July 12th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 28
Campground makes it 15 seasons
Hirschis mark 15 seasons of operating Lost Lemon Campground, RV Park and Cabins
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Source: website
Aerial view of Lost Lemon Campground. Blairmore, Alberta.
Pass Herald Reporter
Roland and Marianne Hirschi are marking 15 seasons of success owning and operating the Lost Lemon Campground, RV Park and Cabins, making their own mark on the site with a long history in Crowsnest Pass that has been in operation since 1963.

The Hirschis took over ownership of the campground on May 1, 2003 from Peter and Anita Wirth who had owned the business for five years.
After working as a sheet metal worker for 25 years back in Switzerland, Roland decided it was time for a career change.

“My wife Marianne and I were travelling a lot, and we really liked Canada the most. We thought, ‘Do we do the same thing until we retire, or do we do something else?’” says Roland.

They decided to go into the motel or campground business, and made a visit to Canada from Switzerland in 2000 looking for a suitable site, ultimately resolving to commit themselves to operating a campground.
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“A motel turned out to be out of our price range back then and the upkeep was really big. We wanted to have a smaller business with not a lot of employees, so we looked at campgrounds,” says Roland.

They ended up looking at 13 different campgrounds in their price range all over Alberta and British Columbia, none of which made much of an impression on them, until they saw Lost Lemon, that is.

“We came here and it was by far the best-kept business that we saw,” says Roland. “We stayed overnight and the next day early in the morning, they knocked on our door and said they agreed to the price. From finding nothing on the whole tour, to have a big opportunity in one night, it was a big surprise for us.”

What should be a smooth process after that turned into a four-year wait for visa approval until the Hirschis were able to officially buy the campground and ultimately, their time was worth the wait.

On May 1, 2003, the Hirschis were the official owners of the campground, but it wasn’t smooth sailing after that, either. Their first year was their worst in business thanks to the Lost Creek Fire.
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“The first year was very, very tough because it was the year of the fire. It threatened us that we lose the whole business in the first year. It came so close. We could see the fire on the backside of Turtle Mountain from the grounds,” says Roland. “In July and August, we had almost no people. Our main season, our first season, and almost no customers. You buy a business, start a new life, and then no income.”

But the Hirschis, adept at managing purse strings and a strong long-term vision in mind, made it work and the business gained success with each year.

They made a number of upgrades to the campground over the years. Every campsite has been renovated, with larger lots developed to accommodate the increasing size of trailers.

“We upgraded big time so that we can handle any size of trailer and RV now and each site has power, water and sewage,” says Roland.

The interior of the two cabins on site was also renovated, and the wash hall roof replaced.

The Hirschis remain fully invested in the Lost Lemon Campground and RV Park, with no plans for selling or doing anything else with their lives at this point.

“It’s nice to see new faces almost every day. It’s special in a campground,” says Roland.

A YouTube video showcasing the site’s lots and environs can be found on the Lost Lemon website at www.lostlemon.com.
July 12th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 28
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