b'Industry Updatefrom page 16 the past, so we are encouraging campers to stilllook for the last-minute trips. We are also en-Our season began early this year because couraging mid-week stays where campers canthe weather has been terrific, noted Kathy find a spot a little easier at most parks. Fall fo-Dyer, the executive director of the Maine Camp- liage, Halloween activities and great weather al-ground Owners Association. Reservations are ways make the fall a busy and fun time inhigh,novacancysigns Pennsylvania.continue to pop up, very Dee Witting, executive director of the Car-few seasonal sites available olinas Association of RV Parks and Camp-sopeopleshouldcall grounds,notedthatahead and be ready to be reservations are up in 2021.flexiblewithdatesand Many are seeing newwhere they want to go. campers along with manyOur next big hurdle is oftheirreturningcus-getting the Canadian border tomers,shehighlighted.Kathy Dyer opened, sooner than later, Most of the campgroundsshe added. This closure has and continues to seenotrendtowardshurt many of our parks here in Maine. camping nights decreasing.Tennessee parks are having an amazing More families are looking to camp as a way to reconnect and with more remote jobs Manycampgroundshave Dee Wittingseason and we are so ex- available, many are staying for longer periods of time. Credit: Knoebels Campground added super sites and improvements to existingcitedaboutallthenew sites. Those sites are being booked immediatelycampers we are seeing. Its presidentofTACO.The frenzy. With more travel op- and reservations are continuing to come in forbeen a lot of fun to intro- high rate of RV sales is def- tions open, travelers have the remainder of 2021.duce them to an industry initely delivering a new and dispersed a bit, which has In New Jersey, campground owners are re-we all know and love, ex- slightlyyoungerdemo- takensomepressureoff portingabanneryear,accordingtoJoannplained Heather Blanken- graphic.COVID-19has outdoorhospitalityand DelVescio, executive director of the New Jerseyship, the president of the been a real shot in the arm recreation. Campers have Campground Owners Association (NJCOA).Heather Blankenship Tennessee Association of (no pun intended) to our in- been generally happy and New Jersey campgrounds are reportingRVParksandCamp- dustry. grateful for a site. Weekends higher than average occupancy not only on thegrounds. Fall camping sites are filling up fast. Brian Schaeffer As fire season ramps up are booked through fall, but Dyana Kelley weekend, but mid-week as well, and reserva-TheTexasAssociationofCampground outWest,thereissome many parks still have week- tions are coming in much faster than normal forOwners (TACO) said that parks in the Lonestar concern about the impact that it will have on day availability. In some cases, bookings are up thefallseason,sheex-state are at record occupancy levels. camping, but so far Dyana Kelley, the CEO and but not crazy. plained.PeoplearesoAdditionally, there is quite the influx of new president of the CampCalNOW RV Park and Mary Arlington, the executive director of the eager to be outdoors thatresidents to Texas and they dont all immediately Campground Alliance (CampCalNOW), notes Colorado Campground & Lodging Owners As- campingsitesareinde-find housing so some stay in their RVs or cab- that parks are doing well. sociation, the Kansas RV Park Owners Asso- mand and new campers areins/cottages while they seek permanent hous- Parks have been busy and full but not as in- ciation andtheSouth staying in our campgroundsing,notedBrianSchaeffer,theCEOand tense as last year, she said. Last year was a Dakota Campground Own- andfeelconfidentintheers Association, noted that safetymeasurescamp-parks in all three states are grounds have put in place.reporting very strong traffic.People new to camping are Joann DelVescioOvernight traffic is up at renting all kinds of outdoor lodging units andthe overnight parks, and de- getting into the camping scene. Most busi-mand is more than intense nesses in the areas surrounding campgroundsatthedestinationparks, are also reporting that campers are visiting theirMary Arlington she explained. Ive heard establishmentsandattractions,whichhasfrom some that theyre experiencing 95% to helped their businesses tremendously after last99% occupancy, even when they include week- year.days. Looking forward, Bambei doesnt expectIn Pennsylvania, Jason Vaughn, the execu- things to slow down industry-wide moving intotive director of the Pennsylvania Campground the fall.Owners Association, noted that parks have We dont see any trend that will cause thebeen fairing well. growth of camping in the fall to veer off pattern,Advancedbookings he explained. All the signs say that its going towere up partly because of be strong. Halloween has become a major eventthe unavailability from late for a lot of campgrounds around the country.lastsummer,hesaid. When a park decides to winterize, its basicallyPark owners are excited to because the cold weather is upon them. Theybe back to a more normal typically get through mid-October to the end ofyear, without a lot of the October before they have to think about that, butstresslastyearfromthe weve heard a lot of stories of campgroundCOVID-19 crisis and all the Jason Vaughn owners that used to be seasonal that just de-restrictions that were in place. They have begun cided, Hey, Im going to keep riding the wavebringing back many of the activities that families and keep my campground open all year.missed last year.Theres a monumental shift going on outOur parks are still continuing to see new there amongst campers, Bambei added. Thecampers and campers that experienced camp- brick-and-mortar jobs used to keep a lot of peo-ing for the first time during the pandemic, he ple tied to their home base and then COVIDadded. Although advanced bookings are up, changed all that. So now theyre going to plan acampsites still do remain available for families trip or two or maybe a whole lifestyle away fromthat are looking for last-minute weekend trips, home and thats why its enabling these camp-and cancellations are still a little higher than in grounds to stay open longer.WCM28 September 2021 Woodalls Campground Magazine'