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Yogi's Jellystone campsite expansion called 'smarter than the average park'

May 16, 2003|by JANET HEIM

WILLIAMSPORT - Business leaders and elected officials gathered at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts on Tuesday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the park's founding.

Annually, the local park and campground attracts tens of thousands of visitors. At a special ceremony, the owners of the park announced a major expansion plan.

According to Owner and President Ron Vitkun, "This park has grown a great deal in 30 years. When we took over this small business seven years ago, we had four employees. Today we have 30 people working here, and we anticipate to have more than 55,000 visitors come to our facility in 2003.

"Since we first purchased Jellystone, we've put a lot into expansions, and we're very pleased to announce that we are going to be building more cabins, install more RV sites, and more amenities."

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Vitkun showed the nearly 150 people attending the special ceremonies the new outdoor movie theatre being constructed, and some other new additions.

"We want to continue to invest in this business, hire more people, and grow Jellystone Park in Washington County. We're proud to be the most successful campground in Maryland, and we believe that we're going to continue to be the premier family camping destination in the Mid-Atlantic," he said.

Vitkun also displayed plans and schematics for a planned water park and entertainment venues.

Several elected officials presented congratulatory certificates and proclamations. Maryland Del. Bob McKee, chairman of the Washington County Delegation said, "Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park has been making memories for families for 30 years. On behalf of the entire Delegation, we wish Jellystone all the very best with its expansion plans, and we look forward to the next successful 30 years."

Washington County Commissioners President Greg Snook said, "We're very pleased to help with this celebration and recognize the importance of bringing so many visitors to our county. We welcome your expansion, and also all the new amenities that you provide to guests visiting Washington County. This just shows that Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park is 'smarter than the average' park!"

Snook also praised the park's work with Washington County Public Schools. "Jellystone Park does a lot of after-school and during-school activities and also opens up its park for various fund-raising and charitable events," he said.

The Boonsboro Middle School Jazz Band presented several musical selections, and Miss Washington County, Stacy Miller, sang the national anthem to open the festivities. Also present at the ceremonies was Vic Nolting, the vice chairman of Leisure Systems, Inc., the franchise corporation of Jellystone Parks throughout North America. Nolting cited the recent national awards that Jellystone Park here had won, including the highest award in the entire system of 70 parks.

"This park is the best of the best, and won the coveted Pinnacle Award, as well as the 2002 Best in Recreation Programming Award. It is an example of what can be accomplished by dedicated owner-operators and a skilled staff. Leisure Systems wishes all the very best to Jellystone Park, on this significant anniversary, and we also look forward to your expansion," he said.

The services offered by Jellystone Park include cabins, swimming, playgrounds, pavilions, hiking, programs, camping and miniature golf. The park is 90-acres, with many recreational activities and amenities.

To date, the park offers 160 camping and RV sites, 31 cabins, and more than 25 tent sites. The park even has luxury cabins and complete ADA-approved cabins. Recently the park made news by installing the first wireless Internet service of any campground in Western Maryland.

For more information about Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, call 1-800-421-7116 or visit the Web site at www.jellystonemaryland.com

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