How Hipcampers Help This Host Maintain His Land

David is a Host of few words: he gives Hipcampers their space, and he lets his property speak for itself. After all, The Landing is a picturesque property that was voted one of the top Hipcamps in Washington in 2018. According to David, he’s been able to invest what he makes as a Hipcamp Host back into his land, in the form of regular maintenance and upkeep that would otherwise be a costly chore. We caught up with David to hear more about what makes The Landing so special and how hosting has helped support the land.

I watched Alyssa give a TEDx Talk one day, and I said “okay, I’ll give this a shot.”

Hipcamp: Can you tell us about your property?

David: Well, the property is pretty much just virgin forest. It’s located on the South Fork Skykomish River, in the western foothills of the Cascade Mountains, off of Highway 2. There’s about 16 acres of beautiful, private woods and breathtaking views of Mount Index. We’re right across the river from a popular trail up to Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls on the side of Mount Index. There’s a really scenic granite spire there.

Hipcamp: How did you get connected with Hipcamp?

David: I watched [Hipcamp Founder and CEO] Alyssa give a TEDx talk one day, and I said, “Okay, I’ll give this a shot.”

Hipcamp: What did you have to do to prepare your land for campers?

David: We already had a campsite set up just for the family, and so we just kind of tidied up I guess. We only had one campsite, so over the past several years, we’ve added a couple more.

Hipcamp: What’s your experience been like so far?

David: It’s been real positive. Everybody seems pretty respectful of the property, and I haven’t had any issues.

Hipcamp: Have you had any standout experiences with campers?

David: Well I usually don’t spend a whole lot of time with the guests, you know, I kind of just greet them if I’m around the property and then turn them loose, because most of them are just looking to get away from the city. So yeah, I don’t entertain too much.

Hipcamp: Your property was listed as a Best of 2018 finalist in Washington — why do you think your land is so popular with Hipcampers?

David: I was kind of surprised, because I was expecting to have more locals coming to camp, you know, that knew about the area. But there are a ton of folks who are moving to the Seattle area that are in the tech industry, and our primary clientele turned out to be, I would guess, a lot of folks that sit in front of a computer every day. I guess it’s an online service, so they’re able to find out about us that way. So, a lot of folks are completely new to the area and they’re just looking to see what Washington has to offer as far as outdoor recreation and stuff. And even somehow folks overseas are finding out about it because we have a lot of European guests that are on big tours of Canada and different parts of the country. That’s surprised me.

Hipcamp: How would you describe your land in three words?

David: Mountains, River, Forest

Hipcamp: What activities can Hipcampers do on or near your property?

David: I’m not sure a lot of people are even aware of all the different things in the area. Some folks take advantage of our place as a base camp to do hiking, but there’s also river rafting that happens right on the river there. Just downstream from us we have an arrangement with the rafting guide service, where you can launch from our beach. There’s also horseback riding real close and just a little bit east of us, there’s a little railroad town that has a miniature railroad thing for kids. There’s a whole bunch of things that I think most people, the first time they come through, they’re just looking to roast s’mores and hot dogs, but if a person wanted to do other things, there’s plenty to do on our property or around it.

Hipcamp: Why is sharing your land important to you?

David: We inherited the land and it gets a lot of abuse from the weather every year. It really takes a beating. Before, the family was using the property exclusively for ourselves, and it wasn’t as easy to maintain. Renting sites out to campers helps.

Hipcamp: Do you plan on making any improvements or additions to your site?

David: We’re adding a fourth site, and we’re getting ready for that this upcoming season. It’s not listed yet. Over time, we’re going to add more picnic tables and outhouses to the sites.

That’s all in addition the road, which is our main thing. We’re down a long, winding road from the highway, so in order to keep it up to scratch for our guests, that’s our biggest expense: adding a lot of rock and renting the heavy equipment to build ditches and culverts and all that. For example, that’s what we’re doing today. We’re renting a dump truck and putting gravel on the road.

Before, the family was using the property exclusively for ourselves, and it wasn’t as easy to maintain. Renting sites out to campers helps.

Hipcamp: What advice do you have for someone who’s considering opening up their land to Hipcampers?

David: I don’t know what to offer up as advice, because every property is a little different and everything. But what I do know is hosting is a good way to help your land pay for itself.

Hipcamp: What do you want Hipcampers to take with them when they leave your property?

David: It’s a good place to unwind and soak up the sun, but the views are probably the biggest thing, because we’re right across the river from the waterfall, so you can see the waterfalls from our beach, and the Sawtooths are up kind of behind us. Wherever you’re walking on the property, you get a little bit different view of the mountains. So yeah, the views.

Hipcamp: When’s the best time to visit your property?

David: The best time for camping is June through September, but we do get a few guests passing through in different months of the year. But it gets pretty wet in the winter. So ideal camping, when you can get a little sun, is really from June until about September.

Hipcamp: What’s your favorite part about hosting Hipcampers on your property?

David: It’s nice. We get a lot of regular guests who book three or four times a season, and they book way in advance and they always want to stay at their favorite campsite and everything. It’s neat talking to the folks that repeatedly keep coming back.

Renting out your land to Hipcampers is a great way to supplement the expenses of your land. From taxes, to upkeep and improvements, we know land can be expensive. But it is our job to protect it and care for it. We want to help you find a way to do so. You can find more tips and guides to doing so in our Hipcamp Host Journal.

Inspired to share your land, but not yet hosting? Check out how you can start here.

Shane Downing

Shane is an award-winning journalist based in Oakland. As a freelance writer, he’s passionate about covering the LGBTQ+ community, at-risk youth and local news. He's a former Hoodline editor, and his work regularly appears in Oakland Magazine and The San Francisco Business Times. When he's not writing, Shane is an avid baker, gardener and tennis player.

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