Natalie Binder’s idea of turning a moribund 1940s mining camp into a destination camping spot and creative connection has, thanks to Condé Nast Traveler magazine, been deemed an exceptional concept. The magazine’s first-ever Bright Ideas in Travel list named Camp V, located near Naturita, as one of 56 travel innovators.
Bright Ideas in Travel is described by Condé Nast as a list of “players and places, and bold new concepts moving the industry into the future”. Camp V has been included in the Hotels category, joining industry giants Hilton and Marriott, as well as a number of smaller boutique properties.
“There has never been a more important time to recognize those shaping the future of travel,” the magazine wrote in its introduction to the Bright Ideas list. “It’s not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has transformed the industry, but also because of the racial reckoning of recent years, which has reinforced the need for greater access and representation. in travel; the rapid advance of technology; and the climate crisis.
“For the first time ever, we’re honoring the people and companies who are tackling these issues with new and creative thinking to move us forward in technology, design, sustainability, community, of inclusion, accessibility and conservation. From cities focusing on urban regeneration and extensive conservation programs in rural areas, to carbon-conscious hotels and airlines introducing new measures of inclusivity, these 56 innovators are changing the way we travel.
Binder, who bought the 120-acre site from Vancorum in 2017, spent the next few years repurposing it with co-founders Bruce and Jodie Wright, adding glamping tents, art installations made from objects found on the site and remodeling the cabins that dot the property.
The recognition, according to a press release, is for CampV’s work in “repurposing a thriving former mining town – Vancorum – for tourism that revitalizes forgotten places with jobs, creativity and a sense of the community”. Moreover, “as architects and urban planners push for greater recycling of buildings and public spaces, many of these places are being smartly repurposed as vacation destinations.”
The Condé Nast list particularly noted how the reinvention of the camp is proving to be a component of the region’s economic revitalization.
“We are so honored to be included with brands we admire in the travel space. It is inspiring that Condé Nast appreciates the work being done to restore an old mining town and create opportunity in our rural corner of Colorado,” Binder said.
The exposure of making the list of bright ideas is huge. Condé Nast’s print empire, which includes titles such as Vanity Fair, GQ, The New Yorker, Pitchfork and more, boasts 72 million subscribers. The potential outcome of such a spotlight on Camp V is not lost on Binder.
“As a start-up, this mention gives us reach that we couldn’t otherwise achieve on our own,” she said. “As a company, we are bombarded with so many travel advertisements that it helps to have a reliable source to validate our brand. When we were listed in Outside Magazine, we had a guest who made the trip from Ohio just to stay in V. It’s so humbling that we get added to bucket lists when these items come out and people take an intentional trip.”
Destinations located in remote areas have immense appeal for those seeking the decidedly different that can only be found on a road less travelled. Western Montrose County certainly qualifies for those seeking respite from the “sameness,” with its rural beauty and wide open spaces.
“Travel habits have changed post-pandemic and we’re seeing many people craving more space and looking more closely at upcoming undiscovered places,” Binder said. “Colorado has seen such an increase in tourism and yet we have this hidden outdoor gem in the corner of the state where you can go road and gravel biking, hiking, climbing or biking without the crowd. There’s an element to being able to experience the connection to the outdoors without the crowds that people crave. It’s also nice to have a comfortable, cozy space to sleep in after a day of exploring outdoors and in the elements.”
Binder and the Wrights (of One Architects) have created Camp V with opportunities for creativity at every turn and to that end have hosted a number of events that inspire ideas. Arts festivals, live music, and other events found the perfect setting at Camp V. Binder took note of this arts attraction.
“When you’re in a more artistic atmosphere, it’s easier to have creative energy,” she said. “We love having artists visit us and then come to us with ideas that were sparked during their time.”
Part of the camp’s ongoing vision is to enhance the artistic experience for creators of all persuasions. Camp V founders are working on Vtrove and a new creative space in the works.
“Vtrove is a mixed-use arts, events, and residential space that’s ongoing through a Colorado Creative Grant from the State of Colorado,” Binder explained. “Jodie Wright has come up with a really cool concept and we’re thrilled to be able to offer the community – and V – space for indoor/outdoor events, workshops and space to create through our non-profit WEarts.”
The Colorado Community Creative Revitalization grant to the nonprofit was $2 million.
For more information on Camp V, visit campv.com.
To see Condé Nast Traveler’s bright ideas in Travel 2022, visit cntraveler.com/bright-ideas-in-travel.