The campground received the award after expanding its occupancies and revenue by 30 percent during the past year
The 142-site campground received the award after its new managers, Tom and Kay Vail, implemented a variety of improvements along with stricter enforcement of park rules, which have helped increase the park’s occupancies and revenue by 30 percent this year.
“My wife’s big thing is the cleanliness of the bathrooms and showers and laundry facilities,” Tom Vail said, adding, “We had a 98.8 on our reports.”
Other improvements included installing air-conditioning units in all of the cabins and lodges, all of which are pet friendly. They also leveled 50 of their campsites and installed lighting along the park fence. All of the park’s sites will be leveled before next summer.
The Vails also clamped down on enforcement of park rules. “Because this is a kids’ park, we want everyone to be safe,” Vail said. “We read the rules to people before they register at the park,” Vail said. “There is no marijuana smoking. No speeding. No people are allowed to come into the park late at night. So you know when you come into this park there’s not going to be a troublemaker beside you or someone coming in at 1 a.m.”
All RVs that come into the park are subject to inspection. “We want the nicer RVs coming in here,” Vail said.
The strict approach to parks rules, combined with a heightened focus on cleanliness, has helped to entice more campers and grow the park’s business base as well as its return visitors.
“We’ve already got people who have made reservations for next year,” Vail said, adding that additional security measures are planned for this winter, including the installation of a security gate. They also plan to re-sod their bark park and improve the park’s WiFi service.
The Vails are also stepping up their marketing of the campground as a base camp for people to explore western Colorado in all-terrain vehicles or by taking guided jeep and rafting tours. They also promote the park to hunting and fishing enthusiasts as well as to people who want to visit historic gold and silver mines and the national parks.
“We have people come here who have never been inside a gold mine or who have never driven right up to a bear or a moose or an elk,” Vail said. “But here, you can wake up in the morning and have a deer in your front yard or rent a jeep and spend the day exploring ghost towns or go fishing in pristine lakes and streams. You can even go ice climbing or skiing.”
Montrose also has a reconstructed Western town as well as a number of antique stores.
The Vails plan to begin marketing the campground and its furnished cabins and lodges this winter as a base camp for skiiers bound for Telluride, which is about an hour away.
Black Canyon Jellysone Park is located at 22045 South Highway 550 in Montrose and is open year-round. More information is available at www.blackcanyonjellystone.com.