There has been an increase in business each year at Hardwood Lake Campground near Prescott, Mich., since Geraldine and Jack Lawrence took over as caretakers in 2006. And this year has been no exception, according to the Ogemaw County Herald.

“We’ve had campers from the very first weekend of May, and it’s been busy every weekend since,” Geraldine Lawrence said. “We’re ahead of where we were last year.”

Jack Lawrence attributes the increase in the number of campers partly to the quality of the campground. He also feels it’s because there is a caretaker around the area at all times.

“I think the biggest improvement has been that someone has been here 24 hours a day, seven days a week, where in previous years it hadn’t been,” he said. “I think most people would tell you it’s because we’re people persons.”

The campground currently has 22 sites that have access to electricity, and 18 sites that are rustic. Seven of the electrical sites and two of the rustic sites are being used this year by seasonal campers – individuals who stay from May 1 to Sept. 30. The campground is owned and operated by Richland Township.

Even though more than half of the sites have access to electricity, Jack Lawrence said the campground could always use more electrical sites.

“Of course we don’t want to lose all our rustic (sites), but I would like to see five more or maybe even eight more (electric sites),” Lawrence said.

Geraldine Lawrence said something else the campground needs is showers.

“When people call and want to come, they want to know if we have showers, and we don’t have showers,” she said. “That’s our biggest hang up.”

A couple more improvements the Lawrences would like to see are more trees and playground equipment.

“We would like some people to come forward and maybe donate a tree or two for the campground or money for trees, whatever, because we’re over 90% ash,” Jack Lawrence said. “And if the ash borer gets in here, we’re in trouble.”

Geraldine Lawrence said they would also like to have at least two more docks put in for people who like to go fishing or launch boats to go tubing or skiing.

All of these changes cost money, though, and the Lawrences said they may be increasing the camping fee slightly to help make these improvements possible.

“Right now it’s $13 with electricity, and $8 for rustic, but we’re thinking that we should go up just a little bit, not much, but maybe $10 for rustic and $15 for electricity,” Geraldine Lawrence said.

The campground has a playground, volleyball court, basketball area, four docks for fishing and launching boats and a swimming beach.

“Everybody’s welcome,” she said. “But they have to remember it is a family park.”