Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 326 - April 2017 Woodall’s Campground Management NCA Conference —from page 3 any growth to speak of during the recession — and the last several have accelerated the upward trend. “Lastyearwasphenomenal,andthisyear looks like it’s going to be even better, as incredible as that seems,” Berg said. “We’re booked into 2018, and not because we offered it. People wanted it and asked, since they couldn’t get what they wanted this year.” “It’s a good time to be in the campground industry, whether you own a campground or you’re looking to sell one,” said Jeremy Sprince, executive director of the New Hampshire Campground Owners Associa- tion. “Reservations are up. It’s going to be another really good year.” Maryland’s Mike Irons of Ole Mink Farm RecreationResortagreed,adding,“Camping continues to be popular, perhaps the highest peak we’ve ever seen. Campers expect and demandmoreamenities,activitiesandvalue than ever before. Our rentals are bigger and demand is strong for park models, cabins andyurts.TheinnovationsintheRVindustry, as they are making a push toward seasonal rental units, allows more people to explore the camping lifestyle.” The positive outlook spanned camp- groundsofallsizesandcamefromoperators of all sorts of levels of experience. Case in point, Sylvia Manning, who owns Abel Mountain Campground in Vermont with her husband,Ken,saidthey’rereadytojumpinto their second season — they came to last year’sconferencelookingdownthebarrelof their first season — and are looking for a big year at their 130-site park on 36 acres. “In 2017 there aren’t a lot of empty sites in July and August already, and we have good bookingsinto2018,”shesaid,echoingBerg’s long-term outlook. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm here,” said Art Lieberman of Merchants Choice Payment Solutions (MCPS) for camp- grounds, who has been attending the trade showforyears.“IthinkthefactthatRVsales are up is helping people’s attitudes. The freakish weather we’ve had here in the Northeast has probably caused a lot of people to get cabin fever, ‘As soon as this snow clears out, I’m going outdoors.’ “Overall there’s a lot of optimism in the wholeindustry.There’salotofnewideasout there. There’s a lot of people helping other people,” Lieberman said. “It’s the hospitality industry, and you can’t find more hospitable people than those here. They’re always smiling, always laughing and having a good time.” Lieberman’s company was one of more than 50 returning vendors who were joined by a variety of new ones at the busy trade show, which ran Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. In between, Friday night’s auction, one of the conference’s annual highlights, raised $18,630 for NCA — and that’s important for the group which, with dues of only $10 per year, relies heavily on the auction to support its advocacy efforts. NCA’s board consists of representatives from campground associa- tionsinMassachusetts,Maine,Connecticut, NewHampshire,NewJersey,Vermont,New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and the group is friendly to the newly activated Rhode Island association. It allows not only campground operators andvendorstogettogether,itpresentslead- ers of the state associations to compare notes with each other and with leaders of ARVC, which sent Jeff Sims, senior director ofstaterelationsandprogramadvocacy,and Barb Youmans, senior director of education and head of the ARVC Foundation, to the conference alongside several ARVC board members, like Berg, who are active in the Northeast. State leaders shared some struggles, including the threat of increasing pool regulations in Maryland, new relaxation of marijuanalawsinMaineandMassachusetts and the prospect of minimum-wage hikes — Massachusetts is at $11 per hour, according to CampMass board member Jim Leaming of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Sturbridge, and Maine is on its way to $12 in a few years, Berg reported. But there were also plenty of triumphs, likepositivemarketingpartnershipsbetween state associations and state governments in New York, Maine and New Hampshire, as well as reports of positive efforts by New Jersey,NewHampshireandMarylandasso- ciations working together with other associ- ationsandgroupstoachievecommongoals, not to mention a near universal increase in demand for online and printed camping directories. The Maryland Association of Camp- grounds will host the next big NCA event, the upcoming NCA Great Escape Oct. 17-18 at Frontier Town Campground in Ocean City. — Justin Leighty WCM NCA Executive Director Cyndy Zbierski talks to the crowd during one of the conference’s meals. State association leaders kept each other, and attendees,uponthehappeningsintheirrespec- tive states during the conference.