Private campgrounds and RV resorts in Maine and across the country are collectively moving ahead with capital improvement projects this year, despite the recession, according to a survey conducted among private park operators and industry officials by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
“Our members are forward-thinking, and they are actually anticipating an upswing in camping and other affordable outdoor recreational activities this year,” said Richard Abare, executive director of the Maine Campground Owners Association.
Among the campgrounds making improvements are these:

  • Balsam Cove Campground, Orland: The owners of this campground, located on Toddy Pond, are investing more than $400,000 in improvements, which is being used to upgrade 63 campsites with new water, sewer and electrical hookups; the addition of five pull-through sites with 50 amp electrical hookups; and 10 other new campsites with hookups. Other improvements include a 25-by-50-foot pavilion to accommodate outdoor dinners and arts and crafts classes. The park has also added a small gazebo at the waterfront for bands and other entertainment as well as a pirate ship and sand box in the children’s play area. The money is also being used to pay for new horseshoe pits, road improvements and additional campsites.
  • Bayley’s Camping Resort, Scarborough: This 727-site park is finalizing a $3 million expansion that includes the addition of 200 new, 2,500-square foot campsites and 100 upgraded campsites with 50-amp electrical service and wireless Internet service. The park has also built new fishing docks and a new restroom facility and created a new access road and new walking trails.
  • Narrows Too Resort, Bar Harbor: This 200-site park, owned by Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), has just completed a multimillion dollar renovation project that included reconfiguring the property to optimize ocean views and drainage; redoing all campsites and equipping them with 50- and 100-amp electrical service; building a new clubhouse, store and bathhouse; and remodeling the arcade building and resetting its cabins so that they are a stone’s throw from the ocean. “With the reconfiguration, there are several sites that have the feeling you’re virtually hanging over the ocean. They are quite spectacular,” said Pat Zamora, an ELS spokeswoman.
  • Paradise Park Resort, Old Orchard Beach: This park is investing $650,000 to expand from 172 to 230 sites. All of the new sites will have water and sewer service, 30- and 50-amp electrical service and cable television hookups. The park is also adding a new pool and spa along with a new 1,800-square- foot bathroom and laundry facility. “Our 2009 outlook is very strong,” said park manager Jim Halle. “Reservations are ahead of 2008 and we have seen an increase in demand for our park model rentals versus past years.”
  • Pinederosa Campground, Wells: The owners of this 162-site campground have recently completed construction of a new 84-site campground that will open in May. The new campground features a meandering layout unlike any other campground in the area. All campsites in the new park feature water, sewer, cable TV and 50-amp electrical service.
  • Sand Pond Campground, Sanford: This park, which has 1,900 feet of waterfront, plans to spend about $150,000 in a park expansion this year that will include the addition of 50 spacious campsites with water, sewer, Wi-Fi and 50-amp electrical service; an in-ground swimming pool; new playground equipment; a large community fire pit and a baseball field. Last year, the park spent a similar amount adding another 25 campsites as well as a 40- by 90-foot covered pavilion, which can seat up to 300 people for outdoor functions.