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Message from the Manager: Camping is Closing?

The 1965 World Series featured the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Minnesota Twins. It is best remembered for the heroics of Sandy Koufax, who was named the series MVP after missing the first game but then pitched shut outs in two other games of the series.

What does that have to do with Sesquicentennial State Park? Nothing at all, other than I guarantee you that campers were huddled around a radio propped up on a picnic table in the campground, listening to every call of the game. Starting December 1, 2020, there will be no sports fans huddled around campground picnic tables at Sesqui listening to any games. There will be no more camping at all...for a couple seasons. We are shutting down that side of the park for repairs that should take every bit of six months.

Camping has been a fun attraction at Sesquicentennial State Park for generations. The 1st loop, originally the only loop, was installed just a few years after the park officially opened to the public.

A restroom with showers was installed in the center of the loop with each campsite having a water spigot & small power pedestal. These were luxury amenities in the 1950’s & 60’s. With Sesqui being such a popular spot, people from all over brought their tents, pop-up campers, and fancy Airstream trailers to stay in the only campground near the state capital. That still holds true today.

Regular State Park campers love to visit with other campers. Getting outside, gathering around the campfire telling stories, sharing dutch oven recipes, and making new friends…are all mainstays of state park camping. With the addition of electricity in the 50’s & 60’s, you could do all sorts of things like listening to the World Series on the radio right by the campfire…or even better, inside the trailer when it’s raining! An electric fan could be a lifesaver on those famously hot Columbia afternoons! Electricity makes way for another mainstay of camping…gadgetry.

Ever since a young boy scout was introduced to a Swiss Army knife, there have been all sorts of gizmos on the market that can revolutionize your camping experience. Electricity fuels gadgetry in even more directions. The booming RV/camper/trailer business has been at the forefront of this gadgetry, and so our electrical demands have increased.

Let us pretend we have a top-of-the-line, new camper at Sesqui in the year 2020. We could still tune into the World Series on the radio, but not likely. If the weather is nice, we would watch it on the tv mounted to the outside of our camper. Yes, the outside tv! Outdoor tv’s are usually mounted in the exterior cabinet beside one of the electric sliding walls (slide-out) that expands the interior camping space. The little exterior refrigerator would most likely be in the same area. The tv is usually just under the exterior mounted speakers, below the built in LED light track that is incorporated in the electric awning that completes what is known as the “outdoor theater area.”

Wait, just hold on a second. We are in famously hot Columbia! The sun is straight above blazing down on the campground, and you can almost drink the humidity in the air. Mosquitos are swarming, there is no breeze, and its miserable outside. It’s okay! We have nothing to worry about. Inside our RV we have two air conditioning units, three satellite tv’s, satellite radio, and wireless internet running from your cell signal amplifying antenna.

The electric stove, microwave, toaster, refrigerator, dishwasher, wine cooler, lap top computers, electric fireplace, video game systems are all ready to go to keep you comfortable & occupied while you’re waiting for better weather.

With more & more gizmos using electricity, keeping up with the growing demand has been an issue. The Sesqui campground has not seen an electrical upgrade in more than 40 years. That will change this winter in the 1st loop of the campground. We could not swing enough money to attempt utility upgrades in the 2nd loop at this time. But the 2nd loop will be affected by this change. There will be no baseball games heard on the radio back there either. To do this project, we will have to shut down all camping for at least 6 months.

Sesqui will be upgrading electrical system from our current 20/30amp hook-ups to 20/30/50amp service. For those not in the know, our current power pedestals have a regular wall socket (20amp), and then a laundry dryer socket (30amp.) The new system will have both plus an odd-looking socket that has a lot more juice running to it (50amp.) To do this, it takes more than adding a new box with an extra socket. All current electricity in the campground will be terminated for safety during this upgrade. We must run a whole new electrical line from the main power transformers through a new breaker array, and then down to each campsite. There will be trenches dug across campsites, walkways, and even the roads to make this happen. While we have the all the roads & sites dug up, we will be replumbing all the water lines to each site and adding new, fancy water spigots that are guaranteed not to freeze. To do this safely without drowning ourselves & equipment, all current water access must be terminated as well. If there is anything left in the bank, we will try to sneak in some sewer connections on as many sites as possible.

You would not think camping could be so complicated! It does not have to be. You can still unplug and escape to nature in our campground. Tent camping still, and will always be, welcome at Sesqui. A simple radio on the picnic table will tune you in to the big game just as fine as it would have in 1965. Not all RV’s have all this electronic gizmo & gadgetry. But our campgrounds must keep up & evolve with the campers’ needs in mind. Sesqui hopes to knock it out of the park with our new upgrades this coming summer! Whether low-tech roughing it or high-tech glamorous camping…it is still hot out there. Sesqui will be ready for every camping league soon enough!

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