The economy may be mired in recession, but that hasn’t stopped private campground owners in Pennsylvania from investing in new campsites, cabins and other upgrades for the upcoming camping season.

“The recession is temporary, and most campground and RV park operators believe that it behooves them to move forward with their improvement plans to remain competitive with other travel and tourism options,” said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), in a news release.

As a result, she said, many private park operators are investing in new facilities and amenities this year, which include everything from cabins to activity centers and miniature golf courses, skate parks and waterslides. For example:

  • Buttonwood Campground in Mexico plans to invest $160,000 in improvements this year, including a miniature golf course, a new satellite cable TV system, an upgraded Wi-Fi system, laundry facilities and two park model cabins.
  • Elizabethtown / Hershey KOA is spending $150,000 to build a new swimming pool complex and rebuilding campsites to better accommodate today’s larger RVs in addition to extending its Wi-Fi and cable TV access.
  • Hershey Highmeadow Campground is planning to spend about $400,000 this year on campsite and cabin upgradess.
  • Kozy Rest Kampground in Harrisville is investing $300,000 in improvements this year, including two full-service cabins, a new maintenance building, a new bathhouse and laundry, as well as the installation of sewage service to 22 of its campsites.
  • Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Mill Run is investing $300,000 in numerous improvements this year, including a new activity center, new tables and barbecue grills, new restrooms and a new laundry facility, expanded swimming pool decking and three park model cabins, which boost the number of available cabins to 26. The park has 226 RV and tent sites.
  • Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Quarryville, which added a $2 million waterpark as a major attraction last year, is spending more than $400,000 this year in 11 new cabin rentals, including six park model cabins and five site-built cabins that will boost the total number of available cabins to 40.

The push by private park operators to improve their facilities has been going on for many years. In fact, three quarters of private park owners made an average of $147,508 in improvements to their parks in 2007, according to the National Operations & Economic Survey of RV Parks & Campgrounds, which was sponsored by the ARVC Foundation and conducted by the Arizona Hospitality Research & Resource Center at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

Profaizer cautioned that not every park is investing in capital improvements this year, and some may hold off on projects until later this year until they get a better sense of where the economy is going and how their business is doing.