23 thoughts on “Why doesn’t Northfield have a campground?”

      1. I’ve never understood why the area along the river from Highway 1 all the way to Babcock Park next to Culver’s has been left mainly to Industry and businesses that have no interest in the recreational and aesthetic value of the land on which they sit. Imagine a Northfield that not only embraced downtown but one that embraced the river. Shopping that faced the river with walkways, bike trails, restaurants with outdoor patios. Paths or waterway connections to the 5 ponds in that area. Paddle boat, kayak and canoe rental for those ponds. A riverside campground would fit perfectly into this scene. What we have now is prime lakefront type property that we have allowed industry to occupy. Why? Cemstone, The Publuc Works Dept, College City Beverage, Rent N Save, the elevator, Cannon Valley Coop, etc…all these business could easily have been located elsewhere if someone had had the foresight to see the value of this land. People come to Northfield for it’s historic downtown and it’s history, this could be one more reason for them to come.

  1. I’ve wondered the same thing. When I was on the park board here in Dundas, we looked at a couple of different places to build a campground. One was within Memorial Park (not enough land or would need to acquire adjacent parcel), and a couple of different companies contacted the city to develop the islands right off the CR1 bridge. I think it would be a nice amenity to add to either city, drawing in visitors to the area.

  2. The lack of a campground has been discussed by the CVB Board endlessly over the years, but it has never taken action itself on the idea. I think it would be possible for the CVB to spend some of its reserves to do some planning on this project or submit a request to the EDA to solicit potential campground operators to the Northfield area. A campground would be an excellent lodging addition for events like DJJD and the Vintage Band Festival in addition to everyday opportunities for visitors throughout the tourist season.

  3. Tent camped last weekend at a city campground in Stockholm WI. They have blue bikes for free use various places in town. I parked our car Friday and did not drive it again until Sunday. Nice!

  4. I think there may be some restrictions with the Cannon River’s Wild & Scenic River designation. The campgrounds in Welch area predate that rule. It would be nice to have some camping and canoe options in the area but they need to keep back from the shoreline. The Hidden Valley campground in Welch has not done a good job of this.

    I’ll check with my friends at DNR to see if they have more info. Of course that will have to wait till the state reopens.

  5. Interesting post. Someone just asked me the other day outside the co-op if there were any campgrounds around here. It took me awhile to think about it and answer. Maybe along with the campground we could get a local canoe/kayak outfitter!

  6. We’ve been wanting a campground in Northfield ever since we moved onboard our 36 ft. motorhome. Parking for weeks at a time in the driveways of family and friends isn’t convenient for anyone and who wants a 36 ft. RV parked next door? I wish Northfield would work on this. Visiting in the summer would be much easier if we could either bike or walk to town.

    Please give this consideration.

    Thanks,
    Maureen and Jerry Valley
    Mt. Dora, Florida

  7. Northfield had a campground for many years along the Cannon River…it was called a Tourist Park. It was located behind what is now The Crossing Condominiums. I’m sure the Historical Society has some photos of the campers in the late 1920’s and 30’s using the campground as cars became more popular.
    I’ve often thought that a campground, complete with electrical outlets and sewer connections, could be created where the rodeo site is located. With some nice plantings for shade it could be a great location. I’m not sure it would be possible to retain the snow dumping area if a campground is constructed here, but I would think there are other areas that would work for snow removal.

    1. Ray’s comments were very interesting. If there was a campground built in the rodeo area….and it’s used as a dumping area for snow, part of it could still be used for that as it would be closed for the winter anyway, wouldn’t it? Most RV parks and the campgrounds at State Parks in MN close on or before October 15th. Of course there is the issue of utility posts containing water, sewer and electric…and the dumping of snow would have to be in part of the area that is used for extra parking, check in, etc.

      Maureen Valley
      Mt. Dora, Florida

    2. That area is too small and too close to the highway (noise). Lanesboro’s municipal campground is about that size and you feel like your stacked in there like cordwood. What about the area between Arby’s and the River. I think someone was talking movie theater out that way a few years ago that never came to light.

  8. Does anyone have any estimates of what it would cost to set up and annually maintain a campground verses the estimated revenue it would produce for the city? If it could not pay for itself, then, IMO, it would be a foolish expenditure.

    1. River Falls operates a campground. $15/night.
      http://www.rfcity.org/parks_parks.asp
      I don’t see any numbers in their budget, but I’d guess that someone in the Parks department there could tell you.

      I’m wondering if Memorial Park would be a good location. There appears to be room, and it might be feasible to let campers use the pool’s existing bathroom & shower facilities.
      http://www.ci.northfield.mn.us/assets/a/Appendix-A–Jefferson,-John-North,-Lashbrook,-Liberty-Prairie-Hill,-Memorial.pdf

  9. Kathy Feldbrugge, Executive Director of the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce, emailed me about this issue:

    Many years ago, the CVB asked the City to provide a public RV Park, and several presentations were made to the Park Board and Council. At that time the City was not ready to construct a RV Park/ Campground, but did provide a temporary site for a few years for recreational vehicles to park without electrical hook-up or fees… it was the area near the rodeo site on Highway 3.

    The City’s Park Plan did mentioned Schilling Park as an area for future camping, but I don’t know if it still does. According to information our office receives, local lodging taxes can’t be used for constructing buildings, bike trails, campgrounds, etc. … but can be used to market these and other tourism amenities.

    Today, many in our community are discussing the arts as a tourism priority, and promoting Northfield as an Arts Town. That’s not to say that a RV Park couldn’t be successful in Northfield, however, the City has to determine the needs and priorities and how city dollars should be spent.

    The City can collect the local lodging tax on RV sites as well as charge a Park/camping fee to campers. When we prepared RV Park presentations for the City in the past, we learned that city-owned RV Parks made enough money from visitors’ fees to break even and in some cases make a profit.

    Permanent RV Parks provide electrical hook-ups and a dump station, usually public restrooms/showers, and possibly a playground/recreational area… no matter how the RV Park/campground is designed, there are initial expenses and ongoing maintenance.

    Today, because Northfield does not have a RV Park, people traveling in recreational vehicles are directed to neighboring cities that have camp sites and amenities. RV campers that our staff sees or hears from are primarily families and seniors who like to travel to different places to bicycle, hike, golf, eat, shop and enjoy local events and entertainment.

    RV Park/Campground is certainly a topic worth discussing again to determine if there is interest by the City to have campgrounds available in town.

  10. I’m delighted to see that this thread has generated enough interest to bring the subject before the Park and Rec meeting.

    Having stayed in hundreds of campgrounds, both public and private in the last 20 years, the going rate is about $20 to $50 a night. $30 was the norm for full hookups. I would hope that when this is discussed, the notion of business generated for downtown shops and restaurants would end up on the plus side.

    RV’ers driving $250,000 motor homes tend to eat out alot and they have considerable disposable income.

    Thanks…and I’ll be watching this thread with great interest.

    Maureen Valley
    Mt. Dora, Florida

  11. Maureen, you’ll be happy to know that indeed, there’s progress. I attended last night’s Park & Rec Advisory Board (PRAB) meeting. They were definitely supportive of both an RV park and a tent camping area and would be willing to make some recommendations on which areas of which city parks might accommodate them.

    They didn’t see it as their role to lead on this, however. So the plan was to have a PRAB member attend upcoming meetings of both the EDA and the CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) to begin collaborating on next steps.

  12. Griff….great news!!! I lived in Northfield long enough to know that things don’t happen overnight. (grin) But the ball is rolling and I hope it gains momentum. One thing they’ll have to consider is Northfield’s FLOOD PLAIN!! But they know that. An RV Park that’s under water part of the year isn’t going to generate much revenue.

    Oh…and one more thing. Most parks have ‘Camp Hosts’….that is to say that in exchange for a full hook up site….the camp hosts act as security and are there to handle the concerns and issues of the campers. It cuts costs!!

    Thanks for your input.

    Maureen Valley
    Mt. Dora, Florida

  13. Hey, I’ve got an idea for the perfect site. It’s by the river, easily accessible, near the downtown, isn’t being used for anything productive or appealing at the time and already has utilities and parking stalls available for rvs. The Crossing, somebody call John Wall!!!

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