Things are a little bit wild at Maple Springs Campground, and that’s just fine with new owner Andy Goemaat. But as he explains, there’s a big difference between wildlife and wild life. Andy stated, “I had been looking for a while to buy a campground, and everything kind of fell through until I ran across this one. I wanted one that was kind of quieter and family-oriented, not something that’s known for partying and drinking. And that’s the way the Palmers (former owners John and Doris Palmer) had run this one. It’s very quiet and family-friendly, kid-friendly. So I want to take it the way they’ve had it, and slowly improve things. They’ve built a great foundation for me to continue.”
Andy explained that Maple Springs Campground has existed for many years, at least since 1989, and John and Doris Palmer had owned and operated it since 2002, but because of ongoing health issues they needed to retire. The campground’s official address is 21606 County Road 118, Preston, but it’s actually located roughly halfway between Preston and Spring Valley, right next to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park.
Andy took possession in November 2017, and said, “I put a playground in last fall. I’ll do a few more things as I have the time and money. His future plans include putting in showers, and he adds, “I would like to get a hayride wagon and do hayrides on Saturdays through the state park and back.” He also envisions holding church services in the campground this summer.
He adds that the trout fishing is outstanding, and the cold streams mean there are very few mosquitos in the campground area. Horseback riding is also a big attraction, due to the many trails within the park. The campground currently has 69 camping spots, with roughly 20 for “seasonals” (campers who set up in a spot for the entire season, which runs approximately mid-April through October, depending on weather conditions). Most of the spots have water and electrical hookups, and some have sewer hookups as well. There are also about 20 sites for tent camping, and about 15 with special accommodations for horse camping.
Andy grew up on a farm in southern Iowa, and previously owned and operated a lawn care service. He currently works as the maintenance director at a church, and said he’s got experience in everything involved in running a campground. He likes the idea of running Maple Springs as a family business, with himself and his three children as the entire staff.
Andy hears appreciation on the Palmers for how they ran the campground. He points out that Maple Springs was named a Readers’ Choice Award winner in 2017 as best campground in Fillmore County, “So not only did they persevere, they won the award! And they’re coming back in the spring to help me make a smooth transition.”
Maple Springs has a website (maplespringscampground.com) and Facebook page for anyone wanting to see more information and pictures, including a detailed layout of the camping sites. The campground’s main phone number is (507) 352-2056. When asked what makes Maple Springs Campground special, Andy said, “The strength of it is the beautiful location and the geography. It borders the state park on one side, and Forestville Creek runs right through it. It’s just gorgeous!” So even though January is an odd time to be thinking about camping in Minnesota, it’s a great time to be planning ahead, and Maple Springs is a hidden gem well worth planning on.