There wasn’t much to do last summer, but the Susquehanna River never closed.
For Marty Cox, that has meant an influx of new customers for Marietta-based Chiques Rock Outfitters which rents kayaks and bicycles and offers guided tours.
“Everybody got the bug last year and experienced what the river brings, and everybody wants to get back out and do it again,” said Cox, who just bought four new kayaks.
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Whether it’s from still being cautious about COVID-19 or because of a newfound interest in the outdoors, some Lancaster County businesses expect more customers to find ways to be outside. Yet with most tourists coming to Lancaster County to see shows, shop and be actively entertained, any boost from the most outdoorsy types of visitors could be limited.
“When it comes to camping, people want to go more in the great outdoors in other areas,” said Brian Kopan, owner of White Oak Campground near Quarryville and Mill Bridge Village Camp Resort near Ronks.
While his campgrounds allow visitors to social distance and be outdoors, Kopan says they will be full this summer if the weather is good, and if restaurants and major venues such as Sight & Sound and Dutch Wonderland can operate normally.
“Eating, recreating and camping, they all go hand in hand, and that’s the product that we’ve sold for generations down here,” he said.
For Refreshing Mountain Retreat and Adventure Center in Stevens, the increased popularity of its zip line tours has been blunted by the drop off in planned conferences, which are just now being planned again, said Justin Harnish, Refreshing Mountain’s administrative director.
And while robust, Harnish said the woodsy zip line tours are not as lucrative as they could be since he can’t hire enough guides.
“We are losing hundreds of sales every weekend,” Harnish said. ”I’m not sure we could even staff to the demand, but we would absolutely love to find some more people to run the zip line tours.”