Marine Park in Pouch Cove offers great family camping, top-notch convenience and now exciting and adventurous summer camps for kids!
Dave Snow, owner of Lakewood Development which owns Marine Park in Pouch Cove, says he is living the dream. Growing up in a family of seven, with every family member embracing the great outdoors and everything it had to offer, Snow says offering today’s generation a chance to discover and enjoy what was so much a part of his own upbringing is a mind-blowing opportunity. Whether providing a chance to enjoy the great outdoors at Marine Park as a camper, or by upping the ante with a unique summer day camp operated through Max Athletics, Snow said getting outside and embracing the outdoors is key.
“Being outdoors, it’s how we grew up,” he begins. Snow reflects back to a favourite family photo. “We as a family, we have this picture. My mom and dad, everyone in uniform. Myself and brothers in Boy Scouts, my three sisters in Girl Guides or Brownies, the seven of us in uniforms. I grew up going hiking in the woods with my dad for three days, and I think that’s missing today. As a business man or as a parent, when I was raising my sons, I said we only have a few years to instill in them the things that they will have to carry for a lifetime. So what’s important to me? What do I remember best about growing up and spending time with my family? All the best memories I have are when we were outside doing things together.”
With that in the back of his mind, Snow reached out to Max Athletics. “They are leaders in their field. I wanted them to do a Marine Park Summer Camp. A kid can tell you how to get from level four to level six in a game but they can’t tell you how you would know if water is safe to drink. They can’t tell you, if you were in the woods, how to walk out of it. They probably can’t tell you how to survive in the water or how to light a fire or how to stay warm at night, so we’ve raised a group of humans that are very inept at things that are real and very connected to things that are not. The Max program, we’ll have a university trained outdoors specialist who can teach these great skills,” Snow says with pride. There will be also be field trips, fun time outdoors, swimming, geocaching, orienteering and outdoor hut construction. The program is open to campers, but also to the general public. Snow says keeping a program like this accessible to all is key. “We envision that this place is sort of like a big family here, and I think that’s part of why I have the place and why I work so hard at offering things like this Max camp. It’s so I can offer my version of the world to others. We are a family campground. Yes. That’s what we are. But there’s so much more to offer from a place like Marine Park.”
With encouragement and assistance from his brother Bruce, Dave says asking questions like; what else would be cool? has helped grow his business into something he’s incredibly proud of.
ONE CAMPER AT A TIME
Currently licensed for 350 camp sites – 90 of those added over this past winter – Snow says his business has grown and changed so much since he first put chainsaw to tree in 1997. “We build campsites based on what we think is the upcoming demand and we judge that based on how quickly our sites lease in a particular year and how long the waiting list is. We like the seasonal (camper)business that we’ve built, and we’ve built that one camper at a time. One of every four families that came in for the night or come for a weekend say something like, we really like it here. We had a ball. The kids really enjoyed themselves. We’d like to stay. And they stay. Come in for a weekend, experience the property, which we think is pretty beautiful, and experience the environment that we hope we’ve fostered.”
The original feel-good vibe of Marine Park hasn’t changed, Snow says. “Back when we were smaller, under 80 campsites, people would say, ‘it is really nice here.’ They still say that. And that’s important,” he says sincerely.
Snow recalls back to a time when he lost sleep over a $400 invoice he received for blasting through a rock to make one of the park’s earliest roads that connects the Marine Park site.
“We took this place from one full time employee and two part time staff to what it is now, and it’s been an incredible ride,” he says with a chuckle.
Today, Marine Park offers boat rentals, mini golf, giant water slides with more being constructed and a beach-side concession stand that serves hot food and cool treats. There’s also Levi John’s Country Convenience store that houses both Greco Pizza and Captain Submarine (delivery to campsites available!) and so much more. Besides the summer camp, Marine Park is also offering on-site babysitting training and lifesaving courses. Snow smiles.
“Our model seems to continue to be successful as things continue to grow and expand. The things I had envisioned are happening. Now, I see a swimming pool, more food concessions, five giant water slides, a splash pad. I’m not done dreaming yet. I have this long-term vision; grow, but keep it organic and pure and real. We want Marine Park to be the place we can be proud of saying we own. Always.”