Are All Camping Clubs Like Port Susan – Part II

Answer: Dear Glen and Mae: (Continued): There are many reasons people join camping clubs. The age of the people buying the membership and the kind and age of their RV has a lot to do with park use. Many young families like to camp without having to travel. Many seniors are past wanting to pull a RV and many people in between just like a close-by getaway. Camping clubs serve all those purposes well.

It is a great place to store and protect a RV when it’s not on the road, first of all. People like to put a roof over their RV to get it out of the weather, once they have chosen a lot as part of their membership. In most clubs, if not all, there are covenants that involve a permit and inspection process regarding building new structures…whether roofs, decks, gazebos, sheds or add-on rooms.

Some retired people make a camping club their home, either year round or seasonally. In Port Susan there are many “Snow Birds”. Some move one RV from their summer site in the North to their winter site in the South…and some have one at each destination. In addition, there are couples who buy two lots in one park and spend the maximum of six months at each location. Some, again, do that with two RVs while others move one back and forth. We even know a couple that lives in Hawaii in the winter and in Port Susan Camping Club in the summer! “Sea Birds”?

Elderly care is often factored into whether retired people are stationary or seasonal camping club members. Some have a caregiver spouse and some have caregivers who come into the park to render them assistance. This often postpones or even eliminates the need to move into assisted living facilities.

The assortment of ages, needs, focuses and inclinations of its diverse membership often makes a camping club a very interesting place to reside or visit on occasion. We love to take long walks just to see how differently people develop their lots and we also enjoy meeting and talking with the people who come and go on a regular basis.

Our personal choice has been to live in a senior living community while parking our RV at the Port Susan Camping Club close by. Yet another option. Blessings, Luise

18 Responses to Are All Camping Clubs Like Port Susan – Part II

  1. D. March 8, 2009 at 12:16 pm #

    Dear Luise: My family has recently been forced out of Port Susan Camping Club. Our family purchased two lots about three years ago with the hopes of living and raising our children in the seclusion of the old growth forest and out of the city. Things were great at first, but over time our happiness was pecked away at by water shortages, ridiculous amounts of power outages, unprofessional staff, overbearing rules(which take all the fun out of camping related activities, i.e; no bbq’ing, no campfires, pool closures, unpleasant members who don’t like young children, and Nazi-like park rangers. My husband received a $249.00 fine for reckless driving when the throttle got stuck on our truck and ended up in the ditch. One of the rangers was forced to write up the ticket against his own will. He was threatened to lose his job if he refused to do so and if he were to side with my husband he will be fired!! The staff doesn’t like my husband because he stands up to their unprofessional and fraudulent way they conduct business. There are many, many unhappy members at this club. I warn anyone considering buying a lot there not to do so. You will regret it! D.

    • Luise March 8, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

      Answer: Dear D. I have had a very different experience over the last twenty years. That doesn’t mean I doubt you, it just hasn’t been that way for me or my son, who still has two sites there. Blessings, Luise

    • Port Susan Camping Club Manager March 22, 2009 at 10:30 am #

      Dear Luise: Thanks for your concern and the opportunity to respond to the comment you received. While no response will ever satisfy everyone, and certainly not someone who feels they have been unjustly treated, I will nevertheless respond to the best of my ability.

      First of all, it should be noted that the rules & regulations and by-laws were written and approved by the members of the club. Administration is held accountable by the members and the board of directors for the enforcement of these rules and by-laws. When a members appears to have run afoul of these rules and/or by-laws, a ranger has the discretion to provide a verbal warning, a written warning and/or a violation. There is no quota for rangers to warn or write-up members and there is certainly never any threat of loss of a job, for failure to write a member a warning or violation. This simply is not something I nor the Board of Directors would tolerate, and is just wrong. Could a Ranger have made this statement to a member in an effort to avoid the wrath of the member at the time and re-direct it elsewhere? Absolutely, and this would be just plain wrong and a real personnel performance issue.

      To ensure the rangers and/or staff are not over stepping their scope of authority, a member who receives a violation then appears before a Violation Review Committee (VRC), comprised of park members to hear the member’s story about the violation. The VRC has the board granted authority to either uphold the violation, to dismiss it and/or pass it along to the Board of Directors for a decision. When the board hears a member’s position on a violation, it also has the authority to either uphold it, or dismiss it. If either the VRC or the Board sees a pattern of abuse by staff or Rangers, the Manager is brought into the picture to determine if a problem exists and to determine a corrective strategy. To date, I have never been contacted by either the VRC or the Board of Directors to deal with an out of control Ranger or staff member. While members who find themselves with violations, sometimes view the Rangers as a problem and/or violators of their personal rights, the vast majority of the park members see them as helpful, friendly staff members whose primary mission is to be ambassadors of good will and to provide some level of park security. The Port Susan Camping Club has 2500 camping sites and I would dare to say, that the vast majority of the members staying on these sites would disagree with the feelings and charges delineated by this particular disgruntled member.

      I would like to close by letting you know, I frequently and regularly remind my staff that the members of the Port Susan Camping Club are their customers and their ultimate bosses. They are to be treated at all times with respect and courtesy, just as they would like to be treated.


      Don Franks, Manager – PSCC


      • Willie russell December 19, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

        While there are many good things about Port Susan remember it is run by members, most who have agendas. Rules are enforced as management decides on your status so maintain good management connection. Good luck

  2. Luise March 22, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    Dear Don, Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on the above. Your input is greatly appreciated. Blessings, Luise

  3. R. July 6, 2010 at 8:01 am #

    My wife and I toured the PSCC last summer, and again last month. We have chosen not to consider it further due to our own experiences with Rangers and the sales staff. As the ones who bear the burden of first impressions with potential buyers, they should be the most careful about how they treat people who may partake in their paychecks. However, they do not.

    PSCC Rangers are 50/50 nice and obnoxious, on power trips with authority over members, or so they think. Little do they know members have other ways of dealing with such problem people. If you are fortunate to visit PSCC on a day when a nice Ranger encounters you, you will leave with a good impression. If not, well, you get the point. However, the dozen or so members I have spoken with over time tell me they know which Rangers are nice and which simply act as wardens. Half of them, seniors, told me they wished they could leave, but financially they were stuck there.

    With such glaring testimonies about PSCC from their own members, there is no way I would subject my family to condo-assn irresponsibility and callousness. No amount of money saved can buy happiness when you have to deal with such people on a regular basis. Just not worth it.

    There are several other camping clubs in Western Washington, and we elected to buy up in Sequim. Not cheap, but the reviews by members there were more 90% good/10% bad, instead of 60% bad/40% good. A much better combination.

    Good luck in your decision to buy. R.

    • Luise July 8, 2010 at 11:14 am #

      I have belonged to PSSC since 1978. I’ve seem some of what you report but not anywhere near that %. My son has had a place there for seven years. They live in Kauai and come over for the summer every year because they don’t like the heat. (Thank heavens!) They too have had a mostly positive experience and since life isn’t perfect that works for them. If you have found a place you like better, good for you. PSCC isn’t for everyone. Blessings, Luise

  4. V. March 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    I was seriously considering buying one of these lots, but after reading so many negative reviews on several different sites regarding Nazi park rangers, I think I’ll pass. V,

    • Luise March 17, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

      There are 2,500 lots in Port Susan but you just never hear from the happy people. My son has two lots there and loves it.

  5. S. April 16, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    We drove by PSCC a while back and thought it may fill the need for us to have someplace to camp very early in the season and late into the fall. The summer time being left for travel to various state CG’s we like.
    I was surprised by how many sites are for sale (good thing) and how much info is left off the web-site. Missing details like dues. transfer costs, utility fee’s (sewer pumping, elect if any) and their desire to view my personal finances alarmed me. A credit check is fine but you have no right to see my finances. Also in viewing the properties for sale, it is apparent that a few members don’t take very good care of their sites. (A rule banning blue tarps would go a long way). Some site look like they’re just used to store excess trash and vehicles.
    The final nail in the coffin is all the bad reviews I’m seeing on-line. With all the reports of rangers bullying members and utility issues, you have real problems. These issues will not be remedied until they are recognized and addressed.
    Due to these issues and all the poor reviews that I’ve read here and elsewhere, we’ve reluctantly decided not to buy into PSCC. S.

    • Luise Volta April 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

      S. – You might want to take a look at Lake Connor Park.

  6. J. May 28, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    When I was a kid, my father and I looked at Port Susan when it first opened. I remember asking the salesman if that is tribal land, how can non tribal people own it. He said they didn’t, it was leased. Last I checked the lease was running out soon and the tribe was intending on taking it all back. I never hear anyone talk about that. It is only going to devalue and in the end there is nothing but a decision of what to take with you. If anyone knows of a place to buy into other than PSCC and Lake Connor within an hour or two of North Seattle I would like to hear about it – even if the guards are grumpy, J.

    • Luise Volta May 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

      J – The last I heard the lease isn’t up until 2032. For many of us…it just isn’t an issue.

  7. J. May 30, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    When I was a kid, my father and I looked at Port Susan when it first opened. I remember asking the salesman if that is tribal land, how can non tribal people own it? He said they didn’t, it was leased. Last I read the lease was running out soon and the tribe was intending on taking it all back. I never hear anyone talk about that. As the clock runs down lots can only devalue and in the end there is nothing but a decision of what to take with you. I would have bought a place up there already if it weren’t for that. Lake Connor is nice but the building rules are much tighter and I really want somewhere else. If anyone knows of a really good, but not too expensive and not run down place to buy into other than PSCC and Lake Connor within an hour or two of North Seattle I would like to hear about it – even if the guards are grumpy J.

  8. Christine December 11, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    We are currently looking into sites at Port Susan after many bad experiences with rude people while we were camping at various campgrounds. Our friends have been at Port Susan for 4 years and recommended it to us. The staff in the Sales office have been very friendly and helpful. I have also been pleasantly surprised by how friendly the members are. While driving around, almost everyone we saw waved to us, including teenage boys. They were all willing to give me any information I wanted and I haven’t heard about a bad experience from one of them. We were also impressed by how quiet the park was. We were there on Saturday of the Labour Day weekend and when outside, all we could hear were birds chirping. I couldn’t hear music playing, cars or loud people anywhere. I’m looking forward to getting a site there.

  9. keith punshon March 2, 2015 at 12:33 am #

    Hi We have a lot at port susan and love it as a matter of fact we have my brother in law next door and have 5 other couples who have bought memberships and absolutely love it. We are a from vancouver b.c. I would highly recommend this campground to anyone.

  10. Rachel September 21, 2018 at 5:50 am #

    We have been a member here little over a month… everyone seemed nice. Most rangers had manners, until the other night. While I was trying to get a visitor’s pass, the man at the gate was extremely rude right when I approached him. I was explaining that my fiancé has to write me a pass, and the man started laughing at me saying “I don’t know who your fiancé is!!” It was 11pm and was trying to explain that my phone had no service so I couldn’t get ahold of him to come to the front gate and sign me in. He got irritated with me because he couldn’t understand what I was saying. He told me to stop flip flopping my story and that he had not seen anyone. He eventually let me in by telling me, just go! Do whatever you have to do, I’m done talking to you!” Right Infront of other members that were entering. I was embarrassed, upset and drove to the campsite in tears. I was not sure how to make a complaint of his over reacting and the way he spoke to me was completely out of line. I do not think we will be buying a second lot like we were planning. It has been 3 days, I have not seen that ranger yet and hope I will never have to. I’ve been up all night regretting my decision because of one ranger who went over board. I never got his name. Anyways, I just now decided to look up complaints, and sure enough they are known for having rude staff. Only a month, and I had a bad encounter. the teen rec-center children are more friendly! Our plan was to live here, but I don’t want to have to deal with rude people when I come “home” everyday. Someone needs to tell staff and remind them often that their personal problems don’t need to follow them to work! RS

    • Kirk VandenBerghe September 21, 2018 at 7:52 am #

      Rachel, I’m sorry that happened to you. My recommendation is to muster up the courage and report the incident. Even though you don’t know the Ranger’s name, there will be a record of who was on duty at that time and location. I had a membership in Port Susan for 20+ years — and my family since the park opened — and never ran into this type of incident. Nonetheless, it can happen. The only way to improve the situation is to report it. By facing the situation head-on, you won’t have your attention on avoiding someone when you’re in the park. Instead, you can place your attention on the beauty of nature and enjoying yourself and the company of others.

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