Hey Boo-Boo, No Camping for You! A Jellystone Resort Faces Backlash over Pop-Up RV Ban

Hey Boo-Boo, No Camping for You! A Jellystone Resort Faces Backlash over Pop-Up RV Ban

Update: 3/7/19, 6:00 pm—The resort has reversed its decision in a limited fashion under corporate pressure. More here

by Jason Epperson

MILLBROOK, IL — A franchisee of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts has decided to exclude tents and pop-up style RVs from its northern Illinois campground, citing a “vision of a resort that is exclusive to Travel Trailers, 5th Wheels, Motor Homes, Cabins and Park Models.”

The annoucement came Wednesday via a post on the campground’s facebook page:

While many RV parks disallow tent camping due to the lack of tent pads, and some very high-end resorts only allow class A motorhomes or fifth wheel trailers, it’s uncommon for big chain family campgrounds to exclude a particular type of RV unless it’s for safety concerns (i.e., campgrounds near bear habitats may not allow soft-sided RVs). Tents may kill the grass, but it’s not clear how excluding pop-ups (what the industry calls “folding camping trailers”) at a Jellystone is advantageous. Pop-ups are the most affordable of the different RV types, causing many in response to the post to express concerns that the decision is a play to keep those with lesser financial means out—especially when the only explanation from the owners is that it’s part of an “exclusive vision.”

Leisure Systems, Inc, the parent company of Jellystone parks, says it’s aware of the decision of the Millbrook franchise, but can’t control the rules that individual franchisees put into place. Most of the other 80+ Jellystone parks allow all types of camping units, even the most expensive of the resort-style locations. “Whether you enjoy the comfort of a cabin, are an RV enthusiast, or prefer tent camping, Jellystone Park’s first-rate accommodations, amenities and activities provide the setting for a fun family vacation that’s also easy on the wallet,” reads the company’s website.

The post has well over 500 comments, most directly accusing the campground of classism towards people who can’t afford more expensive RVs.

The owners of the Millbrook Jellystone—national mobile home park proprietor Zeman Homes—also own several other RV parks across the country, including the Oak Lake Family Campground in Fair Oaks, Indiana, and the Northwoods RV Resort in Garden Prarie, Illinois, where the same policy has been announced, garnering a similar response.

About author

Jason Epperson

Jason travels the country full-time with his wife Abigail, and three children.

Comments
  • Jim Nolan#1

    February 15, 2019

    Many parebts,with small children can’t afford big money campers ,we camped 30 yrs till we bought a motor home ,grandkids love it .

    Reply
  • Dave#2

    February 15, 2019

    It’s interesting that the owners have done this across all their properties. IMHO either it truly is classism, or they are just lazy and it’s much easier to put a rule like this is place instead of actually dealing with people on a case by case basis.

    Reply
  • Ed#3

    February 18, 2019

    If people just stop going there. They can’t survive without people camping there. You can bring them to their knees in a matter of weeks if everyone would stop camping at all of their campgrounds.

    Reply
    • Rich#4

      March 25, 2019

      We were seasonal campers at Northwoods in Garden Prairie. We started going there with our pop-up in 2012 and got to know a lot of the seasonals already there and fell in love with the place. We purchased a travel trailer in 2015 and parked it there seasonal. The whole family lives being there. Then Zeaman bought it. In two years the price more than doubled. Promises were made on all the improvements that we’re going to be available at seasons open last year, and none came true. The pool was supposed to be open by Memorial day weekend, it never opened last year. We decided to leave there last fall, and found a beautiful FAMILY OWNED campground on the south end of Rockford. Come to find out, quite a few of Northwoods seasonals already moved there. With the announcement of a pop-up and tent ban, our decision to leave Northwoods was further reinforced. We my comments were left on their Facebook page, they blocked me and deleted my comments, because they don’t like any negative feedback. We will miss the friends we made there. I hope the decision to exclude pop-ups and tents hits them square in the wallet. They already lost over half their seasonals last fall, and I know at aleast fifteen that are leaving at the end of this year now. Not a good idea to exclude hard working families from your campground. Tats the bread and butter of camping

      Reply
  • Dawn#5

    March 25, 2019

    When you realize the owner Zeman is a young, yuppie, middle aged man who graduated from Beverly Hills High School it begins to make sense his actions.

    Reply

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