a pan in Death Valley was intended to demonstrate how hot it can get here, with the recommendation that if you do this, use a pan or tin foil and properly dispose of the contents. However, the Death Valley NP maintenance crew has been busy cleaning up eggs cracked directly on the sidewalk, including egg cartons and shells strewn across the parking lot.

This is your national park, please put trash in the garbage or recycle bins provided and don’t crack eggs on the sidewalks …”


From National Parks Traveler:

A crack in the Blue Ridge Parkway has led officials to close a 21-mile stretch of the scenic parkway in North Carolina until they can more closely assess the stability of the road.

A notice on the Parkway’s website said the road is “closed from MP 376 at Ox Creek Road to MP 355 at Mount Mitchell State Park. There is some evidence of structural damage near milepost 374.5 and the motor road will be closed until further notice.”


From the Herald News, Klamath Falls:

The Pit River Tribe will hold its annual gathering at Medicine Campground in the Medicine Lake Recreational Area Thursday (July 18) through Sunday. The group will use Medicine Campground and the dispersed recreation area adjacent to Medicine Campground.

Modoc National Forest officials said the special closure for the annual event is provided in federal regulations regarding the privacy of tribal activities for traditional and cultural purposes. All other campgrounds and recreation sites will remain open.


New Zip Line Adjoins Virginia Yogi Bear Park

June 24, 2013 by · Comments Off on New Zip Line Adjoins Virginia Yogi Bear Park 

This zipline attraction wen in next to a Jellystone Park in Virginia.

Tony Higginbotham had been musing about the best way to make use of his land near Luray, Va., for the better part of 30 years before a casual conversation provided the answer.

Higginbotham and his wife, Sharon, have long owned land right next door to the popular Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park campground. Figuring out an attraction to tie into Jellystone had long been on Higginbothom’s mind, when a conversation with campground owner John Rust provided the perfect answer, the Northern Virginia Daily, Strasburg, reported.

“I was talking to the Yogi Bear campground owner, John Rust, and he gave me the idea,” Higginbotham said. “We were actually going to put some four-wheeler tours in here, and he said, ‘Well, why don’t you put a zip line in?’ I didn’t know what a zip line was — I kind of did — but I thought that was a good idea.”

Higginbotham put that good idea into practice, and last spring Bear Mountain’s Mama Bear Zipline was ready for its first customers. Since that opening last year, Higginbotham said he’s seeing more and more people arrive, often first-timers, to try zip lining.

The Jellystone Park provides a link on its website to the Bear Mountain attraction.

“Every month this year we’ve increased volume,” Higginbotham said. “And the more people we run down the mountain, the word of mouth will do a lot. So far, everybody’s just been tickled to death going down it.”

The Mama Bear Zipline actually consists of seven separate zip lines covering a total of about 2,700 feet. The lines get longer as participants progress through the course, ending with a nearly 1,000-foot ride through the forest canopy down to the final platform tower.

Before anyone is allowed to zip line, Bear Mountain’s guides provide instruction and training for all the equipment needed — basically a carabineer, harness, gloves and helmet — and ensure all participants are properly fitted into their gear.

From there, it’s a long, scenic wagon ride nearly straight up a mountain to the first zip line. That’s the training line, where guides demonstrate braking by putting tension on the zip line cable with a gloved hand. Other than braking and demonstrating the ability to pull themselves to the waiting platform if they brake too early, no further technical skills are required of participants.

“It’s pretty much an adrenaline rush, the first couple lines that you go down, and then you start calming down and it’s kind of peaceful once you get started down a line,” Higginbotham said. ”

Lisa Sutton of Lawrenceville, Ga., agreed with that assessment after her trip through the mixed-forest canopy.

“This was the first time, and yeah, I would absolutely do it again,” Sutton said. “It was fun.”

Miami’s Greg Norvesh thought so, too, despite an admitted fear of heights. It was his second zip line experience, but the Mama Bear was quite a bit more involved than his first.

“This was more of a professional zip line — there was a small one I did at a camp, but it was just for little kids, so it wasn’t really anything that big,” Norvesh said. “This was definitely much higher, and obviously as I’ve grown up I’ve sort of developed the fear of heights that I have now. But when I felt locked in, it didn’t bother me at all when I was standing up there.”

Higginbotham said that with the business steadily growing, plans are already in the works to expand the Bear Mountain operation. The company also offers a rock-climbing wall.

“It’s working out real well,” Higginbotham said. “We’ve got some other things we want to put in here, as well, a ropes course with a little zip line. And of course, the big zip line — hopefully next year we can put that in — it’ll be two zip lines side-by-side coming off. It’ll be about a 30-second ride.”

The zip line has been a hit so far, and seems to fit seamlessly into the landscape of mixed forest and farmland it crosses on the Higginbotham’s property.

“It’s all completely green,” Higginbotham said. “You don’t have any power to it, or anything like that. It’s about as green as you can get.”

For more information on Bear Mountain Ziplines, visit the website at or call (540) 743-1733.


Beaver Trails ‘Undaunted’ over Storm Damage

June 5, 2013 by · Comments Off on Beaver Trails ‘Undaunted’ over Storm Damage 

Yogi is waiting to entertain guests at the Jellystone Park near Austin, Minn.

Undaunted by recent storms that have brought lightning strikes, high winds and flooding, the Beaver Trails Jellystone Park near Austin, Minn., is quickly rebuilding several campsites and making other repairs in preparation for Independence Day.

“We are back to normal,” Tammy Westrich, who owns and operates the park along with other members of her family, stated in a news release. “All activities are going on. We just had a customer send us a nice message this week telling us they will be back because we were so accommodating, even in the rain. They had a blast. That brings tears to my eyes because we are still making wonderful memories and gaining new friends here at our park.”

Water from recent storms almost damaged the park’s new cabins by coming up to the crest of the newly built family cabins. Fifteen campsites were demolished. But the campsites have already been rebuilt and efforts are underway to replace a bridge that was washed out in the flood.

Westrich said park owners and staff have been working around the clock to make the necessary repairs with the help of seasonal campers as well as local residents, including family members and friends of employees who work at the park.

This isn’t the first time the Beaver Trails Jellystone has suffered damage and bounced back. Two years ago a fire caused by an electrical short burned down the park’s 8,000-square-foot ranger station, which included Yogi Bear’s house, the campground office and store, a restaurant, a game room, a multipurpose room, a laundry and showers as well as the storage rooms where park operators stored the costumes and other supplies they used for themed weekends and other special events throughout the year.

But the family rebuilt the park with a 9,000-square-foot facility. They also built a separate 2,200-square-foot shower and laundry facility as well as a separate 2,400-square-foot outdoor pavilion, which is built with doors that go up and down so that it can be used during inclement weather. The park also built four new cabins and installed sewer service for 60 existing campsites.

The campground has three man-made ponds and one creek, the latter of which guests often use for swimming and tubing. It also has a jumping pillow, which was installed last year. The park also installed a miniature race-car track, which is drawing miniature car-racing enthusiasts from other cities.

Numerous activities and themed weekends are planned throughout summer and early fall, including a family Olympics weekend June 28 – 30; a Christmas in July weekend July 12 – 14; and a chocolate themed weekend with chocolate pudding wrestling on July 26 to 28. For a complete schedule of upcoming events, visit

About Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts

Launched in 1969, the Jellystone Park system is the second largest chain of campgrounds in the United States, boasting 79 campgrounds with more than 15,000 campsites in 30 states and Canada. Its camp-resorts are among the best campgrounds in the industry with a quality reputation for being fun, friendly, clean and service-oriented parks. Additionally, each Jellystone Park is themed with Yogi Bear elements providing instant recognition and consumer appeal. It is truly a place “Where You Camp With Friends.” Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts are franchised through Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Park River Corp., Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information, visit


‘Staycation’ at Eureka, Mo., Jellystone Park

May 22, 2013 by · Comments Off on ‘Staycation’ at Eureka, Mo., Jellystone Park 

If you are looking for a “staycation,” we have the perfect spot to take the entire family – Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Resort in Eureka, Mo., KTVI-TV, St. Louis, reported.

Kathy Jones and Yogi talked about the great things the resort has to offer all summer long, including this Memorial weekend.

The park is so close, yet it makes you feel like you’re really getting away.

They have cabins, air conditioned tents or you can bring your own. There are RV hookups, a pool, mini golf, video arcade, train rides, activity field, and of course, visits from Yogi.

This weekend looks like a great time.

  • Support our troops by making cards for them and signing a banner to be mailed overseas.
  • Summer Kickoff Pool Party with music with a professional DJ, pool games and a caricaturist will also be on hand so guests can take home their very own cartoon caricature.
  • NEW! Mud pit wars — bring old clothes!
  • Catered buffet followed by music and dancing by the ‘Party Rock Band’
  • Back by popular demand: The Babaloo Show! Everybody loves Babaloo and his special style of interactive entertainment.
  • Lots of games, contests, & crafts all weekend long.

There will be special events and activities all summer long.

S. Dakota Corn Maze Helps Humane Society

October 8, 2012 by · Comments Off on S. Dakota Corn Maze Helps Humane Society 

Many people headed out with their four-legged friends through the corn maze in Brandon, S.D., on Sunday (Oct. 7), KSFY-TV, Sioux Falls, S.D., reported.

The Mutts in the Maze event is helping the shelter animals at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society.

The event is being held at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Brandon.

Some dog owners say they’re glad to raise money for the cause but these corn mazes are sometimes a challenge.

“This is really interesting. The dog loved it but it’s really kind of tricky sometimes trying to find all the signs,” Jeff Dezeeuw said.

It was $8 dollars to get in, and $5 for kids.

S.D. Jellystone Park’s Corn Maze a Big Draw

September 13, 2012 by · Comments Off on S.D. Jellystone Park’s Corn Maze a Big Draw 

Corn maze now open

Business is booming at Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Sioux Falls, S.D., which recently opened its seven-acre corn maze attraction.

While year-to-date occupancies are consistent with last year’s figures, park revenues are up close to 15 percent, campground co-owner Bruce Aljets stated in a news release.

“It seems like people are spending more money,” he said.

That’s good news for the local economy as well as the Jellystone Park, which is now in its 23rd year of operation.

And while the traditional summer camping season ended over Labor Day weekend, the Jellystone Park keeps busy throughout September and October with a series of special weekend activities.

A “Superheroes Weekend” has been scheduled for Sept. 14-15 in honor of the U.S. military as well as police, fire and emergency personnel. Fire engines and rocket launchers will be on display.

Sept. 28-30 will be a “Witching Weekend” and will feature Halloween themed crafts and guests will be invited to wear costumes and decorate their campsites. On Oct. 7 the park will have a “Mutts in the Maze” event during which time people will be allowed to go through the corn maze with their dogs, with proceeds from the event being donated to the local humane society.

While the campground closes Oct. 15, the maze will stay open with a “haunted maze” Oct. 26-27. The 3rd annual Monster Mash will take place Oct. 27 with games, activities, music and dancing.

In addition to RV and tent sites, Jellystone Park has a dozen rental cabins with house-like amenities, including cable TV and Wi-Fi service and hot showers. The campground also has a jumping pillow, pedal cart rentals, a heated swimming pool and spa, an indoor theater and a miniature golf course. A complete listing of activities and themed weekends is available at



Good Traffic at Parks Over the Holiday

September 4, 2012 by · Comments Off on Good Traffic at Parks Over the Holiday 

The summer camping season officially ended in many states over the just concluded Labor Day weekend. Following are highlights of the long weekend from various media outlets:


Families in search of one last summer adventure snatched up campsites at California’s state parks in record numbers.

Labor Day weekend is the third busiest camping weekend of the year and the traditional end of the peak summer camping season. The number of nights booked in state park campgrounds over Labor Day weekend surpassed previous years, and total reservations were on pace to top out well above 10,000, according to a news release.


“It was great, we had a very good year we are up about 10 percent in revenues so that’s perfect,” said Bruce Aljets, owner of the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park campground in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Like all of the holiday weekends this summer, Aljets says the campground was booked to capacity, KELO-TV, Sioux Falls, reported.

One thing Aljets has noticed in his years of running a campground is no matter what gas prices are or how the economy looks, if people own campers they will come.

“We don’t get too concerned about the gas prices because the people, once again the people have a tremendous amount of money invested in their campers they are still going to go camping,” Aljets said.


At the Kenneth L. Wilson Campground in Mount Tremper, N.Y., all 76 sites were filled for the weekend, Your News Now, Albany, reported.

Park Supervisor Rob Zimmerman says camping is a popular pastime especially on Labor Day and holiday weekends.

“All the holiday weekends are big in the Catskills,” Zimmerman said.

“We draw from the New York Metropolitan area, a lot of our customers are from out of state,” noted Zimmerman.


After pouring through the Gulf Coast, remnants of Hurricane Isaac swept through the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys and brought plenty of rain along, altering holiday campers’ plans as well. along with it.

At the AOK Campground in St. Joseph, Mo., all 53 sites were filled over the weekend, despite the rain. Park owner Chris Atlakson said when weather gets bad, it’s actually good for business. Campers want to get off the roads, KQTV-TV reported.

“Nobody likes driving through rough weather or heavy rain,” he said. “This weekend is one of the highlights, kind of like 4th of July, Memorial weekend, and this the last great big get-together for people getting out away from city life and enjoy the outdoors” Atlakson said.

KQTV caught up with a few other campgrounds in the area, and they said the rain wasn’t much of a factor in business.


Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park was full of campers — something they’ve been seeing since they opened for the summer.

The park near Mandan, which was closed all of last year from flooding, this past weekend showed what the campsite has seen all summer: campers, campers and more campers, KXMB TV Bismarck

Dan Schelske with Fort Lincoln said that all but two weekends the campground has been full to capacity– and this weekend is no different.

Statewide, Parks and Recreation could hit record numbers of campsites occupied for the summer and Schelske says that could be true for the Fort Lincoln campground as well.


Almost all 125 campsites at Veterans Memorial Campground in La Crosse were filled for the holiday weekend, WXOW-TV, La Crosse, reported.

The number of campers on site met expectations, matching last year’s turnout, managers said.

“We’ve just got a bunch of nice people who come and a lot of them are repeaters who come all the time. We get to make a lot of friends,” said Veterans Memorial Campground manager Darlene Guinn.

Yogi Park in Fremont, Ind., to Host Service Personnel May 19

May 2, 2012 by · Comments Off on Yogi Park in Fremont, Ind., to Host Service Personnel May 19 

Boo Boo and Yogi get a chance to thank Roger Barry, (left), Fremont, Ind., Jellystone park owner, and Don Emahiser, pesident of CrossRoads RV, for making Operation Appreciation a huge success in 2011.

For the second year, CrossRoads RV and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Barton Lake will be hosting an open house in honor of all active-duty and retired military personnel. The Operation Appreciation Open House will be held on Armed Forces Day, May 19, at the Yogi Park near Fremont, Ind.

The event is in celebration of the continuing partnership between the two Northern Indiana businesses, according to a news release. The program was designed to benefit active-duty military personnel with some “rest and relaxation.” For Operation Appreciation, Jellystone donates a seasonal lot while CrossRoads RV supplies a luxurious Hampton destination trailer for military personnel and their families to use, free of charge.

During the open house, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., all of Jellystone’s amenities will be available, including mini-golf, a waterslide and basketball. Additionally, special children’s activities are planned and a lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. CrossRoads RV will also offer tours of the Operation Appreciation Hampton unit.

“At CrossRoads, we see both the Operation Appreciation program and our annual Operation Appreciation Open House as a way of giving back to the military community,” states Don Emahiser, president of Topeka, Ind.-based CrossRoads RV. “Last year we were able to give more than 25 military families time together as a family. Our goal is to increase that number this year by getting the word out about the program. ”

The Operation Appreciation Open House is free and open to all active-duty and retired military personnel. To attend, please RSVP to

Generations Find a Home at Kozy Rest

May 2, 2012 by · Comments Off on Generations Find a Home at Kozy Rest 

Click here to watch a video that features a 2011 review and highlights of Kozy Rest Kampground in western Pennsylvania.

Jane Harms was a newlywed with toddlers when her father-in-law introduced her to Kozy Rest Kampground in Harrisville, Pa.

Thirty years later, four generations of the Harms family still camp at the Kozy Rest, which joined the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park chain last year and is celebrating its 40th year in business in 2012, according to a news release.

“Kozy Rest is like a second home to me,” said Jane Harms, who lives an hour and 20 minutes away in Pittsburgh. “At least twice a month, all four generations of our family are there together. We’ve celebrated some wonderful times there.”

Indeed, Harms said Kozy Rest is so closely woven into the fabric of the Harms family that they’ve celebrated every family milestone there, including her father-in-law’s 90th birthday, her in-laws’ 65th wedding anniversary, her grandson’s first communion and her granddaughter’s first birthday.

“I’ve loved that park since the day my father-in-law bought his first trailer,” she said, adding that there’s something magical about spending quality family time camping in the great outdoors.

“I love the beauty of nature and being with family and having a good hot dog over an open fire,” she said.

Harms and her family enjoy the park so much they rent campsites for the entire camping season and leave their trailers at the park. That way they can use them on weekends or whenever they want to be there.

Many families use Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest as their venue of choice for quality family time.

Fifty-one-year-old Tom Slayton lives in eastern Ohio, but meets at the park with his father and brother twice a year to have quality family time together.

“We always camped together when we were kids. But we had never done it as adults,” Slayton said, adding that he and his brother and father started camping together again about seven or eight years ago.

“We like staying in their yurts. We just bring our sleeping bags and food and we have a blast together,” he said.

The Slaytons also cook gourmet meals together when they camp. In fact, their latest dinner included plans to cook stuffed veal chops with spinach and bread crumbs, mushrooms and ham; smashed potatoes; and glazed carrots.

“We’ll cook it all from scratch at the campground,” Slayton said. “We’ll even have a bottle of Cabernet from Napa Valley in California.”



Jellystone Park Owner Makes Dream a Reality

April 26, 2012 by · Comments Off on Jellystone Park Owner Makes Dream a Reality 

A Horn Lake RV park in northern Mississippi has just been named in the top 300 parks in America. That’s a heady honor for a Desoto County park that some said would never make it.

They told Keith Russell it would never work, 5 years ago he wanted to build an RV park in the middle of Horn Lake

“Everybody thought I was an idiot when I did this,” Russell told WHBQ-TV, Memphis. “Oh yeah they wanted to have me committed. Sometimes, I thought I ought to go commit myself, but it worked, so…”

The Jellystone Park stays at capacity almost all the time. Keith says many of those staying here are construction workers at places like Valero or Nissan.

“A lot of ours are workers that come, stay a month, two months, and move on.”

Keith also has the market cornered on staycations, with a lot of his cabins being rented by local families.

“It’s an economical way for a local vacation. We’ve got activities for the kids and waterslides.”

Not bad for a Yogi park that a lot of people thought would be a boo boo from the start.

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