Summer season best since ’08
Published: Thursday, September 27th, 2012
The summer season started much earlier for many businesses and attractions, but ended differently for everyone. With fire danger and dry conditions prohibiting regular camping activities, many campgrounds felt the sting.
“For the most part, we were above last year’s tourist numbers except for the month of July,” said Cindy Hammer of Beaver Lake Campground. “Retail and grocery items were down in July, such as sticks, marshmallows and crackers.”
Firewood sales were also down at Beaver Lake Campground and many other campgrounds in the Black Hills.
“The fact that it was over the entire Black Hills made it easier for us to deal with,” Hammer said. “It’s unfortunate, but necessary.”
“We sold firewood for only a couple of weeks before the ban was put in place,” said Greg Gunderson, manager of Flintstones. “We didn’t hear much complaining from customers. Most people understood our condition and were sympathetic.”
Custer State Park also felt the effects of the fire ban but still had great numbers for the year. According to Craig Pugsley, visitor services coordinator for Custer State Park, camping is up 4.7 percent from last year while visitor numbers are up 7.2 percent.
“It was a successful summer in the park,” he said. “I think visitors really understood our situation and the need for a fire ban and restrictions.”
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