New Business: Camping Cabins for Public Parks, At No Cost

For most of our company’s 30 year life, our primary business has been the turnkey operation (and sometimes refurbishment) of public parks and campgrounds.  Today we operate over 150 recreation areas under this model, managing most all the operations and paying all the expenses in exchange for a revenue share payment to the recreation agency.

As with all great new business ideas, we basically were dragged into this new cabin business by our customers.  The first to do so was California State Parks, whose director told me that they didn’t want or need someone to operate the entire campground at McArthur-Burney Falls SP, but they could potentially use some help refurbishing a dated and unpopular camping loop of 24 sites.

You can find the entire case study here, but in short we eventually agreed to convert this primitive camping loop into a cabin loop.  We installed 24 cabins (plus a campsite for our live-on-site host) for about $550,000.  The cabins became property of CSP and we also pay CSP a revenue share, which was over $71,000 in 2017.  The state got a valuable amenity for visitors and a large new revenue stream for no cost, no risk, and no extra operational hassle.

Unfortunately, I can be a bit slow at times and so it took a second customer, Alabama State Parks (case study here) asking for the same thing to convince use that there was a real need among cash-strapped public agencies to get private help to provide new amenities to visitors.  Our web site for this business is at park-cabins.com, and over the coming weeks I will describe more about how it works.