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
- 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.