SHELBY — With Gov. Mike DeWine lifting restrictions on camping May 21, hundreds of people flocked to campgrounds across the state over Memorial Day weekend, including the Shelby-Mansfield KOA, where all sites were full with the exception of a couple cabins and a few tent camping locations.
Vicki and Garry Cole own the Shelby-Mansfield KOA, and recently purchased the former Pine Lakes Golf Course near Mount Gilead with another KOA owner.
It is being refurbished into the Mount Gilead-Mid-Ohio KOA Holiday campground, located across from Mount Gilead State Park on Ohio 95.
It is expected to open July 1.
Vicki said they were excited to open their gates at the Shelby-Mansfield KOA to guests, pointing out seasonal campers were allowed to start camping May 1.
Although there are some regulations and not all activities are open at this time, Vicki said people were happy to get back out and enjoy Mother Nature this past weekend.
“It was busier than we thought it would be,” she said.
She pointed out on Tuesday, May 26, they were allowed to open their swimming pool for campers.
“But we don’t have any dates on when we can open back up the jumping pillow or out pedal carts or the playgrounds,” she said. “Those are the only things that aren’t open yet. The boats are open, and the basketball courts and tennis courts are open as of today (May 26).”
Discussing some of the other regulations now that they are open, Vicki said no visitors are allowed at camp sites, pointing out everyone on a camp site must be a registered camper, unless they are family. Family members can visit each other on different sites.
She said all the linens and pillows in the camping cabins have to be cleaned and sanitized before they are put back in.
“And the salt and pepper shakers and mustard and ketchup bottles on the tables at the Kafe? Those are all off the tables and we have carry out packages of mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise and everything for them. And with coffee, all the stirrers have to be wrapped, the straws are wrapped and cups for the cappuccinos have to be behind counter so people aren’t touching them.”
She also noted all staff must wear face masks when they are around people. Vicki said they were working on these changes back in April.
KOA also rents out golf carts to patrons and Vicki noted they sterilize those between uses.
Vicki said it is obvious people are ready to camp again, as the weekend of May 29 all RV sites are completely booked.
“From here on out it’s pretty full,” she said. “So people are ready to get out and go. We had some cancellations because some people aren’t ready to get out, but that’s OK. People who want to get out are going to come. They want the fresh air, they want to relax with their families and enjoy family time.”
People wanting to make a reservation at the Shelby-Mansfield KOA may call 419-347-1392.
For the Mid-Ohio KOA in Mount Gilead, call 419-946-1856.