b'Ray Zobel, left, with Steve Kissner, an electrician working on an expansion project at Custers Gulch RV Park and Campground.Cabins at Custers Gulch RV Park and Campground in Custer, S.C., require winterization.For Northern Parks, Checking the Right Areas is Key When Opening a Park Come Springtime n BY JEFF CRIDER scape.tional Forest and is only 20 miles from Mountshower and laundry facilities.Preparing for summer opening is trickyRay has been an integral part of our ex- Rushmore and 16 miles from Wind Cave andBefore opening, the Zobels also must take business for northern parks, and much of it,pansion, Elaine Zobel said. He drew out theJewel Cave national parks. The Crazy Horsetwo different water samples and have them of course, depends on the weather.maps for the expansion. But any time you tieMemorial is only 10 miles away.tested by a laboratory in Rapid City, which This year is especially challenging for Ray(new campsites) into your sewer or septicOur plans for expansion were made aftersends the test results to the South Dakota and Elaine Zobel and their son, Ryan, ofsystem, you have to get your plans approvedthreeyearsofseeingmoreandmoreDepartment of Health. The state also con-Custers Gulch RV Park and Campground inby the state. campers come to the Black Hills, Elaineducts its own random water tests at the Custer, S.D.WhileconstructionoftheparksnewZobel said, adding they want to provide acampground throughout the camping season. Not only are they gearing up for what couldcampsiteswasprogressingsmoothlyatservice to local campers as well as touristsWhile the Zobels were busy overseeing betheirbusiestseasonever,buttheyrepress time, the Zobels said they wanted towho have been flooding this area during theconstruction of the parks new campsites,in adding 30 full-hookup RV sites and two bath- hold off on taking reservations for their newsummer months.turn, the Quigley family was working with its rooms to their 62-site park, which they hopecampsites until after they are completed.But even without adding new campsites,staffattheYogiBearsJellystonePark to have completed in time for their May 15They are hopeful that once the sites are fin- the Zobels and their dozen work campersCamp-Resort in Harrisville, Pa., to unpack opening.ished, they will book up quickly.spend weeks preparing for their annual Mayhundreds of boxes of items for their 1,600-When Woodalls Campground MagazineTheir park, which features aspens, pon- 15 opening with tasks ranging from hiringsquare-foot camp store.caught up with the Zobels in mid-February,derosa pines and large grassy areas, is lo- work campers to cleaning the parks groundsYou have to open the boxes and scan they were closely monitoring their contrac- cated on the land where General Georgeand five cabins to turning on its water pump,every item, price them and stock them onto tors work on everything from building theirArmstrong Custer camped during his Blackchlorinating its water and checking its waterthe shelves. Its quite time consuming, said new campsites to the timing of planting newHills Expedition of 1874. The park is sur- lines to make sure there is pressure at everythe parks co-owner grass to ensure the greenest possible land- rounded on three sides by the Black Hills Na- campsite, as well as at the parks bathroom,Gary Quigley.When WCM spoke with the Quigleys in mid-February,they had recently hired a new activities director afterpromotingthe parks previous activ-itiesdirectortothe positionofgeneral manager.Gary QuigleyQuigley said they find it difficult to hire people for the summer season in early winter because most people dont want to interview for a job they cant start until several months down the road. They usually end up doing most of their hiring in late February and early March, while focus-ing their staff training on late March and early April. While the Quigleys advance planning for their April 15 opening includes the creation of lengthy pre-opening checklists and staff as-signments, involving everything from grounds cleanup to making sure every department is fully stocked with all the supplies they will need, its hard to avoid the sprint that takes place the last couple of weeks before the park openspartly because of the weather.Because of the freezing weather, a lot of things you just cant do until right before you open, Quigley said.He added that its been unusually cold late into the spring season in western Pennsylva-nia in recent years. We have had snowy, cold, freezing weather even into April and into the first or second week of May, Quigley 16 April 2022 Woodalls Campground Magazine'