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Alabama Park Experiments with Teepees

June 29, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

If you can’t afford a recreational vehicle or even a tent, there’s a more primitive solution: a tepee. 

Those who don’t need to camp with air conditioning or plumbing, staples of the ritzy RVs lining McFarland Park near Florence, Ala., can turn to tepees overlooking the Tennessee River, according to the Florence Times Daily

Constructed by the same people who made tepees for the motion film “Dances With Wolves,” the canvas, cone-shaped havens will be available at McFarland starting this week, said Fred Boughner, parks and recreation superintendent. 

“It’s going to be great for boats going down river to see these lining the park,” he said. 

He said the department has already received interest from the public but is still determining what to charge. 

An RV with full electrical hookup costs $18 a night, while tents with electricity and water are $14 and more basic tents are $10 a night. 

Three of the six tepees are ready, with the remaining half expected to go up after the Fourth of July. 

One tepee is 22 feet in diameter. The rest are 16 feet. 

“We wanted to put in a little tepee village,” said Tina Kitchens, parks and recreation director. 

Some, however, think the American Indian trademark will amount to little more than a decorative throwback. 

“We thought there must’ve been a scout group here or something,” said Don Risavy, sitting in the shade outside his RV covered with Florida Gator stickers. “Without AC, we’d never stay there, especially during the summer.” 

Another more upscale camper, Tonda Tyon, said she hopes they become a fixture of the park. 

“I’d like it more if they had a bottom,” she said of the lack of flooring. “But they’re different and add some character.” 

Boughner said a floor, maybe a tarp, is in the works to keep the tepees protected during inclement weather. 

“It’s in the middle of a flood zone,” he said. “You sometimes only have 30 minutes to clear the park and you don’t want to take them down every time.”

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