Despite facing many new challenges last year, including being closed for about half the year due to COVID-19 lock downs, construction work and then the Valley Fires closures - we’re pleased to report that we had our best year on record nonetheless.
It was a back to back onslaught that we couldn't have prepared for, while we reached peak growth and visitor demand.
We’ve seen our highest demand ever in 2020 and that momentum has continued into 2021. We were projecting very strong months even in December and January, which are historically low months for us due to the cold and weather.
We apologize for all the cancellations these past 2 months. The closures continued to be extended, which we didn't expect.
We see no indication that it will be extended past the 29th. We really hope that this is the case. We have plans in the works in case it does. We'll keep you posted as the situation develops and rest assured that we'll be hosting you at an alternative and exciting NEW destination.
We’ve done our best to continue managing guest expectations and the rising demand, while supporting the mission of the USFS during these turbulent and unprecedented times.
We are very hopeful to be back in operation on January 29th and that outfitting activities will no longer be shut down. The demand has certainly been there and people are visiting the areas regardless. Outfitters play a very important role in supporting safe and responsible recreation activities to the public. They serve as brand ambassadors for USFS while supporting many other education and outreach initiatives to the public.
Now more than ever, these services are needed as more and more visitors seek mountain and backcountry experiences. The demand on our destination as a whole has never been greater.
We’re seeing this all across Julian and other rural areas of San Diego.
This travel and experience trend seems to be rising all across the country. You can refer to this article for more info:
In San Diego, much of this seems to be fueled by the lock downs. With everything closed down the hill including events, people are flocking up to the backcountry for a little respite and fresh mountain air. As more and more people are working remotely, they can basically work from anywhere. Many new residents are moving to the mountain as a direct result of this opportunity, while van lifers and digital nomads spend more days in campgrounds and recreation areas.
With kids no longer at school or distance learning, we’ve seen so much demand from families that are cooped up at home. We think this is such a great opportunity to support outdoor learning programs, while getting children back into nature and becoming brand ambassadors for our USFS and Cleveland National Forest.
It’s a very exciting time!
We believe this is a testament to the resilience of our sustainable business model, as well as the benefits of the USFS Outfitting and Guide program.
This all started as a pilot project back in 2017, thanks to Lindsey Steinwachs efforts towards developing the Outfitting and Guide program.
Since those humble beginnings 3 years ago and through government shutdowns, construction work, snowstorms, many closures and now a pandemic - we have remained scalable, innovative, and financially stable as a company, while serving the USFS mission as our primary objective.
We’ve identified new demographics, which demand will only increase, as more and more newcomers and novice campers learn about our destination and hospitality concept. We have 3 years worth of data, stats and consumer feedback about the growing experience travel and hospitality market in San Diego.
As a result of COVID-19 lock downs in 2020, we haven’t even fully tapped into our potential as a company.
We’re working hard towards launching our mountain bike rental and gear program, as well as event outfitting at the El Prado, Horse Heaven and Wooded Hill Campgrounds.
We continue to work very hard in support of safe, responsible and conservation oriented recreation development.
Looking forward, we have a lot of new ideas in support of the outfitting program in general. We hope to work closer with some of the other outfitters, as well as the non-profits such as the SDMBA, in support of responsible recreation development in the Cleveland National Forest.
We'll be working closely with USFS on various public awareness and outreach campaigns, towards educating visitors about trail etiquette, volunteer opportunities, environmental stewardship and responsible travel.
In closing, we would like to recognize the Descanso Ranger District office for making this all possible. We hope to continue living up to their expectations and being a strategic asset for them in the years to come.
Thank you for all your continued support and dedication to the glamping tribe.
We have some very exciting things ahead.
Shantel and Rami Abdel