New York Campgrounds Saw Bustling Business In 2021
Privately owned and operated campgrounds across New York experienced record occupancies during the 2021 camping season, with business levels up 15 percent to 20 percent at many privately owned parks.
“We consider 2021 to be the busiest in the history of New York’s camping business,” said Donald G. Bennett Jr., longtime president and CEO of Campground Owners of New York, a campground trade association that hosts CampNewYork.com.
“Some of our members saw their business levels increase by as much as 45 percent over (2020) figures,” said Bennett, whose own park, Conesus Lake Campground in the Finger Lakes Region, experienced a 16 percent increase in business during that time frame.
Some campgrounds were 100 percent full in 2021, including Grant’s Vacation Place in Fair Haven, which also reported being at full capacity in 2020, according to park co-owner Carroll Grant.
Patty Jarnot, owner of Dream Lake Campground in Warsaw, said her business was up 15 percent to 20 percent in 2021. She attributed the uptick in business at her 96-site campground to multiple factors, including an increased number of campers and a high retention rate; many campers returned on multiple weekends throughout the season.
Business was up 45 percent at Whispering Pines Campsites and RV Park in Greenfield Center, whose business was fueled by the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and the reopening of nearby venues, such as the Saratoga Race Track and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, according to park owners Scott and Kimberly Foro.
Improved Access, Visitor Experiences On Tap At U.S. National Parks
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced new initiatives in November 2021 designed to increase access, support jobs, and enhance transportation on U.S. public lands. The secretaries signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen coordination of infrastructure investments and deployment of new technologies at National Park Service-managed sites.
According to the RV Industry Association, two key initiatives from the Memorandum of Understanding will positively impact the RV industry.
Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations: Identifying where en route EV charging stations are missing between parks and key population centers and working to fill these gaps. Adding charging stations within and beyond park boundaries will enable visitors who use electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to visit National Park Service sites and other federal lands. EV charging stations also will enable the park service to incorporate EVs into its fleets.
Advanced traveler information systems: Implementing mobile technologies and infrastructure to help travelers make more informed decisions about arrival times, road status, parking availability, etc., which could decrease congestion and enhance the visitor experience.
Secretaries Haaland and Buttigieg also highlighted how the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will help to modernize U.S. infrastructure, including on public lands and at national parks. At the Interior Department, the infrastructure deal provides a five-year reauthorization of the Federal Transportation Program, which will help invest in repairing and upgrading National Park Service roads, bridges, trails, and transit systems.
Forest River Continues Indiana Expansion
Forest River RV expects to bring 500 new jobs to Noble County, Indiana, in the next few years. Company officials announced the acquisition of three buildings in the town of Ligonier, which will add nearly 160,000 square feet for production of Forest River’s IBEX brand of lightweight travel trailers and room for parts and service.
Company officials also announced an investment of more than $4.4 million to purchase 65 additional acres in Ligonier, where it will construct three 95,000-square-foot buildings to house new machinery and equipment. This operation is estimated to bring more than 300 new jobs to Noble County when complete.
In August 2020, the company announced a $3.5 million expansion of its manufacturing campus in Butler, Indiana, approximately 40 miles east of Ligonier. That expansion was expected to create 369 new jobs by the end of 2023.
Forest River RV, a division of Forest River Inc., is headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana.
Innovative Motion Technologies (IMT), the parent company of Raffel Systems —designer, manufacturer, and supplier of integrated electronic controls and accessories for motion furniture, RVs, bedding, hospitality, health care, retail, cinema, and industrial applications —recently acquired Micro-Air. The latter company, based in Allentown, New Jersey, designs and manufactures electronic controls for heat and air-conditioning applications in the RV, marine, and residential markets.
Founded in 1983, Micro-Air offers products such as the EasyTouch RV thermostat, which provides smart thermostat functionality, and the EasyStart, a custom-developed soft starter that reduces an HVAC system’s start-up current and makes it possible to operate two A/Cs on a 30-amp circuit. Micro-Air sells primarily to the aftermarket through its online presence and through distributors, in addition to original-equipment manufacturers.
For more information, visit www.raffel.com or www.micro-air.com.