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Campers are coming to Point Mallard in record numbers. Melvin Williams of Athens, a retired milkman, makes balloons and spinners.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Campers are coming to Point Mallard in record numbers. Melvin Williams of Athens, a retired milkman, makes balloons and spinners.

Record number of campers staying at Point Mallard

By Catherine Godbey
cgodbey@decaturdaily.com 340-2441

Do you yearn for the sound of crackling leaves, the smell of a burning fire and the taste of melting s'mores?

These allurements are enticing people to pack their tents, gas their recreational vehicles and head to campgrounds.

According to revenue reported by the Decatur Parks and Recreation Department, campers are experiencing these sounds, smells and tastes at the Point Mallard Park campground in record numbers.

In 2006, the campground registered its highest-revenue year, bringing in $328,000. This amount smashed the previous record intake in 2004 by $61,000.

The current fiscal year's revenue, October 2006 to September 2007, is set to shatter the numbers from last year, Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Dunlap told the Parks and Recreation board Thursday.

"The campground is staying packed," Dunlap said. "This year we've already exceeded last year's numbers."

Dunlap credits the high quality of customer service and the new reservation system.

The constant availability of campground employees appeals to campers, he said.

Customer service

"Customer service is everything, and the campground workers are out there 365 days a year, 24 hours a day to answer every need."

Campers recognize and appreciate the service. The majority of complimentary letters Point Mallard receives praise the staff and services, said Parks and Recreation Marketing Coordinator Julianne Lowman.

Tara Mitchell, who travels across the country because of her husband's job, applauded the campground service.

"This is one of the top campgrounds I've stayed at because of the upkeep," she said. "My favorite service is the valet trash. ... All you have to do is set it out, and they'll pick it up."

Attractions

The proximity of attractions, such as the water park and bike trail, also draws visitors to the campground like Jon Morton of Savannah, Ga., who is enjoying the campground with his son, Tyler, and his nephew, Michael Harrison.

"It's awesome! We get to go to the water park and we get to ride our bikes," Tyler Morton exclaimed.

In 2005, Parks and Recreation implemented a policy allowing people to reserve camp sites in advance. The reservation policy caters to campers from outside Decatur who want to be sure they'll get a site.

"The campground is unbelievable," Dunlap declared. "We've still got three of the biggest months ahead of us."

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