Membership camping: 8 Western Horizon Parks for Sale

Western Horizon Resorts (WHR), an owner and operator of private membership, RV resorts, and RV travel related services, has listed eight of its recreational vehicle parks for sale, with a combined 1,839 RV sites for a total of $28.13 million.

Indian Waters RV Resort, a Western Horizon membership campground in Indio, California. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A privately held company, WHR was founded by Jim Loken and family in 1984 and was designed to provide RVers with “an exceptional outdoor vacation experience”. Currently the corporation operates 14 resorts, 5 affiliated resorts, Vista Group RV Insurance, and two affiliated camping networks: Adventure Outdoor Resorts (AOR) and Sunbelt Resorts.

Western Horizon Resorts reported purchasing eight resorts from 2000 to 2005, but selling four resorts since then. From 24 RV resorts, Jim Loken said WHR is now concentrating on 14 core resorts.

Some of the resorts that were sold were too far away from their head office in Gunnison, Colorado, while others were underperforming, he said.

The group listing of RV parks for sale includes:

  • Charleston Park RV Park, a 20-acre property that includes the adjoining Pahrump Valley Winery and Symphony’s Restaurant
  • Ramona Canyon RV Resort in San Diego County, California
  • Desert Pools RV Resort at Desert Hot Springs in southern California’s Coachella Valley
  • Colorado River Oasis Resort at Ehrenberg, Arizona, across the Colorado River from Blythe
  • Pilot Knob at Winterhaven, California, across the Colorado River from Yuma
  • Desert Shadows/Casa Grande RV Resort at Casa Grande, Arizona
  • St. David RV Resort in southeastern Arizona near Benson
  • Camp Verde RV Resort at Camp Verde, Arizona.

It’s part of an overall company business strategy, Jim Loken, president and CEO of WHR recently told the Pahrump Valley Times.

St. George RV Park was recently sold by Western Horizon Resorts. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“It’s really quite simple. We’re not trying to sell the business, we’re just trying to sell the real estate. Let someone else be the landlord and just pay rent. We’ve done that so far with a number of resorts. A number of the resorts just built up so much appreciation and it doesn’t do us any good,” Jim Loken said.

“We sold a number of them to resorts like us that are in the business and then we lease back sites to our members so it accomplishes everything we’re after. It allows us to concentrate on our core business. Now we don’t have to take care of those pieces of our property we’re able to take care of our members,” Loken went on to say.

In a question and answer format on the company website, Western Horizon Resorts answers a question why they have sold some resorts:

“We have found that some resorts have fallen short of their financial goals. We assess usage, dues paying members, new member sales and usage by members against the costs involved to continue operating the resort. Weighing the benefits that our members receive from a particular resort against these factors is how we decide to sell a particular property. It is never our desire to have to sell a property, but often it is the most responsible decision to sell a resort so that the other WHR resorts do not have to subsidize the operation.”

Desert Shadows/Casa Grande RV Resort at Casa Grande, Arizona is one of 8 Western Horizon parks for sale. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jim Loken said there haven’t been any serious nibbles at the offer yet.

“One of the resorts — I won’t say which one — we bought the resort for $1 million 15 years ago and now it appraises for almost $6 million,” he said. “If somebody else wants to be the landlord and look at future appreciation we might as well take advantage of that.”

The potential sale of the eight resorts raises many questions and future implications for WHR members and future members.

If, as Jim Loken says, all he is doing is selling the real estate, why do members no longer have access to the parks he recently sold to ELS: St. George RV Park in southern Utah, Tall Chief RV Resort in Washington State, Valley Vista RV Park in Benson, Arizona, and Desert Vista RV Park in Salome, Arizona?

There is considerable information, misinformation, and confusion about membership camping. In order to assist the consumer in making an informed decision I have recently posted a series of nine articles.

Disclaimer: I am a member of Western Horizon Resorts but do not represent them or sell memberships.

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