12 - May 2018 Woodall’s Campground Management ON CAMPGROUNDS Reports from the field: Bob Ashley MuchhaschangedatSavannahOaks RV Resort since Greg and Tammy Sam- ples bought the park 12 years ago — and more change is on the way, with the addition of as many as six cabins. The 115-site park in Savannah, Ga., sitson24acresandhadonedouble-bed- room, deluxe cabin when the couple bought the campground. Why add six more? “Demand,” Tammy said. “It stays full. And the area where the new cabins will be used was campsites.” The Samples were shopping for park model cabins in the spring and plan to have them in place this summer. “We’re not exactly sure how many we can add,” Tammy said. “We’re looking now.” Also coming this summer will be the park’s second set of playground equipment. Since buying the park the Samples have refurbished the pool, put in new wiringandplumbingandresurfacedthe bath houses. Asitsnameimplies,SavannahOaksis heavily treed with grand oaks, many dripping with Spanish moss. “It’s an older park,” Tammy said. “Some people call us rustic. The sites aren’t all symmetrical. Each one has its own feel to it.” Fifteen miles southeast of the tourist mecca of downtown Savannah, Savan- nah Oaks has three “seasons” — one of * * * * * When Dennis Martinsen built Fossil Valley RV Park in 1990, in the growing community of Vernal, Utah, the camp- groundwasontheedgeofthecommunity. “Now we are in the middle of town,” Martinsensaid.“Itgrewrightaroundus.” The 60-site park 160 miles east of Salt LakeCityisopenyear-round,butdoesn’t get a lot of business in the winter.“Right now (in mid-April), I’ve got 15 or 16 peoplehere,”Martinsensaid.“That’snot bad for this time of year. It will start getting busier in May.” Alsoknownas“Dinosaurland,”Vernal is home to a large quarry of prehistoric Jurassic dinosaur bones, and the Dinosaur National Monument is located 20 minutes east of the city. “I don’t have anyone come back from one of the quarries and say it’s a wasted trip,” Martinsen said. “There are a lot of things to do around here.” Although each site features shade trees, green grass and level gravel pads, the campground is pretty basic, Martin- sen noted. “I get a few families, but I get a lot more retired people,” he said. Included among his clientele are a substantial number of Europeans visiting some of Utah’s four national parks and seven national monuments. “People from Europe will fly into Salt Lake and rent an RV, and then travel to all the monuments,” Martinsen said. * * * * * Just a few minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — the most visited in the country, according to the National Park Service — Creekside RV Park in Pigeon Forge,Tenn., is plenty busy, too. “We don’t really ever have a slow time,” said Jennifer Lee, who has man- aged the 108-site park for 18 years. “In- stead of going to Florida, people come here. They don’t stay long, three days to a week is about average. But there is something for everybody around here.” Even those who want to get married. “Pigeon Forge is second behind Las Vegasforpeoplegettingmarried,”shesaid. Creekside has a recently renovated saltwater pool and features concrete pads, a majority of which have 50-amp service and are shaded. Fishing is available onWalden’s Creek, which runs along the park’s boundary. Besides RVers visiting the restaurants and shops in Pigeon Forge and nearby Gatlinburg, Creekside also has started seeing business from Ripken Fields, an amateur baseball complex that opened last year with six replica ball diamonds wheremorethan700teamsparticipated in tournaments last year. The park closes annually in January and February, and business was already starting to pick up in April after a cold March. “We’re getting more business now that schools are out for spring break. And we plantobeverybusyintothefall,”Leesaid. WCM Editor-at-Large Bob Ashley is aCentralIndiana-basedfreelancewriter/ editor and a 25-year newspaper veteran who has focused on the RV industry and national recreation issues for the past 19 years. He received the 2013 “Distin- guished Service in RV Journalism” award from the Recreation Vehicle In- dustry Association (RVIA). WCM Upgraded Savannah Oaks RV Resort Adding Popular Cabins themtwiceayear.“Wegeta lot of traffic going to and fromFlorida,”shesaid.“We are a good stop going in ei- ther direction. In the fall they are going to Florida where it will be warmer. And in the spring, they’re heading home.” Springtime snowbirds, she said, are likely to stay around the park a few days longer than those RVers headed to Florida. Anofficesharesabuildingwithacon- venience store and an exercise room is near the pool. Some two dozen RV sites sit on the Ogeechee River, where there is also a boat ramp and dock.The Samples alsooperateacanoeandkayakrentalon theriver,whichisfilledwithbream,bass, catfish, shad and other game fish. The park is pet-friendly and the Samples offer a dog-sitting service for pet owners. They intend to upgrade an existing dog park so that it will have agility aspects to it. TheSamplesalsoboughtpropertyad- jacent to the park and created walking paths, including one to the nearby historic Ogeechee River Savannah- Ogeechee Barge Canal. A tour bus stops regularly at the park to take visitors to downtown Savannah, which is itself an historic landmark. Business at Savannah Oaks RV Resort over the years has been progressively better. “The only year that we had that wasn’t better than the previous year was when gas was $4 a gallon,”Tammy said. With snowbirds on the move in early April, the Samples have been busy. “We have been selling out pretty much since the first part of March, and we will do well into the summer,” Tammy said.“August and September are ourslowestmonths.Peoplearen’ttravel- ing that much at that time.” AtSavannahOakssomeRVsitesrestagainsttheOgeecheeRiver.