STARKS — A local couple can now move forward with a new camping business enterprise at their alpaca farm.

Marie Ring and Kendall Hanna, owners of Sandy River Alpacas LLC, plan to add eight wilderness campsites on their 40-acre property, where they currently house 13 alpacas and host outdoor events, like weddings and concerts.

“(The alpacas) are so popular, which we didn’t know when we first got into it. Initially, our focus was on breeding them,” Hanna said.

Adding campsites to the property, he added, was a natural next step.

“You’re seeing a lot more of these campsites popping up on farms. More and more people want that backyard feel versus the commercial campgrounds,” he said. “People are wanting more tranquility, peace and quiet.”

Hanna and Ring led the Planning Board around the proposed sites listed on the application before the board reviewed and approved of the application with conditions at its Wednesday night meeting.


Three of the sites at Sandy River Alpacas are planned to be situated along the Sandy River. Those sites will be made for “glamping,” which describes an upscale form of camping that includes camping amenities rather than bringing in your own gear.

The other proposed spaces will only include platforms for tents. Community gathering areas, four bathrooms and two showers are also planned to be available for guests when they’re camping.

Though the alpacas were not a part of the Wednesday tour, the couple said that they will be “very involved” with the campsites and goings-on, believing that the animals will be part of the draw. The two bought the 40-acre property and have been raising alpacas since 2010.

When they initially bought the property, the two were breeding alpacas but phased out of it after a couple of years. Now, the alpacas reside at the farm. The couple has shifted gears to instead use the fibers produced from the animals for products in the gift shop and have the animals entertain guests. They’re working now to halter-train at least two of the alpacas for interactions with future guests. This includes training 1-year-old Chance, who the two said has been popular among visitors.

“The alpacas are very much a part of the attraction,” Hanna said. “We want to get at least two, maybe three trained well with halters.”

He added that when they are trained, guests will be able to walk them much like they would take a dog for a walk.


When complete, the campground, will be open for business May 1-Oct. 31.

The town’s Planning Board requested a few minor adjustments be made to the application, proof of proper permits from state and local agencies, and a septic plan as conditions to approving the application, which now allows the couple to move forward with planning and constructing wilderness campsites.

The board anticipates signing off on all completed documents at their next meeting.

There has been some confusion on the campsites as well, according to Gwen Hilton, board chairperson. Later this month the Planning Board anticipates beginning the process on another campground application in town, but the two projects are not related, she said. The other project will be discussed at the board’s Oct. 20 meeting.

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