ST. MARYS — Campers hitting Grand Lake St. Marys State Park will be able to take advantage of a new discount that is exclusive to the facility.
The new rates discount campsites and shelterhouse rentals by 50 percent and getaway cabins by 25 percent. The discounts are good through Oct. 31, excluding Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 and Oct. 4-6.
"It's been a little slow for the season overall," Grand Lake St. Marys Park Manager Brian Miller told The Evening Leader. "We had good Memorial Day and July Fourth weekends, but outside of that it's been slow."
Unseasonably warm temperatures for much of the summer may have kept visitors away, Miller noted.
"When it's hot like it was in July, it can deter folks," Miller said. "But I think bottom line is our overall lake situation. The thing I cannot stress enough is when people check in, we give them a survey card and they give those back as feedback — it never ceases to amaze me that we always get very positive feedback from customers."
From friendly, helpful staff and clean facilities, Miller said customers typically leave the park delighted with their stay. Visitors also comment on the water quality of Grand Lake St. Marys.
"Most people say it isn't as bad as they expected," Miller said. "Yet on the other hand they say they hope we can get it turned around so it can be advisory free and they can use it with their families without any concerns."
In addition to the discounts, visitors can enjoy a new restroom facility in the campground as well as other amenities. The campground boasts a miniature golf course, basketball and volleyball courts as well as corn hole tournaments and a naturalist.
"The restroom was opened in June, and we have been getting a lot of positive comments on that so far," Miller said. "Over time, we plan to start phasing in new buildings on our campgrounds. When that next phase will be, I am uncertain at this time."
With Labor Day a week away, Miller said he expects to see a full campground.
"All our reservable, electric sites are full," Miller said. "We are getting people coming in today to our walk-in sites telling us they will continue to pay through Labor Day weekend. So I am going to say all our electric sites will be full for Labor Day. For our nonelectric sites, it's hard because more and more people, even if they are using a tent, want electric sites."
Fishing continues to be a popular draw for the facility.
"We had a phenomenal spring that lasted a little longer than it typically does," Miller said, noting crappie were biting in the spring. "Right now, the main stay of fishing are the blue gill, catfish and bass. The crappies tend not to bite in the summer, but we are hoping that in the fall they will start biting again once when water starts to cool down."
After Labor Day, the campground will host its annual Halloween Camp-out in October.
"It will be the first weekend in October, and it's well received here," Miller said. "We get a full campground for that. The fall offers traditional camping — cooler nights make the bon fires more enjoyable and the fishing will pick back up as the water temperatures fall. There's still a lot of good camping left in the season.”