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David King at the entrance to Charlie’s Bark Park

David King at the entrance to Charlie’s Bark Park

Lake George RV Park Creates a Safe Space for Guests Pets

By Anthony F. Hall

Sunday, July 19, 2015

David King likes to call the Lake George RV Park, which his parents founded in 1966, “a city within a city.”

It boasts its own theater, swimming pools, tennis courts, a snack bar and lounge, among other things. Its 396 campsites have access to the same services that motel rooms offer, electricity, water and internet included.

Though the Lake George RV Park is within easy distance of restaurants, outlet malls, theme parks, Lake George Village and the lake itself, many of its guests choose to spend their entire vacations on the park’s grounds, said King.

“The city within a city” now has a new amenity, one that many cities (and a town like Lake George) would envy: a dog park.

The two-acre park, which opened last August, includes separate areas for small and large dogs, a spray fountain, canine playground equipment (called agility events), shaded walking trails and a 10,000 square foot synthetic lawn that was developed specifically for dogs.

For the dogs’ owners, a post and beam pavilion designed by Mike Phinney (like King, a Lake George High School grad) was constructed. It houses benches with views of the park, a dog washing station and a pet treat vending area.

The park is called “Charlie’s Bark Park,” in honor of a family-owned basset hound who was the constant companion of Victor King, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 93.

“This is the first significant addition to the RV park since my father passed away,” said King. “In many ways, it’s a tribute to him, to his vision of a park that could always improve and expand, and to his spirit: he was always working on something.”

(His father built the theater, David King suspects, in part to induce him to come home and manage the park after he finished college and business school. King, as most readers know, was a founding board member of the Adirondack Theatre Festival and hosted its first productions at that same theater.)

David King was well aware that his guests, and much of the traveling public, are attached to their pets and would not think of going on vacation without them. So the Lake George RV Park has always been “pet-friendly,” he said.

Nevertheless, he thought dog parks might be a passing fad.

“It wasn’t until after we completed our own dog park that I was convinced these weren’t a fad. Videos of dogs exercising here in Lake George received hundreds of thousands of on-line views. Clearly, pets strike a chord with people,” he said.

Although King visited many dog parks before building his own, Charlie’s Bark Park is unique.

“We took what we thought were the best ideas of the other parks, but we didn’t replicate any one of those parks. We designed and built this ourselves because it had to fit the natural features of this particular landscape,” said King.

Charlie’s Bark Park cost approximately $500,000 to complete, said King.

“Some of our guests ask ‘what are you doing for non-dog owners?’ I tell them this is as much for them as it is the dog owners. If dogs get enough exercise, they bark much less. I haven’t heard a dog bark at night since we opened. We have a quieter park,” said King.

Be that as it may, the Lake George RV Park will celebrate its 50th year in 2016 and King is planning to announce a major new investment, one that every guest will welcome, to help celebrate the anniversary.

The Lake George RV Park is already known as the luxury resort of private campgrounds; King’s next project will, in all likelihood, only enhance that   reputation.

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