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Community Considers Future of Colorado River RV Park

October 5, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

The future of Davis Camp park near Bullhead City, Ariz., goes before the Mohave County supervisors today (Oct. 5.), according to the Mohave Valley News.

The board will look at recommendations from a Phoenix design group on the operations of the 200-acre park along the Colorado River. Davis Camp was once the city of Bullhead City in the 1940s where workers who built Davis Dam lived. Davis Camp was once home to 100 homes, a grocery store, gas station, post office, swimming pool and two churches. The county parks took control of the former town in 1982.

Davis Camp has 141 developed campsites, 30 camping spaces, two large, dry camping areas, a recreational vehicle and boat storage facility, five shower and bathroom facilities, picnic area and 50 shaded armadas. There is also a paved launch ramp, Laundromat, horseshoe pits and a basketball court.

The park’s revenue for the 2007-08 fiscal year was more than $1 million. Park revenue comes from admission fee and RV and camping fees. The revenue generated from Davis Camp pays for most of county’s park systems. The net profit for the park for the 2007-08 fiscal year was more than $421,000.

In its study, WLB Group Inc. recommends that the highest priorities at the park include shoreline repair and stabilization. Because of the rise and fall of the river level from Davis Dam water releases, shore erosion threatens the park’s ramadas, campgrounds and vegetation and even other Bullhead City parks downstream. Davis Dam was built to balance water releases from Hoover Dam upstream. It is estimated that the park lost three acres of waterfront land in 10 years, land valued at about $3 million, the study stated.

Mohave County Park Director Shawn Blackburn said it would be the responsibility of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Army Corps of Engineers would have to reinforce the shoreline.

The study also recommends that the county use alternative energy such as solar panel systems and small-scale wind turbines at the park to reduce the rising cost of electricity.

Recommendations for South Beach include promoting special events using the amphitheater, looking for more concessionaires that will generate more park revenue, constructing paved walkways along the river and constructing a lighted walkway under the Laughlin bridge to access casinos. Other suggestions are to add boat docks, volleyball courts and picnic areas.

A splash park that would include sprinklers, timed fountains and water cannons is also recommended to be installed at the central park area. Another suggestion is to add a park store not only for park visitors but travelers on Highway 68, Blackburn said.

The RV camping sites provide more than half of the park revenue so higher gas prices, declining retirement income and a struggling economy affects park revenues. Increasing day use fees and camping fees is another suggestion. WLB Group also recommends adding cabins and full hook-up recreational vehicle sites.

About 200 acres of county leased lands east of Highway 68 between McCormick Boulevard and Bullhead Parkway could also be developed into a motor cross track, an indoor shooting range, equestrian trails or a rodeo arena.

A landscaping contractor recently installed a 76,000-square-foot lawn in the southern part of the park off Highway 68 near the Laughlin Bridge. The lawn would be for spectators at special events with crowds projected up to 10,000 or more. The park is finishing a shaded stage for concerts, plays or any special event.

The county also awarded a contract to operate a snack bar, which would sell coffee, sun block, sunglasses or other items in a 402-square-foot building at the park’s South Beach.

Last year, the county also awarded a contract to operate a watercraft rental concession, including includes wave runners or jet skis at the park. The county also recently awarded a contract for a Laundromat at the county park.

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