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Milton Loop's new manager promises fun for all

| Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WAYNE -- Bill Doverspike can't get enough of the Milton Loop Campground.

After camping there day and night all summer for the past two camping seasons, Doverspike decided to stay.

He's taken over operation of the campground and made it his own business.

"I thought, I enjoy the outdoors, I like fishing, working on stuff, spending time with kids teaching them to build things, teaching them things about nature, sharing what my father taught me, and that's all here," Doverspike said. "I talked to my wife Debbie. I said we could really enjoy this. Let's take it over."

"At first, living in a little camper, I dreaded that," he said. "But the joy of being able to take my son fishing anytime I wanted made it worthwhile. I can do everything I like to do now."

Camping with him will be his wife, son Matthew, 10; daughters Angel, 12, and Michelle, 14, along with regular visits from his three grown children, Nathan, Missy and LeeAnn, five grandchildren, his parents and other family members.

The family's permanent home is five miles from the camp in Perry.

"I quit (my job) being a mechanic," he said.

Doverspike will be able to pass on his love of camping to all the campers destined for the Milton Loop Campground.

Doverspike is taking over from the former operators of the camp, Ron and Pam Thompson.

He is sub-leasing the grounds, which overlook Mahoning Creek, Lake and Boat Launch near the Mahoning Dam, from Armstrong County government officials who facilitate the lease on behalf of the owners of the grounds, the Army Corps of Engineers.

Campers coming to the rustic setting on 28 acres located 2 miles north of Dayton on Route 839, will be treated to plenty of family camping activities including fishing, canoeing, boating, cookouts, picnics, hiking; a playground, community pavilion and camp store; and nearby golfing, parks, eateries and shops.

Doverspike plans to have games, crafts, boat building and boat races, bird-house building and fishing tournaments for the kids.

There will be bingo, carnivals, hay rides, car shows, olympics, bonfires, volleyball, horseshoes and game nights among other activities at the campground to keep everyone happy.

The camp has its own pet mouse. There will be visits from the Mahoning Dam dog -- someone in a dog suit.

The former camp mascot, Milton, a rifle-toting hillbilly character, is gone. "Guns don't go with a 'family' atmosphere," Doverspike said. "This is a family-oriented campground."

Milton has been replaced by someone in a bear suit. The bear will walk around with Doverspike as he greets campers. "I'm wearing my fishing gear and the bear keeps stealing my fish out of my basket, kinda like Yogi Bear," he said.

"He's a fun-loving bear," Doverspike said.

The season runs from April 1 through Oct. 31. It's also open in November and December by request for deer hunters.

There are 50 camp sites with electric and water and nearby hot showers available for campers to rent. There are picnic tables, bait and fishing supplies and tents for rent.

Military and senior citizens receive a discount on the camping rates.

The daily rate is $18 for up to six persons, $3 for electric. Stay six nights and get one night free. The monthly rate is $350 and the seasonal rate is $700 which includes electric and water.

To find out more about the camp, call 814-257-0131 in-season, 814-938-1933 off-season or visit www.miltonloopcampground.net.

Doverspike is busy getting ready for the grand opening in April and working on improvements.

He is, with some help from his family and Kevin Dunmire, an employee of the former operators who stayed on as a host, painting, fixing roofs, remodeling the pavilion and adding on to the camp store.

"I'm looking forward to this camping season," Doverspike said. "Milton Loop is a place where families can come and have a good time. There's no end to the fun."

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