Editor’s Note: The following article by Woodall’s Campground Management, sister publication to RVBusiness, examines the impact of the manhunt for fugitive Eric Frein on Pennsylvania campgrounds, and the resurgence since his capture. For the full report click here.
Campground owners in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains are welcoming a return to normal after the capture of a fugitive wanted in connection with the sniper-style deaths of two law enforcement officers. They are lamenting the loss of business during the massive 49-day manhunt, but are thankful the ordeal is over.
Eric Matthew Frein is the suspect in the Sept. 12 deaths of Cpl. Bryon K. Dickson II, an officer of the Pennsylvania State Police and Alex Douglass, another state trooper in Pike County. Both men were killed by bullets fired from a sniper.
A massive manhunt ensued, and Frein was captured Oct. 30 at an abandoned airport near Tannersville.
The manhunt encompassed multiple areas in Monroe and Pike counties, located east of Scranton, Pa., in northeast Pennsylvania.
Obviously, area campgrounds were affected, including Ironwood Point Recreation Area in Greentown, Hemlock Campground and Cottages in Tobyhanna, Mountain Vista Campground in East Stroudsburg and Mount Pocono Campground in Mt. Pocono. All four campgrounds have closed for the season as of last weekend.
Debbie and Scott Roberts are the owners of Mount Pocono Campground, located just three miles from the abandoned airport where Frein was captured.
Debbie told Woodall’s Campground Management their business was down 40% in September and October.
“They captured him on Thursday and we closed for the season on Friday, and it wasn’t like we got a zillion calls for reservations on that last day we were open,” Debbie said.
She was at a loss as to why her campground was affected so severely, questioning law enforcement’s extreme response and the media’s sensationalistic coverage. “We bump up against state game land so maybe that was it, but I guess you can’t guarantee safety,” she said.
Debbie said police presence at her campground didn’t really pick up until the last stages of the manhunt. At one point, she said, two patrol cars drove through the property. Then, on another occasion, police came into the campground with bomb-sniffing dogs that were brought in from Philadelphia.
“It got to be a real joke after a while,’ she said. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted they caught him, but after a while they were grasping at straws.”
Debbie said she and her brother are looking forward to things returning to normal. She said they have even started getting reservations for next year. “But it was a tough seven weeks for us,” she said.
For the full report click here.