Saturday, June 20, 2009

Montana campgrounds to up their ampage

Helena Independent Record - Helena,MT,USA
CANYON FERRY — It was back in the “low water” years that the owners of Kim’s Marina extended their docks farther into the bay to accommodate the larger boats and sailboats needing deeper water.

Now the popular lakeside marina is considering an upgrade to its many campsites to accommodate today’s larger RVs and trailers. Dual air-conditioning units, fireplaces, television sets and microwave ovens require more power.

Mary Ann Axtman, owner of Kim’s Marina, said more than half of her campsites still offer 20- and 30-amp breakers. They were fine a few decades back when campers used less power and stayed in smaller vehicles.

But yesterday’s plugs can’t fully accommodate today’s power-hungry campers, those seeking a weekend of solace by the water without giving up the luxuries of home.

“When this park was built in the 1970s, that’s what everything took — 20 and 30 amps,” said Axtman. “We bought the park this way. It’s kind of like bringing it out of the ’70s into modern times.”

Down the lake at the Silo’s campground and marina, manager Laura Obert has seen a similar trend unfold — larger RVs requiring more power.

Located at the south end of Canyon Ferry, the park offers 50 spaces. Of those, Obert said, 16 are wired to 50-amp breakers, but each of the 16 sites are booked. The waiting list, she added, is long.
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