NY Times: Keep America Camping with Treehouses, Yurts

Photograph by Mike Belleme/New York Times

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an edited excerpt of a report by Seth Berkman published Aug. 28 by The New York Times. Read the full report here.

Some families plan annual summer trips in a quest to eventually visit every major-league ballpark across America. Over the past two years, Patty Lin Growden and her family have taken up a similar pursuit: campgrounds.

Ms. Growden, her husband and two sons had never gone camping together before the pandemic. But after their first experience in August 2020, they purchased a recreational vehicle and became frequent visitors at Jellystone Park campgrounds, collecting tie-dye shirts and snapshots with Yogi Bear and friends at various locations.

Ms. Growden said her family hoped to visit a new campground each summer, although they may not get to them all — there are currently 83 Jellystone Parks in North America, with plans for more locations concentrated west of the Mississippi River.

“It’s time where we can come together as a family,” she said. “We don’t see this ending anytime soon.”

As pandemic restrictions wind down, camping is showing signs that it may maintain its popularity even as many Americans become more comfortable with indoor activities.

The global market for camping and caravanning is expected to grow 6.6 percent from 2020 to 2025, according to Research and Markets. And the number of R.V.s shipped in 2021 jumped a record 39 percent from the previous year, according to a report from StorageCafe, a unit of the real estate software company Yardi Systems.

To capitalize on that increased interest, national campground companies like Kampgrounds of America and Northgate Resorts, which owns several Jellystone locations, are moving beyond triangular tents pitched on bumpy dirt patches. They’re adding accommodations akin to those found at resorts, and are tacking on theme-park attractions like zip lines and water slides.

“During the pandemic, I think people came and understood what camping was in the 21st century,” said Robert Schutter Jr., president of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, a franchise system owned by Sun Communities, a real estate investment trust. “It wasn’t looked at being this roughened type of scenario. It was an offering with very strong comforts of home while you still were able to enjoy the outdoors with your family.”

Read the full report here.

Source: https://rvbusiness.com/ny-times-keep-america-camping-with-treehouses-yurts/