b'Campgrounds that Cater to the LGBTQ LifestyleSee Increase Interest, Focus on Amenities, ActivitiesBY SUE BRAY LGBTQ-focused parks, like Woods Camping Resort,Recent Galluppolls report that Americans are noticing an increase in traffic because of thebelieve that nearly 25% of the U.S. population amenities and activities they offer. may be gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or trans-gen-der. Although these are not extensive demo-graphicreports,theactualnumberisprobably closer to 5%, according to Gallup.Regardless, this group is a visible, financiallyviable portion of manisntream society, andlike the rest of America, is increasingly be-coming a part of the RV community.Enter a growing number of campgroundsspecifically catering to the LGBTQ lifestyle,not only offering traditional RV sites, cabins,and amenities such as pools, hiking trails,cafes and bars, but also scheduling weekendevents, parties, concerts and contests. poolside lunch cabana and a bonfire area. Gremling is employed full time as a na-PatGremling purchasedthe161-acre On a good solid summer weekend, well tional sales representative selling radio ads.Woods Camping Resort 17 years ago. As a get 2,000 people at our facility, and we aver- I always loved throwing parties, and I lovechild, he lived about a age 1,100 to 1,200 most weekends, noted the outdoors and camping with my husband.mile away from the park Gremling. About 60% to 70% are repeats, but At The Woods, we have fun. I do my bestandrecallsvisitingit were amazed every year at how many first when Im developing a party atmosphere forwhen it had operated timers there are. our themed weekends. Gay men like to letfor 40 years as a hunting How does he do it? Everyone who stays at loose, forget about their everyday job, and actcampground. When he the park must be a member, paying $40 per like a kid again. We try to develop a commu-learned that the owners season or $25 for a one-time visit. As they sell nity where they can be themselves.were considering put- out nearly all of the 24 weekends they are Rodney Altemoseis dean of a communityting it on the market, he open during the year, they dont need to ad- college in nearby Bucks County, Pa. He andPat Gremling andhishusbandap- vertise,butessentiallyrelyonword-of- his husband go to The Woods eight or nineproached a friend to enter a partnership to mouth. Today, 13,000 people95% who are weekends each season and have been doingbuy the property and convert it into an LGBTQ menhave joined The Woods Camping Re- so for the past 11 years, primarily becausefacility. Located in Pennsylvanias Pocono sort.Everyweekend,theparkthrowsa they have friends there.Mountains,TheWoodstodayoffers250 themedpartyorconcertfromscheduled Its an inclusive, friendly environment, hecampsites, park model RVs and cabins, plus hikestocostumepartiestoparadesto said. From the beginning, we felt like we weretent camping in overflow fields. The parks Heyy Rides to leather contests to karaoke at home. We didnt have to worry about walkingclubhouseincludestheWoodsCafand to bear events. (The pool area is clothing around holding hands, kissing each other anddance club, a lanai and giant pool, hot tubs, a optional.) protecting ourselves. Its totally liberating,WOODALLSCM.com March 2021-27'