GrandRapids-West Mi Homes Blog


Muskegon River Camping in Newaygo-Vic's Canoes-Salmon Run-NEVER AGAIN!!

Muskegon River Camping in Newaygo-Vic's Canoes-Salmon Run-NEVER AGAIN!!

Tubeing Muskegon RiverIt's summer again!  In Michigan we look forward to our summer's in a big way.  One of the best ways to spend a Michigan summer in Newaygo is to go tubing or canoeing down the Muskegon River.  We have done it for 14 years and for 14 years we have stayed at Salmon Run Campground at Vic's canoes.  Well we won't be doing that this year and my kids who are now 16 and 18 are so disappointed.

So why aren't we going camping at a place we have been at for 14 years? Why aren't we camping with the other 10 some odd couples, many of whom we met at church?  Simple, last year the owner of Salmon Run Campground had us escorted off by the police.

It would be somewhat rebel like to be able to say this family of four got escorted off Salmon Run Campground for partying to hard--isn't that why most people get kicked out of a campground?  It would be a heck of a story to tell for the guy who runs sound at his church.  It would be fun for these teenagers to say they got in trouble for being to loud.  But no that would not be the story.

So why, you ask, did this family of four, plus a friend, get escorted out of the campground by the police?  Simple, for saying we would tell our story . . . .  so here is what happened.

Last year we arrived at Salmon Run Campground late because my daughter was showing her horse at the Berlin Fair that day.  We arrived around 9 pm.  Since we have three teenagers with us in tents, we always get two sites because our living quarters horse trailer and two tents is just way to tight of a fit in these small sites.  For the last approximately 4 years we have had two sites with our kids in tents on one site and us right next to them.  Our big group usually takes up all of the river sites.  When we arrived, however, there were several sites between us and our children.

Now mind you, the rules at the campground are that all children must have parents present.  The year before, the kids were asked to quiet down and it wasn't even them-it was the site across the street.  So that night the owner asked us to put up the tents all on one site with our big trailer and we would straighten it out in the morning and she would ask someone to move.  I knew that wasn't going to happen because we had ended up with  people between us that weren't in our group.

Morning came.  We went in to talk to the owner. She said the people wouldn't move but we could use the site to park our truck on . . . WHAT!!?!?!!?  There was no way I was paying $30 a night to park my truck.  That would have been $60 a night for parking.  I told the owner there was no way we were doing that--we would keep the tents on our site but we wanted our money back for the other site we weren't using.  She said she wouldn't do that.  Ok this is just wrong.  This was not our mistake it was the campgrounds.  She informed me that it was impossible for them to make a mistake--their computers wouldn't allow it.  Ok now this is seriously commical.  How many of you fine people out there have never had to deal with a computer glitch?

We argued back and forth and I could see that this was going no where so I thought compromise was in order.  I suggested we split the cost and she could give us half our money back.  She said she wouldn't do that unless she could get the site rented.  Ok that is NOT compromise-she would end up ahead in this whole thing.  I wish this was the first time I had heard something like this going on in this office--it wasn't. Over the years I have heard angry customers so we were just one more. 

I said, "you can't do that, it is wrong and unfair especially when these aren't the sites we reserved a year ago".  The owner said, "I can do anything I want, this is a private campground".  I commented to the owner that the days of a business being able to treat customers unfairly without anyone knowing were over.  These days we have the internet where people can speak out and tell their story.  I turned around and walked out the door.

Tubeing Muskegon RiverWe went down the river which is approximately a four hour trip from where we put in.  When we got back there was a note on our camper door.  "Come see Annette".  I walked up to the office thinking we had worked something out but what I was told was to get off her campground that no one was going to threaten her.  She handed me $30 and told me to get out.

ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?!  You are going to kick someone out of a campground because they said they would write a blog about what happened to them in their campground?  Someone who had been coming there with their kids for 14 years . . .people who had made their kids pick up every scrap of paper on their site before they left.  Never mind the fact that we had already paid $120--$30 per night for two sites.  We had used one campsite (as directed by her) which would have amounted to $30.  By my calculations we should have gotten $90 back. 

I was stunned.  I walked back to where my sister was camping and told her what happened.  She told me to sit down that they had many run-ins like this with her over the years and that no one would kick someone off for something so stupid.  She said sit down and wait till the guys come back with the tubes and we will walk up there.  In the mean time, after we weren't gone for an hour she apparently went to our camper and knocked on the door.  My daughter said we weren't there and the owner told my daughter that she knew we were hiding in there.  Does this sound crazy to anyone yet?

We were told by someone else in our group that she had been there so my sister walked up there with me and said we were going to work this out.  We were met by the police . . yes I wrote that right.  They were there to escort us off the campground.  My sister couldn't believe it and tried to talk to the owner but she refused to compromise. She was more than willing to kick a patron of 14 years out of a campground for asking for money back for a site she didn't reserve.  Keep in mind kids under 18 are not allowed to camp by themselves in this campground.  She kicked us off because I apparently threatened her by saying I would tell my story in a blog.

So this is my story of what happend at Vic's Canoes-Salmon Run in Grant Michigan.  My kids are so disappointed.  We have been doing this for years-they won't be camping with their cousins and all the kids they have grown up with.

As a side note, when I got home I looked up the check I wrote.  When we write a check there is a carbon.  I looked at the check I had wrote and on it, in the memo section, were the the site numbers we had--they were sites right next to each other.  So much for computers never making mistakes. 

What type of business owers throw away patrons of 14 years--patrons who have brought friends with them who made them more money.  Well you know the story now and who does that.  Like I said . . .  .

Muskegon River Camping in Newaygo-Vic's Canoes-Salmon Run-NEVER AGAIN!!

Comment balloon 20 commentsTami Vroma • May 25 2010 09:00AM


Tami, this is such a bunch of mess!  I'm so sorry that your family had to experience something like this.....and on your vacation too! :(

Posted by Ann Allen Hoover, CDPE SRES ASP e-PRO Realtor - Homes for Sale - AL (RE/MAX Advantage South) over 7 years ago

Thanks Ann!  Kind of crazy huh!  Why would someone worry about a blog being done if they were so right in what they were doing?

Posted by Tami Vroma, Realtor, Grand Rapids MI Real Estate (West Michigan Real Estate Specialist-Five Star Real Estate) over 7 years ago

What a terrible way to spend a vacation.  Thanks for passing this on.

Posted by Ed Vogt, Grandville, MI Midwest Properties (Midwest Properties of Michigan) about 7 years ago

Oh whine whine whine. This was the result of poor planning. Next time reserve sites ahead of time. There are two sides to every story and clearly you are presenting only one.

Posted by Loretta Lyndham about 7 years ago

Thanks for sharing!  I work in sales management, and agree with the stupidity of losing a 14 yr business relationship.  Her loss!  Thanks to the internet, here's one more family that won't be camping there! Regardless of the activities offered, the cleanliness of the grounds, the rates, etc., the customer service is what sells the business.  Now back to researching campgrounds (other than Salmon Run)......

Posted by Cheryl about 7 years ago

Loretta - Clearly you are missing something in reading the article.  The campsites WERE reserved ahead of time--a whole dang year!  WITH the campsite numbers printed on my check that was chashed.  Don't know how much further ahead of time you would like me to plan - a year seems like planning ahead to me!


Cheryl - Your rock!  Thank you so much for your comment!

Posted by Tami Vroma, Realtor, Grand Rapids MI Real Estate (West Michigan Real Estate Specialist-Five Star Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Hi Tammi - sorry you had to vent about this Camping site. Sounds like they don't know how to have good customer service.

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

I’m wanting to know why you made that Members Only. I would have made it public and sent a URL to the campground owners. I might even have gone so far as to create a nice web page on my own web site, all about why NOT to go there!

Posted by Not a real person almost 7 years ago

Tami, Hi hope you are well after that debacle. Why aren't you a Rain maker anymore, this would have been great for all to read.

Posted by Corinne Guest, Managing Broker, The Choice of Professionals (Barrington Realty Company) almost 7 years ago


Sounds like a bad case of poor customer service!!

Ann Hayden in Wildwood, MO

Posted by Ann Hayden, (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties-St. Louis Missouri) over 6 years ago

Thank you for sharing your experience.  Vacations are for stress relief, not stress. I will be staying away from Salmon Run. Chinook Campground is just down the road on 112th and a great place to camp and tube from. Also has a great group camping area, you will not have to worry about kids being placed away. You can circle around the camp fire and have many trailers and tents together.

Posted by B Price about 6 years ago

Sorry to hear about that Tami,I am not a fan also of a bad customer service.Anway,I hope the familys is ok.Wishing you best of luck with your career and keep up the good work. 

Posted by Kim & Kristine Halverson, Realtors (, Santa Monica Real Estate :) ) over 5 years ago

Hi Tami,wow! I can relate,well let me clear it .I can relate with having an issue with bad customer service.I really don't like it.I hope you guys still had fun.Stay an Amazing Grand Rapids  Short Sale Agent. 


Posted by Petra Norris, Realtor, Lakeland FL Homes for Sale (CDV TransAtlantic, Inc.) over 5 years ago

Oh your not the only one that has stories about ANNETTE!!!

She is almighty holy,We have also been banned from their livery. She is a repressed, misserable woman. That has a bunch of kids running her site, We have have been banned twice!! It is a cult as far as i am concerned, She makes the rules as she goes, we went there for a good time, well that is fine, our business will go elsewhere, where the panties aren't so  strung so tight!!

We usually go canoeing or tubing down the Au-sauble river on the east side of the state where people are much more relaxed and you can have a great time as you go down the river NO TIME LIMIT either. But we figured since we live over here we would try this place, Wrong-O anyone looking to have a great relaxing time with no time limit do not consider this place if you say fart they will kick you out. This is no bull. Do not make alot of noise either. She has her ears on all aspects of this river, and her drivers are narks too!! They may be young but they are brainwashed into her ways.

This place is not for people that want to have fun, and let loose, after a long year of working. This is a place for bible campers. Straight lacers, up to ALL good.

Just our experience there a few times, yes we had fun, the first time but the last two we got condemned for life from this cult.  Oh how will we get by...


Posted by S g about 5 years ago

Great story about an idiot business owner.  To lose a customer of 14 years, plus future business of not only yours and your groups, but the children of you and the groups.  All over $60?  She sounds completly insane and on a power trip.  I recommend Chinook down the road also.  She does not have a monopoly on Muskegon River camping/canoeing/tubing so she should stop pissing people off.  I am glad I read this before heading up from GR. 

Posted by Sheila about 5 years ago

We too had an awful experience there.  We weren’t even loud and Annette made us give her $100 and said if we weren’t’ quiet the rest of trip she was going to keep it.  It is too bad we had to be like church mice (seriously couldn’t even laugh) and needless to say our party went back over to the east side of the state to stay at the Riverview Campground like we had for many years.  We will never go to Vics canoe again!

Posted by Rebecca about 5 years ago

Great place to relax and have fun!

Posted by Bas Panch (SCV Home Buyer) almost 5 years ago

I also had been going to this campground for about 10 years with my family. We had some major issues this past year with Annette and apparently are banned, which i'm not too upset about since i didn't plan on ever returning!

Posted by Jessica about 3 years ago

Not to mention, all the major laws she's broken with the new with her newly 10 acres she had her mom buy for her,..that property in in the 100 year flood plain, she did not have any permits to dig holes, make a campground out of it,ect. It's all illegal, and grafield township, (mike s Turns his damn head, & so did the reporting DEQ , when we made our complaints, / my opinion ...she paid em off somehow,...I know,...I used to own it before she kinda forced us to put it up for sale,.check into the 100 year flood plain, even in her original campground , she has added "2-cabins, "seasonal campsites,a guard shack, changed her road (redid it) added fill,ect, illegal to soil erosion permits, nothing,yet she had the gull to call the township about our cute little cabin, in witch we ended up in court, n ended up putting it on a mobile home trailer,ugly, and made it a portable dwelling according to township rules, we made complaints, but they didn't (mike shoeshe?spelt wrong) DIDNT DO a damn thing about it, / we also had # 2-complaints with DEQ,(mike- opupanuchie?) last name spelt wrong, he wouldn't even return our phone calls, or answer, but she has major fines to pay, if u can get somebody with the balls! to do there JOB, IVE GOT THE PROOF, why can SHE GET AWAY AND NOT FINED...MANY, MANY, SEVERAL FINES, AND WE OBEYED ALL EXCEPT FOR THAT CABIN, & the township took us thru the ringer, when she made a complaint,...where's the justist?

Posted by Vicky torrey about 3 years ago

Good to know I am not the only one that has had a problem with Annette!!!

Posted by Tami Vroma, Realtor, Grand Rapids MI Real Estate (West Michigan Real Estate Specialist-Five Star Real Estate) about 3 years ago