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Collins Lake, located in Browns Valley, California, was established as a campground in 1972 by Robert Young and has continued to be in the Young family since, with the current owner being Robert’s grandson, Jacob Young. The business owns the 1,600-acre lake with 12 miles of shoreline, giving some of the 293 units a view of the lake. Eight cabins make up some of the units, with 100 RV sites having hook-ups and the rest having none. There is a main office, general store, showers, and laundry areas on the premises. Visitors are also able to rent boats from the establishment, with the most popular rental being a party boat with a slide attached to it. The property has quiet time starting at 10:00 and has security patrol the land at various times in hopes of ensuring the safety of the patrons. The business is open year-round, with the busiest season falling in the summer.
The Collins Lake property owns the 1,600-acre lake, with an additional 12 miles of shoreline surrounding Collins Lake. The property is the only campground on the lake body. There is a main office and general store on the property for patrons, as well as common areas such as showers throughout the property and laundry areas with WiFi covering over half the campground. Other amenities include a sand beach, rental dock, a marina, picnic areas, sand volleyball court, and rentable boats. The camp hosts movies multiple times a week during the summer, as well as local bands performing on the deck.
There are a total of 293 units on the Collins Lake property. The establishment offers four RV rentals and eight cabins. The rest of the units on the premises are campsites for RVs. Over 100 of the sites include water and electric hook-ups, with the rest of campgrounds not including hook-ups. According to management, the most popular sites are those on the lakefront that have hook-ups; most of those sites are typically booked far in advance.
A two-story party boat with a connecting slide is also available to be rented by visitors when the water warms up. According to the owner, Jacob, that boat is competitive to book during the summer. Other unique features to the property include a kids playground, an outdoor fitness area, and food trucks that come during the summer. Each year 50,000 trout are planted into the lake during the spring. Other fish found in the lake include bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish.
Collins Lake offers movies on the beach three times a week; additionally, on the weekends, local bands are brought in to perform on the deck. During the Halloween season, the property hosts a trick-or-treat trail for occupants on the premises as well as locals from the community. The owners are looking into adding events during the slower seasons in hopes of providing more activities for guests during that time. Guests have said that the property is a “Great place for family camping and super pet friendly. Ice cream is a must.”
Jacob, the owner, says that Collins Lake is a family-friendly property, where many families have been visiting the campground for generations. To help provide this kind of environment, Jacob says that they have security patrolling the grounds, especially after quiet time that starts at 10:00 PM. The owner says that this is also to provide a sense of security and emergency response.
The typical demographic of guests to visit the campgrounds are families and older couples. The younger age usually comes during the summer months, and those who are retired or have a flexible schedule are the ones to typically visit the property during the fall and winter. There are multiple restaurants for patrons to eat at when in the area. Jacob personally recommends guests try Pizza Round Up, Brownsville Butcher and Pantry, Café Collage, and the food trucks located a couple of miles up the road. The owner says that some of the nearby restaurants bring in cultural elements from all over the world as well as an appreciation of the arts.
The area, in general, is said to be known for the recreational activities available. There are multiple ATV and mountain biking trails as well as lakes within 20 minutes of Collins Lake. There are also local wineries that guest often visit, such as Pilot Peak, Spencer-Shirey Wines, and Hickman Family Vineyards. Historical sites in the area include Empire Mine and Malakoff Diggins.
The lake was built in 1964, with the campgrounds being added in 1967. The establishment started in 1972 after Jacob’s grandfather, Robert Young, bought the property and started operating it as a family. One of the identifiers of the company, according to Jacob, is the ice cream sold to customers. Robert and his family of seven kids and his wife had multiple opportunities to travel Europe and see different campgrounds. This led them to enter the lodging industry after seeing all the ins and out of traveling. The family initially intended to view property near Lake Tahoe but ended up viewing land around Collins Lake and decided that the area was where they wanted to establish their business.
After Jacob’s grandfather retired, the ownership went to Robert’s three sons, including Jacob’s dad, Lincoln Young. Jacob took over management in 2021 and became the owner of the family property the following year. Jacob says that his favorite part of owning the Collins Lake property is being able to provide space and an opportunity for guests to come and relax and connect with nature. The family still runs Collins Lake together and aims to establish a family atmosphere on the campsite. During the duration of the business, Jacob and his cousins grew up working on the property. The property has evolved from 20 sites to 293 sites. Multiple amenities have been added over the years, including adding more boats, facilities, a new dump station, and expanding the general store.
The property is currently having over half of the roads widened and paved, with it expected to be finished relatively soon. A brand new restroom/shower and laundry facility are the next projects for the premises. Jacob remarks that the business has developed over the 50 years that the Young family has owned the property and will continue to adapt in hopes to best fit the needs of patrons.