Opening a campground is an ambitious project by any stretch and given Snow Peak’s ambitious plan for a new kind of campground experience, we needed a team of experts to make it happen. After purchasing the property for the Long Beach Campfield, we began searching for the right partners to bring our vision to life. From the beginning our goal has been to work closely with the Long Beach community, partnering with as many local businesses as possible. One of our key partners in the Long Beach Campfield project is our architecture team from EFA (Erik Fagerland & Associates). Their eye for design closely matches Snow Peak’s ethos, and the father-son team has deep roots in the peninsula, bringing their knowledge and expertise of the area to the project. Erik Fagerland shared a bit about EFA and the family’s history in Long Beach.
How long has your family lived in Long Beach? What are some of your favorite outdoor activities in the area?
We originally moved to the peninsula from New York in 1983. I (Erik) was in the Coast Guard running motor lifeboats. I took the GI Bill and studied at the University of Oregon and returned to the Long Beach area in 1990. We've been here ever since.
We live the beach life. Which is, liberating, always flexing with economic peaks and valleys, and all things outdoors. It's much like I think of all northwest lifestyles, in that we are constantly seeking outdoor activities. But I feel everyone is here to experience what the beach has to offer, and it is always there just moments out the door.
We explore the shorelines of the beaches and the islands. We canoe, kayak, camp, hike, clam, crab, fish for salmon, cod fish and tuna. We park and watch storm surf at the jetties, explore logging roads, go berry picking, and motorcycle riding. Sunsets at the beach or from rock perches at Cape Disappointment and hiking old growth forest trails also top the list. When we're not enjoying local activities, our family backpacks in the Mt. Adams, Indian Heaven Wilderness area each summer. Oh yeah- and we work our ass off for our customers.
Can you share about your primary customers and business focuses?
We work for retirees, second homeowners, local businesses, and schools. I used to say we do everything from fences to banks. You must be flexible to live here, as there is not a large workforce and often not much new industry.
Today, our core team is myself as the owner architect for the last 30 years. My son Scott is now our lead designer and is responsible for most of the Snow Peak campfield designs. He has been here full-time for 12 years. Chris Woodby is our construction manager and detail expert for our contracting branch. He has been in that position for 27 years. We usually employ one or two more interns, half a dozen carpenters, and a full-time administrator.
What do you look for design inspiration?
I believe we find most of our design inspirations from Scandinavian design which I think was modern/contemporary before modern was cool. We find the thoughtful simplicity and innate order in their designs from the 50's and 60's as impactful as today's "contemporary" designs. I also feel there is a similar aesthetic between the Scandinavian modern and both Japanese architecture and Northwest contemporary. Simple expression of framing or structure, limited palette of materials and efficient spatial organization- these are the most important design elements to us.
What excites you most about the campfield project?
I literally just told a consultant today: "It gives me goose bumps to share the vision that Snow Peak is trying to create here at the Long Beach Campfield.”
We see this as a new venue to bring people out of their busy urban life for a moment and enjoy simple access to a truly rural outdoor experience. We also see it as a rare opportunity for us to help create or be a part of a project that has a much farther reach than we normally experience in our rural lives.
This project has the potential to benefit so many more people from so many places. Whether it's someone who could benefit from knowing how to access the outdoors or someone traveling to learn about new places. Or it’s the local businesses who will benefit from the construction activities and the future economics of a wonderful addition to our tourism community. This project is very special to us.