When Shawnie and Oliver McMichael took a weekend camping trip with their five kids and other family members a few weeks ago, they didn’t have far to go.
They camped at the Black Canyon Jellystone Park Camp-Resort – just a few minutes away from their home in Montrose, Colo.
“My husband wasn’t convinced it was going to feel like camping because it was so close to home,” Shawnie McMichael said. “But he actually liked it.”
While the campground has RV and tent sites, it also has lodge rooms that families can rent if they don’t have an RV or tent or if they need overflow space for large groups. The park, in fact, has had many improvements in recent years.
Formerly known as Country Village RV Resort, it was acquired three years ago by John Barber and a group of investors bought the park out of bankruptcy court.
“It was in pretty rough shape,” Barber said of the then mostly vacant 140-site park.
But after investing roughly half a million dollars in improvements, including a new swimming pool, a new septic system and new paint and carpeting for the park’s buildings, Barber and his investor group are now targeting the family vacation market by joining the Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts chain.
“We’re officially a Jellystone Park now,” Barber said, adding his park is the third in Colorado to join the national franchise chain, which is famous for offering fun, family activities throughout the camping season.
Barber is already developing an activities schedule that will include ice cream socials, indoor movies and scavenger hunts. He’s also planning several themed weekends, including a murder mystery weekend and a chocolate themed weekend later in summer. Halloween themed weekends are also being planned for the first two weekends of October.
Barber is also continuing to make improvements to his park, including expanding the campground store.
The park is located about 9 miles south of Montrose, 70 miles south of Grand Junction and is about 25 minutes from Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Other Colorado Jellystone Parks are located in Estes Park and Larkspur.