Breaking ground for campers

Photo by Bob Hembree/Lake Powell Chronicle. Page city officials from left to right, Tim Suan, Judy Franz, Mayor Levi Tappan, Alisha Kelly, Ron Colby, Ken Sasaki, Scott Swank, Danny Berndt, Melissa Olsen, and Wes Clark.

City and campground come to terms

By Bob Hembree
Lake Powell Chronicle

PAGE – In 2017, Gary Yamamoto purchased private land in Page. The plan was to expand Page-Lake Powell Campground to help meet the growing demand.

Ron Colby, vice president of operations at Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, analyzed the numbers and told the Chronicle, “Page’s tourist business has bloomed over the last eight years or so. We were turning away so many campers and there’s no place else for them to go in town.” Colby counted reservations and drive-ups turned away for almost a year, an average of 94 units a day. 

Colby said, “The peak season used to be from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Now we’re pretty well sold out between March 1 to the end of October.”

The campground was in operation long before Yamamoto purchased it in 1978. They were ready to move forward with the current project but there was a problem. The city’s zoning code had no provisions for camping and RV parks.

Colby said he worked with the council members and former Page City Manager Mike Celaya for a year and expressed his frustration at city council meetings over the zoning problems and the urgency of getting them updated. He said, “I’m sitting on a piece of property trying to raise revenue––for the city also. The frustration was incredible.” That changed when Page recently updated the codes, but there were still cloudy areas to resolve. One was a requirement that all the campsites had to have paved roads. Colby said that would have cost them several million dollars in asphalt and cement. He said, “It would take me seven and a half years to pay for all that.”

The engineering and zoning technicalities and practicalities eventually found a common ground. Page Mayor Levi Tappan, the Chamber of Commerce, city and campground staff held groundbreaking ceremony Monday. Colby hopes to have the 47 new RV spots completed by April. He said local contractor, “Crowther Builders is going be our general.”

In addition to RV and tent sites, the campground has furnished covered wagons available. There are currently four. Eight more are planned.