Mickey Eames

Eames

Starting this spring, the campground at Mike Walker Boat Dock could be locked up and become reservation only.

Jefferson County commissioners approved the change to campground operations Feb. 3, with the intention of decreasing the number of people who stay longer than allowed. Starting this spring, Eames said there will be a gate to the campground that will be locked at all times when the campground is not reserved.

“That way we keep track of who’s coming in, instead of people living there,” said Mickey Eames, county parks and recreation director.

Eames said in addition to the gate, signs with information about reserving a campsite will be posted.

“I think it sounds good,” Commissioner Roger Clark said Feb. 3. “It kind of alleviates that problem we had last year where we’re always trying to have law enforcement go out and ask people to move that’s been there for extended periods.”

Commissioners have discussed problems with people living at Mike Walker Boat Dock before. Eames said in October 2019 that hiring a camp host could help, but said Jan. 27 the cost would be prohibitive and the campground would “never pay for itself.” She said gating the campground would be a less expensive way to address the problem.

Commissioner Shayne Young asked if people, specifically those who might overstay, would still be able to enter the campground when it is reserved and the gates are unlocked. Eames said yes.

“They could, but we just have to police it a bit,” she said.

In addition to voting for the operational changes, commissioners also approved improvements to the Mike Walker Boat Dock parking lot. Eames said Bureau of Land Management, which contributes to the boat dock upkeep, will cover part of the cost of the parking lot improvement.

She said she would also like to improve the campground in other ways, including have more trees planted in the campground in less shaded areas.