Mountain & Trail News

    Kampgrounds of America Celebrates 50th Anniversary

    Billings, MT– Kampgrounds of America (KOA), a network of 485 campgrounds across North America, is celebrating its 50thanniversary in 2012.

    As part of the its anniversary festivities, KOA, in conjunction with Keystone RV Company and the Coleman Company, will give away a $40,000 Keystone Vantage RV, along with 50 weeks of camping and eight monthly $500 shopping sprees this year. Those interested in participating should visit where they can enter each week to win.

    The 50th anniversary of KOA is more than just an iconic company celebration; it commemorates a brand that has helped shape the camping industry, as pioneers in outdoor hospitality.

    KOA has always managed to stay one step ahead and has evolved by giving campers exactly what they want. With the addition of Deluxe Cabins (complete will full bathrooms) and unique accommodations, such as tee-pees and Airstream trailers, KOA provides campers with unequaled experiences and appeals to people from all different walks of life.

    KOA also evolved with the technology era by allowing campers to book reservations online. Microsoft Tag technology in all KOA directories allows campers to use their smart phones to access special deals. Today, camping with KOA is more than just pitching a tent; it’s everything from ice-cream socials to heated pools and on-site stores that carry the latest in camping essentials.

    “KOA made it a policy to listen to our campers; their feedback is what has helped shape KOA into what it is today and what has helped us thrive for the past 50 years,” said KOA CEO Jim Rogers. “The giveaways that we have planned for KOA’s 50th Anniversary are to thank our campers for being so loyal over the years.”

    It Began With A Dream 50 Years Ago

    Kampgrounds of America has been providing quality family camping to travelers from around the world for the past 50 years.

    In those nearly five decades, the familiar yellow KOA sign has welcomed millions of campers to the 485 KOA Campground locations throughout the United States and Canada.

    KOA is proud of the role it plays in fulfilling the American dream – the freedom to travel anywhere you want, anytime you want.

    KOA’s success story is a great story on many levels. Here’s how it all began:

    The year was 1962. As Billings, Montana businessman Dave Drum walked his cottonwood-shaded land along the Yellowstone River, he watched baggage-laden cars and RVs zip down U.S. 10 on the way west to the Seattle World’s Fair.

    Always Ask Campers What They Want

    Drum knew affordable places to stay were few and far between for those weary travelers. He saw an opportunity.

    Drum quickly constructed a campground on his land that offered hot showers, clean restrooms, a small store and a patch of grass – all for $1.75 a night.

    The campground was an instant hit. Drum was on the campground nearly every night, talking to campers about their desires. They told Drum they only wished they could stay in quality campgrounds throughout their travels.

    By the summer of 1963, Drum had two partners and a vision to create a system of campgrounds throughout North America. The familiar logo was created and franchises started to sell. Kampgrounds of America was up and running.

    By the end of the 1969 camping season, KOA had 262 campgrounds in operation across the U.S. In 1972, just 10 years after KOA’s creation, the franchise system had grown to 600 campgrounds.

    Times were good. America’s love affair with the recreation vehicle was in full swing. Then came the Arab oil embargoes of 1973 and 1978. At a time when many travel-oriented businesses were failing, KOA was able to weather the storm due to the strength of its system.

    Today, KOA remains strong because the company believes in asking campers what they think through its annual Kamper Satisfaction Surveys, and meticulously inspects campgrounds and works with owners and staff to ensure they all meet the high standards of quality KOA campers demand. KOA’s annual 600-point campground inspection is the most stringent in the business.

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