Wisconsin Yogi Park to Add More Water Slides and Cabins

March 8, 2012 by · Comments Off on Wisconsin Yogi Park to Add More Water Slides and Cabins 

The Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Caledonia, Wis., will get two new water slides and a handful of new cabins will replace campsites.

The village board unanimously approved the site plan review at a board meeting Tuesday (March 6), the Oak Creek Patch reported.

Randy Isaacson, the owner of the park, told the planning commission last week that his customers primarily come up from Illinois and the cabins are a bigger draw than the campsites.

They currently have 21 cabins. Last year, Isaacson said he wanted to have up to 100 cabins. The same site was approved for the conversion of 12 existing campsites into cabins last year, according to a memo from Racine County Development Services.

Isaacson told the planning commission he does not plan to make any more campsites. Rather, when he’s building the cabins, he’s converting the existing campsites into cabins.

Mike Hayek, the village engineer, said that if the business was more successful and the traffic increased, the ingress and egress to Highway 38 would need to be widened. However, his main concern is city water and sewer, according to meeting minutes from the planning commission.

Bob Lui, Caledonia utility manager, said he met with Isaacson about extending water and sewer. However, the four cabins only have electricity and don’t have interior plumbing.


Clumsy Thief Gets $93 from Yogi Park

January 25, 2012 by · Comments Off on Clumsy Thief Gets $93 from Yogi Park 

A couple of weeks ago, WCTV-TV reported about a robbery at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Madison, Fla.

On Tuesday (Jan. 24), the station showed surveillance video of how it all went down and it shows the thief wasn’t so savvy.

Near the top of the video, the man attempts to climb a stack of boxes and slowly, but surely, takes a tumble.

What did he get for his trouble? $93.

Police are still searching for the clumsy robber.

Campground Cabins: ‘Camping Without the Pain’

May 26, 2011 by · Comments Off on Campground Cabins: ‘Camping Without the Pain’ 

As the Memorial Day weekend nears, state campgrounds and New York’s private campground owners are reporting occupancy rates at 80% percent to 100%, but the nature of camping is changing.

Tim and Stephanie Cicotta of Irondequoit, for example, enjoy camping with their two young daughters, Julie, 10, and Jamie, 9. But their family getaways no longer entail stuffing the car with all sorts of gear and then pitching a tent, the Rochester, N.Y., Democrat & Chronicle reported.

The Cicottas are regulars at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort in North Java, Wyoming County, where the lodging options go way beyond a basic tent campsite. Available for rent are lakeside cabins, camping trailers, chalets and what the Cicottas like best, deluxe cabins trimmed in knotty pine that include a queen bed, sleeping loft for the kids, full bath, kitchen area, fireplace, television, Internet and air conditioning.

“It’s our way of roughing it, I guess,” said Stephanie Cicotta, 33. “The kids loved tent camping but it killed our backs sleeping on the ground. Comfort is a big thing for us. And in a tent, if it rains, the weekend is over. It’s nice to be indoors and the kids like it because we’re still away (on an adventure).”

A stress-free adventure, said Tim Cicotta, 44.

“I think it’s great. It’s camping without the pain,” said the former truck driver who is studying to become an accountant.

Old is new again

In the wake of $4-a-gallon gasoline prices, a recession and a national push to get outdoors more, camping is cool again. But customers like the Cicottas want to experience nature pain-free. In response, campgrounds are offering a wide assortment of lodging options.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of motor home and travel trailer owners are opting to rent campsites close to home by the season. By parking in one location, they save on gasoline and lost time setting up and tearing down camp.

In response to demand, more campgrounds are becoming resort-like with fitness clubs, spa services, live entertainment, and free WiFi so campers don’t have to feel “unplugged.”

To read the entire story click here.

Jellystone Parks Earn High Woodall’s Rankings

April 4, 2011 by · Comments Off on Jellystone Parks Earn High Woodall’s Rankings 

Woodall's 2011 directory

Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts are among the highest rated campgrounds in the country, with 20% of Jellystone Parks receiving 5W/5W ratings in the 2011 edition of the Woodall’s North American Campground Directory, according to a news release.

“We’re obviously pleased that Woodall’s finds many our parks worthy of their highest ratings,” said Rob Schutter, COO of Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems Inc., which is actively recruiting high quality independent parks to join the Jellystone Park franchise system, according to a news release.

While Jellystone parks are famous for offering their guests unique family activities and special themed weekends, the Woodall’s rankings focus on the park’s recreational and physical facilities, including its physical grounds, roads, campsites, hookups, and restrooms.

Woodall’s rates park by assigning them 1W to 5W ratings for both park facilities and recreation.

According to the Woodall’s 2011 directory, top rated parks in the Jellystone Park system are located in the following cities:

  • Amboy, Ill.: Amenities include a double-plume waterslide, miniature golf, a gem-mining sluice, an outdoor movie theater, two entertainment stages and four playgrounds, plus three swimming pools, two kiddie pools, two adult spas and two fishing lakes with paddle boat and kayak rentals. The 700-site campground also offers a variety of rental accommodations, including discovery tents, cabins, cottages and park models.
  • Fremont, Ind.: This park features three outdoor pools, one indoor pool, a splash park, and a ZoomFlume waterslide that includes a speed and tube slide. The park also offers miniature golf. Rental accommodations include rustic and deluxe cabins.
  • Lawrence, Kan.: Amenities at this park include a swimming pool and jumping pillow as well as pedal car and canoe rentals. The park also offers RV rentals in addition to cabin and park model accommodations.
  • Hagerstown, Md.: This park features two 400-foot water slides, Ranger’s Revenge and Picnic Plunge, and a 3,200-square-foot heated interactive pool with a beach entry full of bubblers, an 8-foot Raindrop, built-in seating for adults with hydro-therapy jets, fountain jets that spray across the width of the pool, plus volleyball nets. Other amenities include a new Water Wars battle station, LaZer Tag, a 1,000-foot pedal cart track and miniature golf. Accommodations include luxury and cozy cabins.
  • Frankenmuth, Mich.: Amenities at this park include miniature golf, a 25- by 52-foot indoor pool and a 12- by 12-foot adults only hot tub. Rental trailers and cabins are also available.
  • Austin, Minn.: This southern Minnesota park features a new jumping pillow, three water slides, a gem mining sluice, cycle and pedal cart rentals, mini golf, animal petting pens, kids train and hay wagon rides, fishing ponds and pedal boats. Rental accommodations include rustic and park model cabins.
  • Pelahatchie, Miss.: Amenities at this park include mini golf, wagon rides, a fishing lake, outdoor theater and a splash playground with a huge picnic basket that dumps water. The park also offers cabin and lodge rentals.
  • North Hudson, N.Y.: This upstate New York park has a jumping pillow, a gem mining sluice, train rides, pedal carts and a ceramics center. Rental accommodations include rustic cabins, park models and trailers.
  • Gardiner, N.Y.: Located in New York’s famed Hudson River Valley, this park offers loft and gable roof cabin rentals in addition to RV and tent sites. The park is close to many popular tourist attractions, including Springwood, the estate of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and site of the nation’s first Presidential Library; the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; the Vanderbilt Museum and Garden; and the historic town of Newburgh, which is home to the Orange County Choppers, a custom motorcycle manufacturer featured on the Discovery Channel.
  • Woodridge, N.Y.: This park, situated in the Catskill Mountains, offers outdoor laser tag, two children’s playgrounds, a five-acre lake stocked with bass and bluegills, rowboat and paddleboat rentals and fire truck rides. Cabin, park model and trailer rentals are also available.
  • Aurora, Ohio: Amenities at this park include a 50-acre spring fed lake with a sandy beach and swimming zone; a swimming pool and kiddie pool; canoe, kayak and rowboat rentals; miniature golf; pedal cart rentals; wagon rides and four playgrounds. Cabin and cottage rentals are also available.
  • Harrisville, Pa.: This park, which just recently joined the Jellystone Park chain, offers a swimming pool, miniature golf, four-wheel bike rentals and hiking trails. Rental cabins, park models and yurts are also available.
  • Mill Run, Pa.: This park’s amenities include paint ball, mini golf, a mining sluice, two swimming pools, waterslides, and a splash park. The park also has a professional massage therapist. Rental accommodations range from basic cabins to park models and RVs.
  • Gatlinburg, Tenn.: Located near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this wooded and scenic park features swimming and kiddie pools, a playground, miniature golf and a Yogi Theater. Rental accommodations include rustic and deluxe cabins.
  • Caledonia, Wis.: Amenities at this park include a dunk tank, a jumping pillow, fishing pond, splashground with two waterslides, carpet ball (a cross between shuffleboard and pool) and an outdoor theater. Cabin rentals are also available.
  • Wisconsin Dells, Wis.: This park offers a water playground with water slides and rental accommodations range from basic cabins to park models and yurts.
  • Niagara Falls, Ontario: This park features a large heated pool and kiddie pool, an 18 hole miniature golf course, pedal cart rentals, wagon rides and a movie theatre. Shuttle rides to the falls are also available as well as cabin and park model rentals.

Ashdown to Address Virginia Meeting

September 16, 2010 by · Comments Off on Ashdown to Address Virginia Meeting 

Blake Ashdown

The Virginia Campground Marketing Conference, sponsored by the Virginia Campground Association (VCA),  will be held Oct. 18-20 at American Heritage RV Resort in Willliamsburg, Va.

The 2 1/2-day meeting will be entirely devoted to discussing marketing tools and techniques for the 21st century, according to a news release. As the park industry continues to enjoy significant growth and public interest, the industry is becoming increasingly competitive and marketing is considered the key to success for individual parks.

The major speaker at the conference will Blake Ashdown, one of the park industry’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Blake has started 15 businesses over the past 30 years, including 10 RV resorts and campgrounds. He received the “Professional of the Year Award” from the American Resort and Development Association and is a Registered Resort Professional. Ashdown was one of the creators of the Encore brand of RV parks and was the architect of its successful marketing and branding program. His most well-known RV park project is Tropical Palms Fun Resort in Orlando.

For the past four years Ashdown has been a professor at the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University where he taught Marketing and Business Strategy. He is a frequent speaker at industry conventions, conferences and business meetings.

He is the president of SureVista Solutions, a marketing research firm that provides new marketing tools designed to increase revenues.

“Blake has an incredible appreciation for what it takes to market an RV park in today’s rapidly changing world,” said David Gorin, VCA executive. “We’re thrilled to have him as the featured speaker at this first-ever VCA marketing conference. VCA parks have had a good 2010 camping season and parks are improving their game significantly. Staying in the game with great competitors in the Virginia market, requires a real understanding of marketing to today’s consumers. Blake will be a great inspiration and help to park owners who are ready to step up for success.”

In addition to Ashdown, special guests and speakers will include Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), who will share the lessons she’s learned about the park industry in her 40 years in the business. VCA will honor and recognize Profaizer’s long industry career as she prepares to retire at the end of the year.

Mary Arlington, owner of High Plains Camping in Kansas, will also be a special guest. Arlington has fine-tuned the use of social media to build her small campground into a powerhouse small business with national recognition. Affiliated with Best Parks in America, High Plains Camping has received a Guest Review A rating for two years running and is gaining RVer attention throughout Kansas and Middle America. She will discuss her successful social media campaign and how she’s used the cost effective outreach to grow her business.

John Rust and daughter Carol Rust, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, Luray, Va., will also speak, addressing two marketing programs they created during 2010. One program offered a camping discount through Groupon, an Internet marketing program that is sweeping the country in some metropolitan areas. In addition, the Rusts launched a weekly e-mail newsletter to potential and past guests offering specials and most importantly advising on availability for the coming weekend and future weekends. Both of these programs, Groupon and e-mailing, will be part of a panel discussion on new marketing techniques and tools.

The conference is open to park owners throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. For information on program details and registration, please email or call David Gorin at (703) 448 6863. Camping is available at American Heritage RV Resort and hotel accommodations are available nearby.

Look Out, Yogi, Here Comes City Hall!

August 27, 2010 by · Comments Off on Look Out, Yogi, Here Comes City Hall! 

Township officials near Grand Haven, Mich., are looking at various ways to measure air quality after receiving several complaints, including those from residents near two campgrounds in the township, the Grand Haven Tribune reported.

In 2009, the Grand Haven Township Fire/Rescue Department responded to 28 smoke complaints and found 13 violations, generally seeing smoke cross property lines. Six of those violations were related to recreational fire smoke from campgrounds — four relating to the Christian Reformed campgrounds and two to Yogi Bear.

The Township Board on Monday (Aug. 23) unanimously authorized staff to purchase a handheld laser particle counter for $3,700, plus a $400 annual fee for calibration.

“This would allow us to measure particulate matter in the air that we may not be able to see,” Township Manager Bill Cargo said.

The size of particulate matter that the township is interested in measuring is particles less than 2.5 micrometers — which poses the greatest health concern as it can penetrate deep into the lungs, according to Cargo.

The handheld device can be used anywhere in the township; however, the purchase was made after several residential complaints from those living near the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park campground on U.S. 31 and the Christian Reformed campground on Lakeshore Drive.

Cargo said township officials will hold off on purchasing the laser particle counter until after they discuss different options with the campgrounds’ officials and area neighbors — likely within the next couple of weeks, he said.

Vitkuns Speak at Maryland Campaign Meeting

August 18, 2010 by · Comments Off on Vitkuns Speak at Maryland Campaign Meeting 

Yogi Bear Jellystone Park Camp-Resort franchisees Ron and Vicki Vitkun were among business owners who  complained of overregulation and overtaxation Tuesday while chatting with Republican Robert L. Ehrlich, who is trying to regain the Maryland governorship this year, The Herald-Mail, Hagerstown, reported.

Ehrlich, who lost to Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley in 2006, said he has held about four dozen similar roundtables and has heard some of the same frustrations.

Vicki Vitkun — who owns Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park near Williamsport with her husband — said the new federal health care reform package is confusing and she gets different explanations.

Ehrlich agreed and said he thinks the U.S. Supreme Court will rule that requiring individuals to obtain insurance is unconstitutional.

Ron Vitkun invited legislators to spend a day watching a business owner make tough decisions, such as when to lay people off.

David Henneberger of DH WEB said unemployment insurance rates are rising, even though none of his employees has collected.

Other roundtable participants sounded off on “unrestrained, unbridled government spending” and a battle with Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) as a business tried to expand.

Ehrlich called MDE the second-most-broken state agency, behind the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Dick Seibert, the owner of Knob Hall Winery in Clear Spring, said new stormwater management regulations greatly increase the cost of development.

“It’s people that have no idea what that does to your project,” said Delegate Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington.

As he runs again for governor, Ehrlich often uses Maryland’s reputation among businesses as a platform issue. He said the state’s stature rose during his four-year term and dropped again under O’Malley.

O’Malley, though, champions Maryland as a state keeping and adding jobs better than most during a tough economy.

At his campaign website, O’Malley points to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Chamber Foundation study that says Maryland is one of the top states for job creation.

O’Malley is facing Democrats J.P. Cusick and Ralph Jaffe in a Sept. 14 primary.

Ehrlich’s Republican opponent in the primary is Brian Murphy.

The general election is Nov. 2.

Ehrlich talked Tuesday about what he thinks is wrong with Annapolis, then asked the 40 or so business people, elected officials, candidates and nonprofit organization leaders gathered at Hager Hall to introduce themselves. A few in the group said they are Democrats.

Connie Leach, who owns Paper Plus The Party Store on Dual Highway with her husband, urged people to take part in the national 3/50 Project, in which shoppers pledge to spend $50 a month at local businesses.

Washington County Commissioners President John F. Barr said his company, Ellsworth Electric, operates in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Some days, he said, he’s tempted to move the whole business to Pennsylvania.

Bill Hetzer of C. William Hetzer Inc., a construction company with around 250 to 300 employees, broke the audience up with his vent about bureaucracy in state and federal government.

If the average person knew how much bureaucracy increases the cost of business, he said, “they would hang all of you politicians.”

Today’s Video from Yogi Bear Park in Fremont, Ind.

June 3, 2010 by · Comments Off on Today’s Video from Yogi Bear Park in Fremont, Ind. 

Today’s Featured Video comes from the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Fremont, Ind.

Jellystone Park Welcomes 5 New Franchisees

February 4, 2010 by · Comments Off on Jellystone Park Welcomes 5 New Franchisees 

Five campgrounds are joining Leisure System Inc.’s Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park franchise this year.

According to LSI’s Jellystone Blog, the new member camp-resorts are in Bloomington, Ind., Burleson/South Fort Worth, Texas, Columbia, S.C., Branson, Mo., and Donalsonville, Ga.

The Jellystone Blog has this to say about the new franchisee in Indiana:

The former Cedar Ridge Camping Resort will re-open on April 16 as Jellystone Park at Lake Monroe.

Located just a few short miles from Lake Monroe – Indiana’s largest lake – the new campground is the perfect spot to enjoy boating and fishing from the 10,000-plus acre lake’s nine convenient ramps. And the campground itself is a wonderful family destination with RV and tenting sites, as well as a wide selection of deluxe cabins.

While onsite, check out the three pools for aquatic family fun. The heated indoor pool is the perfect place to get your laps in, while the outdoor wading pool is great for kids with its waterslide and waterfall. And a 1200-square-foot outdoor swimming pool is perfect for sunning or a rousing game of Marco Polo. Once you dry off, it’s time to enjoy the playground, miniature golf, volleyball court, horseshoes, nature walking trails, game room and so much more. There’s even a fenced-in dog park so the family pooch gets in on the fun.

If you want to venture off the campground, an 18-hole championship golf course is just across the road. And you’re within easy driving of picturesque Bloomington, home of Indiana University and a wide range of cultural, dining and entertainment options.

ARVC Members Report Resilience, Optimism

December 10, 2009 by · Comments Off on ARVC Members Report Resilience, Optimism 

arvc2.giARVC logofBy anyone’s standards, 2009 has been a tough year for the U.S. economy.

But while most Americans have tightened their budgets in response to job losses, difficulties obtaining credit or simply because of economic uncertainties, campgrounds and RV parks have remained economically resilient, according to a news release from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).

“We are very grateful for the level of business we’ve had,” said Jayne Cohen, president of Adventure Bound Camping Resorts in Center Harbor, N.H., which owns and operates nine RV resorts in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Arizona. “When we closed down our November numbers, we were even with last year in revenue.”

That’s a significant accomplishment, Cohen said, not only in this economy, but given the fact that most of her company’s parks are located in areas that suffered unusually cold and wet weather last summer. “We strongly feel that if we had not had bad weather, we would have been ahead of last year’s figures,” she said.

Most of the nation’s campgrounds, in fact, reported business levels that were stable or slightly ahead of last year’s figures, and most private park operators expect their business levels to remain steady or experience continued growth next year.

“I’m very optimistic and very grateful for how we finished out this year,” said Mark D. Anderson, president of Camp Chautauqua Camping Resort in Stow, N.Y. “Our reservations are looking very good for next year. We’re already just about full for Fourth of July weekend. And to be almost full at this time of year is pretty good.”

Across the country, Harriette Groth of SunBasin RV Park in Ephrata, Wash. said she is already receiving reservations for Memorial Day weekend next year. “Two groups have already called in for reservations for Memorial Day weekend. We feel that’s encouraging,” she said.

David L. Berg, ARVC chairman, said he is also optimistic about the level of consumer interest in camping next year. “I think we’re looking across the country to an improved camping season next year,” he said. “The state of the affairs of our economy has not hurt the camping business at all.”

Revenues at Berg’s own park – Red Apple Campground in Kennebunkport, Maine. – were up 8.5% this year, compared to last year, and Berg expects the upward trend to continue.

“Our reservations for next year are at least as strong right now as they were a year ago,” said Jim Ozburn of Falcon Meadow RV Campground in Falcon, Colo. “I really think the camping business is going to get better. As long as gasoline and fuel behave, those who do the most traveling will still do it.”

Ozburn added that he, too, is already receiving reservation requests for next year, which he finds encouraging.

Carolyn Strong, co-owner of Sundermeier RV Park and Conference Center in St. Charles, Mo., is also receiving reservations for next year, including reservations from large rally groups. “We had a tremendous increase in business this year,” she said, adding that as of mid-December her park was already running about 10 percent ahead of its business levels in both 2007 and 2008.

Some Sunbelt parks are also reporting strong reservation levels for this coming winter. “Right now, we just finished the best November we’ve ever had, and our advance bookings from now through March are probably 20% over last year,” said Doug Shearer, who opened Parkview Riverside RV Park in Concan, Texas, in 2001. He expects this winter to be the best winter season he’s ever had.

Some park operators remain cautious, however.

Bruce Aljets, who owns Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Sioux Falls, S.D., experienced a 17% jump in business this year, despite the recession. “I don’t know what to expect next year,” he said. “Being in South Dakota, we generally lag behind the rest of the country. But I’m going to hope for the best.”

Cohen of Adventure Bound Camping Resorts, for her part, said her company is optimistic but cautious about the future. “We’re very enthusiastic and we’re very pleased with the results of this year. But we’re not taking anything for granted, either.”

« Previous PageNext Page »