Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA) reported it purchased three KOA properties—Billings KOA Holiday in Billings, MT, Yellowstone Park/West Gate KOA Holiday and Yellowstone Park/Mountainside KOA Holiday located near West Yellowstone, MT.
Billings KOA Holiday, opened in June 1962, holds the designation as the first KOA campground among more than 500 KOA locations. All three properties were owned by the Marv and Carol Linde Family of Billings, MT, for 46 years. The Lindes purchased the Billings KOA Holiday in 1977. Over the next four decades, the family grew and updated the campground, making it one of the premiere KOAs in the United States. Today, the campground features RV sites, including pull-thru’s with KOA patio, camping, deluxe cabins, and tent sites. A pool, custom playground, Kamp K9 dog park, and mini-golf are available for guests.
Opened in 1977 and 2013, the Yellowstone Park/West Gate KOA Holiday and Yellowstone Park/Mountainside KOA Holiday are the closest KOA properties to Yellowstone Park, located near the West entrance. All three campgrounds provide amenities and services, resulting in some of the highest guest satisfaction ratings among KOA campsites.
“For over four decades, the Linde family has been valued partners and friends,” said Toby O’Rourke, president and CEO of KOA, Inc. “Marv, Carol, and sons Steve, Dave, and Brian have been actively involved in our campground system, shaping many of our programs and overall approach to outdoor hospitality. We are honored they have entrusted us to carry their legacy forward. They will always remain a special part of our KOA family and history.”
KOA has over 500 campgrounds across the U.S. and Canada. While most are franchised, over 40 locations are owned directly by the company.
Owning campgrounds is a core component of KOA’s business strategy and allows the company to grow key operational knowledge that improves offerings across its camping system.
Transferring ownership in early May, KOA views the sale as a chance to continue the long legacy of outdoor hospitality fostered by the Linde family. It also created the opportunity for KOA, Inc. to own and operate the campground that laid the groundwork for the world’s most extensive system of privately-owned campgrounds in the hometown of KOA’s company headquarters.
The purchase of the three properties also coincides with the opening a new company headquarters this summer. Currently being completed on the West End of Billings, MT, the new office and transferring ownership of Billings KOA Holiday further strengthen KOA, Inc.’s 60-year connection to the city.
“What we built as a family took decades to accomplish, and I’m very proud of what we created,” said Steve Linde on behalf of the Linde family. “We’ve seen so many changes during 46 years with KOA. I hope we’ve had a positive influence on the KOA system, helping others achieve success. KOA and our campgrounds will always be a big part of my life. I’d love to see KOA, Inc. complete the vision of my dad and our family.”
Dave Linde added, “I couldn’t have asked for a better entity to purchase these properties. Our family has had control for over 40 years, and knowing that someone like Kampgrounds of America, Inc. will come in and have that same long-term goal of building and developing the properties, not somebody here to make a quick buck, is very important. This company can chart long-term growth, which is one of those amazing things.”
Several initial updates are planned to enhance the three KOA campgrounds. An ongoing sewer project that will result in a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility at Yellowstone Park/Mountainside KOA Holiday and Yellowstone Park/West Gate KOA Holiday will be completed in 2023. New Wi-Fi will be brought to both West Yellowstone locations to better serve the 40 percent of campers who said the ability to connect to Wi-Fi greatly impacts their ability to camp more often. Yellowstone Park/West Gate KOA Holiday will improve its recreation area with a jumping pad and permanent lawn games. Across all three properties, various enhancements will be made to existing sites and cabins. Design and planning for future additions of more sites and amenities are underway.
Photos courtesy KOA and The Linde family (from L to R: Steve Linde, Carol Linde, Dr. Brian Linde, Dave Linde and Marvin Linde)