Thousand Trails is searching for more campgrounds to acquire, particularly in Pennsylvania, Michigan and the Southeastern states of Florida, Georgia and Alabama, according to John Malone, the company’s president and CEO.
“We are definitely interested in acquiring more campgrounds,” Malone said in a recent article to club members through the Frisco, Texas-based company’s Trailblazer magazine. “Our number one priority is the Pennsylvania area because the Hershey Preserve is a very high-volume park and it’s our only preserve in that state. Number two would be Michigan. This state ranks fourth behind California, Florida and Texas in terms of the number of RVers.
“Our third choice would be the ‘Florida, Georgia and Alabama corridor’ with an emphasis on Florida. Florida makes sense because of the high usage at the Orlando and Peace River preserves. In fact, the Orlando Preserve is the busiest park in our system with more than 2,600 people a day during the peak season.”
But while Malone was quite specific in terms of identifying the areas of the country that most interest Thousand Trails for campground acquisitions, he was not prepared to lay out a timetable for making such acquisitions.
“Unfortunately,” he said, “I can’t predict when this is going to happen because so much depends on finding the right campground at a reasonable price. We’ve had good success with the acquisition of the Ponderosa Preserve in California and the Peace River Preserve in Florida, so I am hopeful we will find other acquisitions to grow the company.”
On other topics, Malone said Thousand Trails has spent about $2 million per year on capital improvements at its nearly 60 preserves during each of the past five years.
“For 2005, we expect to spend around $4 million,” Malone said. “By doubling our capital expenditures, this means more road repairs, more electrical repairs and improvements, and new rental accommodations.”
Since last summer, in fact, Thousand Trails has purchased 75 new rental cabins to replace the old rental trailers. The company has also upgraded the sewer systems at several of its preserves.
Renovation work is also continuing at Thousand Trails’ Oakzanita Springs Preserve in the mountains east of San Diego, Calif. The park was severely damaged during the wildfires that swept through much of San Diego County in October of 2003.