Originally published Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 09:59a.m.

CAMP VERDE, Ariz. — A glamour camping — aka “glamping” company who have voiced plans to put 125 luxury camping tents in a remote area near the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness brought out 30 to 40 concerned neighbors and residents in Verde Valley last week.

“If you walk back there, you see special country, relatively undisturbed. That’s why we all bought out here,” said Les Mickle, whose property would abut the glamping site.

His comment received a round of applause from onlookers, who arrived in cars, trucks and all-terrain vehicles.

“I am here to beg of you to think about the impact on the land,” Mickle said while holding a map put out by the glamping company Under Canvas.

Mickle pointed to Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, expressing concern that glampers would bring ATVs that could potentially destroy the area by driving on unmarked roads.

“What about the land?” Mickle asked. “I learned that the Forest Service can’t take care of the land without the public’s help. How are we going to monitor all these different people every day?”

Caitlan Cullen, representing the Montana-based Under Canvas glamping company, thanked Mickle for his comments.

“We do want to be good stewards of the land … we hope to be good neighbors,” she continued. The 80-acre site includes two acres of development with the priority-designed 125 tents, a main restaurant and a social tent for campers, a main fire area, water and sewer and gravel roads.”

The glamping tents are built on platforms so grading under the tents is not required, she said. The company said it provides mattresses, comforters and pillows to provide for a luxury camping experience.

The biggest gasp from the crowd came when Cullen told them there would be 135 vehicles driving the remote red rock dirt road each day when the camp sites are open.

Cullen said glamping would be a seasonal operation at this location.

Cullen invited people to look at other glamping sites the national company operates in order to show how it is integrated with those communities.

Cullen said the Under Canvas glamping company was founded by Sarah and Jacob Dusek in 2009 and has glamping sites in Montana, Yellowstone, Zion, Moab, Grand Canyon, Glacier, the Smoky Mountain, Utah, and Mount Rushmore.

“Typically we are neighbors to national parks,” she said. “We are neighbors to Forest Service land as this place is.”

Cullen said that the main access point to their glamping site will be discussed with the U.S. Forest Service.

Currently, the project is in conceptual stages, Cullen said. Approval of the project would have to go through a Yavapai County use permit public review process.

Cullen said the company has been working on this project for several months and Under Canvas has had a pre-application meeting with Yavapai County staff, which is one of the steps before making an official commitment.

“For whatever reason, if we move off the site in two or three years, the site would go back to nature,” Cullen said. “You wouldn’t even be able to tell we were there.”

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