Have you ever wondered what a seasonal campground owner does during the “off-season”? Well, we never really are “off-the’clock”, even when the campground is buried under the snow! It’s much like being a teacher (which I was for many years before we bought the campground)….they never really have the summer off, and we don’t have the winter off.
First of all, we take reservations 365 days a year, so the phone / email reservation system is always busy with questions, reservations and travel questions. Guests who are beginning to plan their vacation call or email with questions about the Black Hills and area attractions, along with questions about the campground. This is one of my favorite parts of the job! Gary and I were born and raised here in the Black Hills area, and we love the chat with folks about the incredible beauty of nature here, and the variety of activities in the area.
Paperwork is another of our “off-season” tasks. We have to clear out all of the reservations from the previous year, create a new reservation book, file monthly state sales tax forms, close out our accounts with all of our vendors, and update our licenses with the State of South Dakota among other things.
Project planning also begins for the next year. We prioritize a list of maintenance items and campground updates each fall, and we hit as many of them as we can in the fall and spring, depending upon the weather. Some fall seasons are long (and beautiful!), so we can remodel, paint, re-seed grass, etc. Other times we are closing in the snow, so projects have to be put on hold.
Throughout the winter, we plan menu items, experiment with recipes, sew curtains (well, Gary doesn’t do any of that 😉 ) etc.
Like any other job, it’s a good thing that we truly love what we do, because it doesn’t seem like “work” to us!