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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Friday, July 30, 2010


Recently, someone posted about us on their blog.  Normally the things that we see posted online about us are things that make us proud, but this one wasn't something that made us feel good about our park.  I know it is a case of "you can't please everyone" and a lot of it is just because other's haven't walked in your shoes.

One of our rules is that we don't allow anything tied, nailed, or chained to the trees or picnic tables.  The MAIN reason is several years ago, even though we had this as a rule at the time, a little boy got badly hurt by running through a campsite and catching a clothesline across his throat.  So, yep, that IS one of the rules that we DO point out when someone checks in.  Most of our rules are common sense, some of them are due to insurance requirements and others are just  a common courtesy that we hope our guests will show each other.   And since we don't have a check in form that guests sign (everything is on the computer) we have a different form that they sign that basically states they agree to read and abide by the rules and regulations and that we are not responsible for lost or stolen property.

Yep, it is getting time for Dan and me to retire. We’ve had enough of being babysitters and dogwatchers and reminding people to clean up after their pets and to get them on a leash. We’re drained by people who agree to read and abide by the rules but the next thing you see, they are out there washing their RV and/or vehicle, all kinds of soapy water and wasting water, or they have cut branches off from trees for kindling (green kindling??) So, you ask them, as politely as you can and without drawing attention to the conversation by other guests, “Did you get permission from someone to wash your vehicle?” The answer is always no, because there is no washing of RV’s or vehicles. So then you ask them, “Did you read the rules and regulations that you were given when you checked in? If you had read them you would know that you are not allowed to wash your RV or vehicle” Most people will say NO or others will say “I didn’t see it there.” People seem to forget that they are paying to camp on our property, not paying to own the spot that they are parked on.

And just recently we had to replace one of the hoses at the dump station because some little person was out there using it as a Tarzan grape vine…with his parents at their campsite watching him do it! I know replacing a hose doesn’t sound like much, but this type of hose involves basically taking the tower apart all the way down to getting to the inside hose (which the inside hose is only about 18” long but has a big spring around it). As politely as I could, I asked the parents why they thought that was a good idea for him to swing on that hose when there is a playground for him to play on. They told me that before that, he had the hose turned on and was spraying his sister and they were having a good time. LIKE WE WANT THAT GOING ON EITHER!!!! You wouldn’t think the parents would even WANT their kids handling a hose that was intended for campers to rinse out their SEWER hose! Nope, there isn’t a rule that states “DON’T SWING ON THE HOSES AT THE DUMP STATION”, but even if there was, would anyone read it??!!

A couple of weeks ago, WAY after quiet time when kids were supposed to be back at their campsite and off the playground, a mother came to our personal residence door and rang the bell.  She needed to know where the hospital was because her 18 year old daughter had gotten hurt playing tetherball....can you even figure out how someone gets hurt playing tetherball?  Anyway,  this is another point of why rules are in place; off the playground at quiet time...it is dark out there and you can't see what you are doing...and you will be disturbing others.

I can’t help but wonder, if these people had the electric bills to pay, the campground liability insurance to pay and all the repairs and maintenance that they don’t even think about or know about, would they be so apt to be disrespectful or your regulations and property?

I know, we are old fuddy-duddies who were brought up in an era when people respected each other and you didn't have to ask people to use common sense and courtesy.


  1. Your last statement says it all. Folks just do not 'respect' what is not theirs so they don't care. I'm so sorry you have to consider retirement because of foolishness like you described. All any of them had to do was to actually READ the Rules and abide by them to have a hazzard-free, relaxed vacation on YOUR property. There were times Bill and I thought of renting out the log cabin, but then, thought better of it for the very reasons you touched on. Liability is huge. Insurance is even bigger. I have never been to your campground, but I'm sure it is a great one or folks wouldn't keep returning. I hope the rest of your summer is more hastle-free but I wouldn't blame you for 'hanging it up' and getting on with your own peaceful existence. Tongue in cheek here, but have a good day. You are providing a service that is not being appreciated.

  2. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Cathy, would you mind sharing your rules with the rest of us? I'm curious as to how they can be so different from other campgrounds we've been in. If it isn't possible to put them here, could you email themt to me? I would send my address to you.

    Charlie in Hastings

  3. You said it all, Cathy...the rules are all common sense...but unfortunately, it doesn't sound like most of the "bad" campers are using any common sense.
    I hope you can sell your place soon and "retire" soon.....you deserve to have a hassle-free life again.

  4. Dar, We had considered renting out the Little Lodge as a month to month rental instead of a couple nights or a week, but the thought of having someone in there THAT long scares us! I think you made the right decision in NOT renting too!

    Anonymous, yes, I can post them on Yarns, but it won't be for a couple of days because I have something else I want to put up tomorrow.

    Retired One..I never thought I would ever be ready to "move on" but the last couple of years have proven me wrong. Being gone last winter gave both Dan and I the urge to be semi-retired! Thankfully, I'd say an easy 95% of the time, this is a VERY rewarding business to own (and I don't mean money-wise). And I can't help but wonder if people are just getting more picky due to the economy and the way life is today?

  5. Anonymous10:33 AM

    You should have the first line in your rules read that anyone violating the rules will have to pay [for example] one month's, or one season's insurance premium. And/or any campground equipment damaged by mis-use will be charged to their credit card.

    Just saying... if they thought they'd be held financially accountable, maybe they'd think twice?

  6. Anonymous12:31 PM

    I can't wait till you post the copy of your rules. I bet they aren't much different than other parks and people should be HAPPY that you CARE about their safety and your property. But yes, you soudn't have to be a babysitter for kids OR dogs!

  7. Gary H.12:42 PM

    Respect and responsibility went out when "demanding ones rights" came in !

  8. Ahh, dealing with the "public". Sometimes you just want to slap them.

    Sorry you're having to deal with folks like this but I supposed there's one (or three) in every crowd.

    Hang in there Cathy. xo jj

  9. Gary, I think that is part of the problem.

    Joanna, I really DO understand that people are entitled to their opinion but I don't think they realize how their choice of words can truly hurt a business OR a person. It would be different if Dan and I were absolute horrors but we have enough repeat business and enough compliments that I suppose I shouldn't let it bother me...but it does! Counting the days till we leave!

  10. Thanks to the two "anonymous's" for taking the time to post.

  11. Jack and Susan VanBuren6:40 PM

    Jack and I have been camping for years. We have a 40' motor home with a toad. AND we have stayed at your place a couple of times (and plan to be back next year). We found nothing wrong with your rules and in fact we are APPRECIATIVE of your rules. We've been at parks that have rules and don't enforce them; kids run wild and the property looks like hell!

  12. Jack and Susan, I THINK I remember you two! Most people thank us for the rules and for making sure they are enforced so it is a toss up I guess. Campers have told us they like it here because there IS someone who enforces quiet time and that our park is beautiful. Hope to see you next season if not before!


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