A campground located near New York City and another near Washington, D.C., reported precipitous declines in business volume this week following the terrorist attacks on Tuesday (Sept. 11).
“We’d be averaging a minimum of 40 check-ins a day right now,” said Mike Gurevich, co-owner of Cherry Hill Park, a 350-site campground in College Park, Md. “We haven’t had that — total — in the last three days, and a lot of people who were here left.”
Cherry Hill Park is 15 miles from the Pentagon and smoke from the fire was visible at the campground.
“The fall season is a very busy time for us,” Gurevich said. “Our outlook right now is pretty bleak. We’ve had a lot of calls canceling reservations and reservations themselves have fallen from 15 or 20 a day to five or six.”
However, Gurevich said he doesn’t believe that people now are afraid to visit the nation’s capitol. “At first, that’s what I thought, but now, I wonder if it’s because people just want to be home with their friends,” he said.
Meanwhile, across the Hudson River from where New York’s World Trade Center towers stood, the Liberty Harbor Campground in Jersey City, N.J., also experienced cancellations and a decline in reservations, according to Linda Howard, general manager.
Forty-two members of a group of RVers staying at the combination RV park/marina were in the ABC Building in Lower Manhattan at the time of the attack. “The trade center was on the itinerary,” Howard said of the RV enthusiasts who were on a trip sponsored by Affinity Group Inc.’s Woodall affiliate. “They didn’t get there. Nobody was hurt, but it took them six hours to get back. It should only take 20 minutes.”
The group checked out of Harbor Campground two days ahead of schedule, she added.
“We’ve had massive cancellations,” said Howard, who witnessed the entire World Trade Center tragedy from her park. “One Good Sam (tour) group already has cancelled, and so have two groups from Canada. It is going to be a big chunk of business, but there is not a whole lot that I can do about it. People are afraid.”
The decline in business at Howard’s campground, located north of Liberty State Park, is being partially offset by emergency workers from outside of the New York metro area who are staying at her facility. “I’ve already taken two or three of those reservations,” she said.