Members of the Ohio Campground Owners Association (OCOA) wrapped up a successful season this week with the organization’s Fall Conference & POOT Tour (POOT stands for Park Owners On Tour). About 85 people representing 37 campgrounds attended the annual event, held this year in Steubenville, Ohio.

The event began with a cracker barrel session in which the OCOA members had an informal discussion on several issues affecting the campground industry, and concluded with a day-long tour of four campgrounds: Austin Lake RV Park & Cabins in Steubenville; Tomlinson State Park in New Manchester, W.Va.; Big Arb’s Campground in East Rochester, Ohio; and Salem/Lisbon Kampgrounds of America (KOA) in Salem, Ohio.

OCOA Executive Director Kristy Smith said she was pleased with the turnout, adding the conference offered an opportunity for campground owners, whether a “newbie” or a veteran, to discover new and better ways of running their business.

“The feedback has been great,” Smith said. “The owners love to see the different campgrounds and this year we had different campgrounds of all shapes and sizes. The tours give everyone a chance to talk to other owners and ask what they’re doing about sewage plants or get their ideas on activities or food stores or whatever ideas they want to bounce off each other.”

One of the issues discussed during the cracker barrel was the recent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) memorandum asserting the federal agency views the 400-square-foot park model RV limit as including porches. The Ohio campground owners agreed the HUD decision was harmful to the industry and their businesses and would lead to further repercussions, such as zoning and taxation issues. Members were encouraged to write their congressional representatives.

Other issues addressed included pet policies, long-term campers from the oil and gas industry and gray water disposal.