Outdoor Hospitality News

For owners, operators, team members, and anyone else interested in camping, glamping, or the RV industry.

Green River Log Cabins: A Company as Sturdy as Its Park Models

Proving the resilience of the campground industry even for suppliers, Green River Log Cabins—which has been around since 1996—has withstood the Great Recession (2008) and the COVID-19 pandemic, and doesn’t see demand for park models ceasing anytime soon.

If anything, the industry has changed for the better because people are more appreciative of how a park model can increase a project’s ROI, Green River President Dean Garritson told Modern Campground.

“The appreciation for how the park model dramatically increases their ROI on a project’s performance is amazing,” Garritson said as he shared how their premier vendor partners benefit from the cabins.

Photo courtesy of Green River Log Cabins

In the same manner, the business has benefitted from entering the outdoor hospitality industry as a supplier to the multi-purchase market.

The company recently expanded its offerings to include a cottage which it introduced at the Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE2022) in Florida.

History and the Great Recession

Green River Log Cabins was founded in 1996 and was sold to Garritson in 2006. Two years after, the 2008 recession hit, and business was down. 

“It was awful, it was just awful,” Garritson told Modern Campground. “…but we survived and that was what was important from then,” he added.

The impact of the recession lasted for four years until 2012 when the company tried to slowly rise from the crash. 

“And in 2012 I said ‘we’re coming back, we’re going to bring this thing back up,’ but we started staffing differently. We started our design very different,” Garritson recounted.

However, he said that the huge leap in design was proving to be difficult to sustain, especially because they were trying to grow the business. It was when they entered the multi-purchase market that the company began to bounce back.

Admittedly, the businessman said he didn’t know much about park models when he purchased the company. Hailing from DC, Garritson has a background in economics and econometrics and considers the jump from his training to manufacturing “kind of crazy”.

Photo courtesy of Green River Log Cabins

Today, Green River Log Cabins services both the retail and multi-purchase markets, with the multi-purchase making up about two-thirds of the business and one-third coming from the retail side.

Penetrating a new market taught the company that a margin is sacrificed when working with larger companies, but productivity is gained because of the reduction in changes that hit the floor. Garritson said that this opens the possibility of an increase in production speed and ultimately leads to all margins working out.

“We’ve been chosen to work with a small handful of growing, effective companies over the years. We’re just not big enough to service 30 Jellystones, for example, but people that have chosen to work with us have done it because of who the company is, [and] probably what the product is,” he said.

“And we’ve been lucky to nurture and work really closely with those people,” he added.

Glamping: Threat or Opportunity?

Even with the rise of various camping trends like glamping and overlanding, Garritson believes that there will always be a market for log cabins simply because park models are different from glamping structures and glamping is not a roadblock to experiencing traditional camping. If any, it helps promote camping to those who are not ready to experience rustic camping yet.

“Our product is a different product. Our cost is different. Our life is different. People that are renting from the campground operator [are] different. So it’s neither a threat nor an opportunity,” Garritson said.

Although the possibility of building for the glamping market is high, the park model builder prefers to stick to traditional structures.

“It’s (glamping) just not who we are,” he said.

The Log Cabins 

Asked what makes their product unique, Garritson said that the number one thing he can confidently say about their log cabins is that each can last a long time.

One factor that accounts for each cabin’s sturdiness is how every piece of wood is assembled tightly together to make a rigid structure. Even though the exterior framing of each park model is already “extra strong”, the company went further. The outside is clad in long-life LP SmartBoard.

Photo courtesy of Green River Log Cabins

The company, furthermore, creates effective heat envelopes and uses software provided by the U.S. Department of Energy when building modulars. Air filtration is cut to almost zero in the right places, and walls are fitted with R19 insulation, cutting operators’ heating and cooling bills by at least $1000 per year. 

The log cabins are also built well, per Garritson, which means that if the structure is rigid today, there is a higher chance of the building being sturdy even 25 years down the road, thereby reducing long-term operating costs.

In addition, being sturdy ensures the safety of campers, which would save operators from legal issues, he said.

Proving the structure’s strength, Garritson shared a photo of a fallen tree on top of Green River’s cabin at a campground. At the time, he said that a 79-year-old lady was on the porch of the cabin when the tree fell. 

“[W]hat we learned is that when a tree fell, it was stopped by our metal and our wooden roof. It was like a crumple zone. And then it hit the log headers on the porch… That 79-year-old lady that was on that porch was saved because of that design,” he told Modern Campground.

Photo courtesy of Green River Log Cabins

This year, the company is introducing a new cottage brand which is designed to be robust like the log cabins.

Asked whether the company is fazed by the impending recession, the cabin manufacturer and economist said that the way consumers are spending in resorts says otherwise. 

“I don’t see it [great recession] on the horizon at all,” he said.

While he sees some slowdowns into the first two quarters of 2023, there is no way to go but up.

To learn more about Green Log Cabins, visit https://www.greenriverlogcabins.com/.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steven Carter
Steven Carter
April 14, 2024 9:05 pm

Can you believe what Green River Log Cabins pulled off? They not only survived the recession but also expanded into customizable tiny homes, hitting the eco-friendly trend. How cool is that? It’s like they’re the trendsetters of the cabin world! 🌲


Send this to a friend
Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Green River Log Cabins: A Company as Sturdy as Its Park Models! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/green-river-log-cabins-a-company-as-sturdy-as-its-park-models/