24 - July 2019 Woodall’s Campground Management The number of families that have camped at the park for generations is what helps the Kavickys stay motivated to keep the park looking much the same as it did when it opened. A number of them attended the park’s 50th anniversary celebration in late June, including the Tlachacs, who are part of a family that have camped at the park since the early 1970s. “We come for the family environment,” Tammy Tlachac said. “They have activities for every generation. We feel safe there. My children bring their friends with them, so it accommodates all of us.” “People come here with their families and they point out things that they remember and it helps them remember all of the fun they had when they were young, and now they are able to share that with their grand- children or kids,” Jill mentioned. Jim Kalvicky told WCM that they keep their ambitions modest when they are look- ing to make improvements at the park. “We are not looking for a huge return, we are in it for the families that come and leave with huge smiles on their faces,” he noted. “We are targeting a group of campers that are complementary to other Jellystone Park locations but still different enough that we can be quaint, unique and quiet.” A majority of the build- ings at the park are the same ones that were built 50 years ago and the Kavickys said that they use the same colors that were used on the buildings originally when repainting surfaces. The Kavickys say that they can’t imagine being anything else but a Jelly- stone Park location, given the system’s focus on families. “People see the bear and they hear the name Jellystone Park, and they know that this place is going to be a great stop for the family,” Jill explained. The Kavickys said that Haag stopped at the park a number of years before he passed away and saw that the park reflected the concept he had envisioned when creating the Jellystone Park system. “He told us that this was exactly what he had wanted,” said Jim. “He sat on a bench in the middle of the park and told us that he was so happy that we had kept the park close to its original state. It has been updated, but it hasn’t lost the original feel.” Further south, the Wisconsin Dells Jelly- stone Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisc., has been owned by the same family, the Gassers, for nearly 50 years. The park is set to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020. Brent Gasser has operated the park since 1983andbeganbuyingstockintheparkwhen hewas20yearsold.Gasser,hiswifeandtheir four kids are now owners of the property. It was the brainchild of his mother, Elinore Gasser, who had wanted to build the campground as a way to bring families together, hence the affiliation with the newly formed Jellystone Park system at the time, according to Brent. Gasser noted that the park has worked to continually improve, adding more accommo- dations, including five different styles of campsites. “We are proud of the fact that we have really been the leader in developing innovations for the Jellystone Park system,” he explained to WCM. Part of 12 families that developed the Wis- consin Dells resort area, which attracts four million people annually and has an economic impact of $1.6 billion, Gasser noted that the family annually invests more than $100,000 back into the park. Gasser said that his son, Brendan, has been working to develop a new recycling program, which he hopes to see rolled out soon as a system-wide effort. “We are waiting for approval from Warner Brothers on the use of the charac- ters in the program,” he said. The park also has an extensive interna- tional exchange program, which helps to fill staffing needs at the park. “Wehaveemployedstudentsfrom40-plus countries and around 1,000 students or more bynow,”Gasserexplained.“Currently,weare employingstudentsfromThailand,Turkeyand Jordan.” The students fall under the J-1 exchange and Gasser said they are spon- sored through the U.S. State Department. Gasser said that as the Jellystone Park system has grown he feels that the system has done a very good job creating standards and expanding out to more high- profile destinations. “Therearesomanydifferentsynergiesthat we have among the parks,” he noted. “I remembertheearlydaysofthesystem,before a lot of the owners had been in the business formanyyears.Wecametogethertocreatea lotoftheindustrystandardsthatyouseetoday, because they were important for us to see an economic return, good-quality service for the guests, space fees and a more consistent base across the United States.” WCM StaffattheWisconsinDellsJellystonePark work to innovate. The Wisconsin Dells Jellystone Park has al- waysbeengearedtowardsattractingfamilies. The Door County Jellystone Park has made some improvements, adding a pool, but also looks much the same as when it opened. Jellystone 50 Years —from page 15