When Gwen Farber and her husband, Dustin, purchased their 44-acre campground near Cambria, Wis., 12 years ago, it was abandoned and littered with shingles, bricks and other construction materials, which had been left behind by the previous owner. 

But with unrelenting determination and repeated investments of at least $30,000 per year, the Farbers have gradually transformed the property into today’s Deer Creek Campground, which features 50 campsites with water and electrical hookups, including 10 secluded tent sites, all of which have access to wireless Internet service. 

The Farbers have also added family friendly attractions, including a playground, volleyball courts, a game room and an 18-hole miniature golf course. And the improvements are continuing today, even in the midst of a recession, according to a news release from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).. 

“Our plans for this year are to improve our old-fashioned, spring- fed swimming pool with a beach to make it more appealing and user friendly,” Gwenn Farber said. “One of our hiking trails crosses back and forth over a small creek. We will be building new bridges for the trail, and we will be finishing some landscaping.” 

And next year, she said, the campground hopes to add as many as 35 additional campsites. 

The Farbers’ efforts illustrate a national trend: The economy may be mired in recession. But private campground owners in Wisconsin and across the country are continuing to invest in improvements because they know that a good campground will always retain its appeal. 

In its most recent report on the states, ARVC noted these additional campground improvements across Wisconsin: 

  • Baraboo Hills Campground, Baraboo: This park’s latest improvements include a new jumping pillow and inflatable water toys. 
  • Buffalo Lake Camping Resort, Montello: This 110-site park recently added two recreational park trailer cabins, which it uses as rental units. This year’s improvements include campsite electrical upgrades and improvements in the camp store. 
  • Fox Hill RV Park and Campground, Baraboo: This 120-site park, which also has 12 log cabin rentals, has invested about $20,000 in various improvements this year, including retiling its swimming pool and remodeling its bathhouse, adding a nine-hole disc course and increasing its pedal cart rental fleet to five cars. 
  • Merry Mac’s Campground, Merrimac: This family campground, which features RV sites, park models and yurts, has invested more than $200,000 in improvements this year, including a jumping pillow, a water waters game and inflatable water toys. 
  • Riverbend RV Resort, Watertown: This park, which features an 8,000-square-foot waterpark with two 350-foot waterslides, has invested about $150,000 in improvements this year, which include a jumping pillow and inflatable water toys. 
  • Smokey Hollow Campground, Lodi: This campground has continued to invest in family friendly attractions, its latest being a miniature golf course, a giant motorized shopping cart that’s large enough to transport two adults and several children and a jumping pillow. 
  • Vista Royalle Campground, Bancroft: This 275-site park has invested about $250,000 in improvements during the past couple of years, including about $100,000 this year. Its latest improvements include three deluxe cabins, 10 additional seasonal sites, an additional nine holes to its existing nine-hole miniature golf course, and a mining attraction that enables children to search for gemstones and fossils. Other improvements include a new jumping pillow, new playground equipment and a new bathhouse.