Conservation department raising camping fees
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
Campers looking to stay at the Henry County Conservation campgrounds are going to have to pay a few extra dollars this year.
Monday night, the Henry County Conservation Board voted to raise camping fees from $8 per night for sites without electricity and $12 per night for sites with electricity to $10 per night for sites without electricity and $15 per night for sites with electricity.
“We’re low, we’ve always been low,” said Conservation Director John Pullis, who noted that neighboring counties were charging $15 or $18 per night for sites with electricity.
“I think at $15 and $10, we’re still going to be on the low end of most campgrounds,” Pullis continued.
“It’s not a tremendous amount of money,” said Board Member George Jaques, who noted the small increase now may prevent the board from having to raise fees again for a few years.
However, Board Member Jim Onorato questioned whether the fee should be raised for the sites without electricity.
“I’m against going up on the non-electric, because you get tent campers with kids normally, and if you jump the price up you might be keeping the families away a little bit,” said Onorato.
“I think it’s only fair to raise them for both,” countered Pullis. “They’re receiving the water that went up, our trash collection which went up, the dumping fees for the contractor that went up. Everything went up, except they’re not going to pay for the electric.”
The amounts of $15 and $10 were settled on as it would be easiest to work in increments of five, Pullis noted.
In other business, Pullis updated the board on a informational meeting he held in December with area equestrian clubs to discuss plans for the Gibson Recreation Area.
“There main concern was, where we are looking at putting an equestrian campground … is a fairly small area,” said Pullis, who noted that the area on the south side of the road near Gibson would be too small to turn trailers around.
“Some of them are over 40 feet long. They’re longer than a semi,” continued Pullis. He said the clubs suggested maybe moving the planned campground area from the south side to the north side by the shelter house, where there would be more room to maneuver the trailers.
Pullis said the main improvement the clubs would like to see was having more gravel.
“That’s all they want. They want gravel, so their trucks and their trailers are on gravel,” said Pullis. “The other thing was they need hitch rails.”
“We talked a little about electricity. Don’t need it — that’s a luxury. Water, don’t need it — that’s a luxury. Corral, don’t need it — that’s a luxury,” said Pullis.
However, Jaques noted that they may want to consider adding water or electricity so that other campers could use the sites as well.
Pullis said that all the clubs are looking for initially is to establish a camping area with a gravel road and gravel areas for the campground.
Another idea that came up, noted Pullis, was having designated riding routes on county roads much like snowmobile routes are currently set up.
“I thought that was really a cool idea,” said Pullis, noting the road would have signs designating it as a riding trail. “It would be a designated riding trail so that you’d know if you’re traveling that road you need to be just a little bit aware or conscious that there could be horses on it also.”
In other business, the board awarded 2013 mowing contracts to Rubey Lawn Care LLC and Garry Allender. Rubey will be mowing the Oakland Mills areas for $540 per cycle and Gibson for $105 per cycle. Alledner will be mowing the Stephenson and Mud Creek areas for $106 per cycle.
The only other bidder was Stewart Services LLC, which had bid $545 per cycle plus a $10 fuel surcharge for the Oakland Mills area, $100 per cycle plus a $5 fuel surcharge for Gibson and $120 per cycle for the Stephenson and Mud Creek areas.