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Everyday Business | Facelift for RV resort in Soap Lake

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One of the region’s favorite camping resorts is about to be reborn with a new name, new amenities and, say the new owners, a fresh new attitude that emphasizes families and fun.

Smokiam RV Resort & Campground, formerly the Soap Lake RV Resort on the lake’s north shore, will spring to life July 1 under ownership of Alanna and Brad Ellis. The Issaquah couple are a former banker (Alanna) and lawyer (Brad) who’ve been searching for a business opportunity that meshes with their love of travel, camping, hiking and other outdoorsy activities.

We thought an RV resort would fit perfectly,” said Alanna. “We’re avid campers ourselves — love the RV lifestyle — and know what campers and RVers expect in a camping resort.”

Originally opened in 1975, the 20-acre resort has been closed for most of the last two years after a long struggle “with a faded image and declining business,” said Alanna. “We hope to put a fresh face on it and add some new energy.”

The resort boasts 900 feet of lakefront, 85 RV spaces with full hookups, 45 campsites with water and electricity, kids’ playground, basketball court and a lodge-clubhouse with outdoor pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room. A basic “grab-and-go” food service (coffee, pastries, some packaged foods) will also be open this summer, with a full-service bar and grill planned for the future.

The Ellises will also be replacing three nightly-rental “cabins,” actually time-worn mobile homes, with modern log cabins — 600 square feet, full kitchens, master bedrooms and upstairs bunk rooms. “They look like single-family homes,” said Alanna, “just cuter and more compact.”

Other new features now ready or coming soon: “Big rig” premium RV sites, a splash pad waterpark, a tepee village (yes, you’ll be able to rent one of 20 Indian dwellings for the night), new swim dock and boat launch, watercraft rentals (paddleboards, canoes, kayaks), remodeled restrooms and showers and a spiffed-up fitness center.

We studied the market and found that other RV parks in the area do pretty well,” said Alanna. “We know we can offer visitors a good experience here.”

Details: Smokiam RV Resort & Campground, 22818 Highway 17 N., Soap Lake. For info, call (509) 246-0413.

Wine, food, tours take wing at Osprey

Gary Planagan, owner of Leavenworth-based Osprey Rafting, called the other day to say he plans to expand activities this summer at his company’s Paddle Shack, the kayak and paddleboard rental kiosk at Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee.

Think romance, good food, wine tastings, beer, wildlife tours, paddle lessons and — not surprisingly — Pybus Public Market.

All the details haven’t been hammered out, but the first step in Planagan’s plan will likely be reduced-rate, Thursday-night lessons for all us paddle-challenged landlubbers. That way, we can stay upright on the ’yaks and boards and not have to sip wine when we’re soaked to the skin.

He’ll also introduce “date nights” for couples that will include destinations such as the Wenatchee River estuary near Confluence State Park (lots of flora and fauna) and Pybus (lots of flora and fauna, but served on plates).

We like including Pybus because it offers so much,” said Planagan. “Great wines and beers, fruit, vegetables, gelato, pizza and lots of interesting foods.”

Packages could also include guided water tours with post-paddle visits to nearby breweries — Columbia Valley Brewing, Saddle Rock Pub & Brewery and Badger Mountain Brewing.

Need more info? Give the Paddle Shack at call at 264-1088 or visit

(By the way, in addition to paddleboards and kayaks, the Paddle Shack rents gear for games — bocce balls, basketballs, volleyballs, soccer balls, flying discs and horseshoes.)

This weekly column is compiled from “Everyday Business,” a blog by World reporter Mike Irwin. You can reach him at 665-1179 or

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business. follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.