April 2, 2014

Camping fee income robust



Offering long-term camping at McLean County’s Sportsmen’s Centennial Park is paying dividends.

At the meeting of the county park board, members and county commissioners were presented figures for camping fees from the past few years. Comparing figures from 1998 to this past year, there’s been a 550 percent increase in 16 years.

"It’s the biggest year we’ve had," said County Auditor Les Korgel, park board secretary.

In 1998, revenue was $9,403. This past year the figure ballooned to nearly $60,000.

"The effects of long-term camping has raised the boundary a bit," he added.

Park Manager Les Hultberg said he thinks that figure could rise in the future, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has indicated an interest in expanding long-term sites next year, possibly adding another 10 spots.

A new ramp for Sportsmen’s Centennial Park will have to wait for now. At their meeting Tuesday, park board members and county commissioners were briefed on plans for a boat ramp upgrade. But new guidelines, restrictions and preferences between what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants and N.D. Game & Fish Department could play a factor in what finally is recommended.

"I think those two agencies should get together," said board member Rick Hultberg.

Cost to the county is another unknown. "I don’t think we have enough information to proceed with this," reasoned Commissioner Steve Lee.

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