After several years of remodeling and upgrades, the Homer/Baycrest KOA Holiday Campground has won the 2020 Kampgrounds of America President’s Award and KOA Founder’s Award, KOA announced in a press release earlier this month. The awards were presented on Nov. 11 at KOA’s Annual International Convention in Savannah, Georgia.
Owned by Shelly and Jeff Erickson, the Homer couple converted the former Baycrest RV Park into a KOA Holiday Campground in the fall of 2017.
“Isn’t that cool?” Shelly Erickson said Monday. “KOA has really high standards. We’re rising to the occasion to meet them and we got the award.”
KOA has several types of facilities, from the “passing through” journey designation to a full-scale resort. The holiday level includes amenities such as a store, a laundromat and showers, a dog park, and a playground.
“We want people to explore Homer,” Erickson said. “That’s why we’re only going to be a holiday.”
The Homer/Baycrest KOA Holiday Campground won the 2020 KOA President’s Award and KOA Founder’s Award on the basis of KOA surveys of thousands of campers.
“The KOA Founder’s Award, named in honor of Dave Drum, who founded KOA on the banks of the Yellowstone River in Billings, Montana in 1962, is KOA’s highest service award,” according to the press release. “It is awarded exclusively to those KOA campground owners and managers who attain world-class scores in both customer service and the KOA Quality Review. The KOA President’s Award is presented to those campgrounds meeting exceptional quality standards and who receive high customer service scores from their camping guests.”
“It’s such a pleasure to be able to recognize the wonderful folks wearing yellow who take such great care of KOA campers all year,” wrote KOA President and CEO Toby O’Rourke in the press release. “These KOA owners have made the right investments in their campgrounds to make them the very best in North America, and they’ve taken steps to ensure that their guests receive fantastic service and have the best outdoor recreation experience possible. This award is driven by feedback from campers, and that makes the KOA President’s Award all the more valuable.”
After it became a KOA campground, Erickson said over the past three seasons they have been expanding and improving the facility next to another Erickson family business, the Short Stop gas station and restaurant. Renovations have included upgrading the electrical system to 50 amps to accommodate modern motorhomes, adding a “glamping” style yurt, an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant cabin, campground sites with patios, an 8-bed bunkhouse and a dog park.
Future plans include a playground with a boat theme, a year-round shower facility and an indoor event venue.
“We’re hoping to put that together so Homer has another place to use for different events,” Erickson said. “And then we’re done working on it.”
Located at the top of Baycrest Hill near Mile 169 Sterling Highway, the Homer/Baycrest KOA is near another landmark — the former Homer landfill, now a transfer and recycling facility.
“I’m very excited about it. It’s different,” Erickson said. “The other thing that’s really cool — when people are driving to town now, they’re not turning and looking at the dump. They’re looking at us.”