Deerhaven Campground expands
Swimming pond, more sites added
By James Card
“We’ve got nine guests coming in today for the blues festival over at the Indian Crossing Casino,” said Mike Louis, owner of Deerhaven Campground.
Located on N3185 Butts Drive, Deerhaven is just off of State Highway 54, about halfway between Waupaca city limits and the turn-off for Hartman Creek State Park.
Louis estimates the final bill for the expansion will total $1 million. The biggest addition was a 1.6 acre swimming pond. It is 16 feet deep at the center and one side is landscaped with river stones and the other side is a sandy beach.
Bestul Excavating of Iola hauled in 30 truckloads of sand.
A nearby shed is the pump house that feeds the pond from a well as needed.
They also added 28 new sites and made them larger than normal: 50 feet wide and 100 feet long. Most sites at other campgrounds are about half that size. All of the sites have water, sewer, electric and WiFi.
The new addition gives the campground a total of 83 campsites.
Louis built a new office and camp store. It acts as the campground headquarters for checking in and visitors can pick up souvenirs, beach gear and camping supplies.
He is working to secure the proper zoning and permitting to sell pizza, hot dogs and slushies.
Also included to the expansion was the purchase of an inflatable floating play structure, adding more picnic tables and fire rings, planting more than 100 trees from Silver Mist Garden Center and laying gravel roads connecting the new campsites.
The expansion was driven by two factors: many grandchildren and many recreational vehicles.
“There used to be a tiny park and there were no activities for the grandkids. It wasn’t much of a family campground per se. Their grandkids wouldn’t come up because there wasn’t much for them to do. And then COVID came and we seen the writing on the wall with everyone purchasing new campers and motor homes and fifth wheels,” said Louis.
Mike and Karen Louis purchased the campground in March 2020. Originally from the Oshkosh area, they were seasonal renters for six years before they purchased it. They hinted at the idea of purchasing the campground from the owners Joel and Virginia Minton and that was the start of the process.
At first their plan was to retire early and travel around enjoying the campground lifestyle. Karen became ill and needed two kidney transplants and so they decided not to hit the road.
“If we can’t to that then the next best thing is to buy a campground and have people come to us. We love Waupaca. All of our seasonal [tenants] are like a family to us. It’s like its own little community. We all watch out for each other,” said Louis.
Their next goal is to build a park shelter pavilion for potlucks, barbecues and parties.