Back in the heyday of the Borscht Belt, families from downstate would head to the Catskills for summers spent in idyllic resorts. These days, folks are still coming to the Catskills, but instead of staying in all-inclusive resorts, they're sleeping under the stars in tents and cooking meals over an open flame. In fact, tourists visiting New York State spent $65 billion in 2016. If you're a landowner in the Hudson Valley or Catskills, you can get in on that action by becoming a Campkeeper with Tentrr.
The New York City-based company is like the Airbnb of camping. Campkeepers with Tentrr open a portion of their property to a Tentrr site, and Tentrr provides the campsite set-up. According to Tentrr, Campkeepers can make $8,000 per year or more hosting campsites. Campers book a campsite through Tentrr's online reservation system, and when they arrive, everything the campers need to enjoy the experience is right there waiting for them. Along with a canvas tent set up on a platform, Tentrr campsites also include a queen size cot, wood stove, an outdoor shower, dry food storage, five-gallon water container, fire pit, cooking grill, and Adirondack lounge chairs. Campkeepers can also provide additional perks, like fresh produce and firewood on site, to make even more money.
What makes an ideal Tentrr campsite? According to Tentrr, privacy (site must be over 10 acres), accessibility (campers should be able to park next to their site), and "wow" factor (water features, views, and natural beauty galore). After a potential Campkeeper applies and pays a one-time fee, a Tentrr scout comes to get the lay of the land and pick suitable campsites. As for the vibe and aesthetic of the campsites, that's left up to the individual Campkeepers. They can string up fairy lights, lay down ornamental rugs, embrace an Americana theme, or simply allow the beauty of the surroundings to create its own backdrop.
Campkeeper Hall Smyth, who hosts Tentrr campers on his property near the Delaware River, said that his favorite aspect of Campkeeping is the interactions with campers. "I think that campers who enjoy their trip the most are the ones that I say hello to, tell them about local spots, and get them out in the community." Smyth has two campsites on his land, one called River's Edge on the Delaware, and the other called Quarry Pond. Both sites offer campers the a chance to enjoy the water, go fishing, or take a rowboat out and spend the day on the pond.
Overall, Campkeepers claim that the majority of campers treat their land and campsites with the kind of respect you'd expect to find from true lovers of the outdoors. "From my experience, most campers leave it the way they found it," explains Campkeeper Owen Wright. "Everyone who has stayed at our campsite has been very respectful."
Got a bunch of gorgeous land burning a hole in your pocket? Need some extra dough? Potential Campkeepers can start the process by applying on the Tentrr website.