Alabama County Curtails 'Annual Camping'
New park regulations in Colbert County, Ala., will curtail annual camping at places such as Rose Trail Park and will continue to prohibit the construction of porches, decks or storage sheds at campsites, according to the TimesDaily, Florence, Ala.
Enforcement of the new regulations is part of an agreement between the county and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).
The county was informed in December that it would be unable to apply for grants administered by ADECA unless it came into compliance with the terms of the 1971 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant that was used to develop portions of Rose Trail Park.
"We've been working on this for several weeks," County Administrator Donna Llewellyn said.
For the commission, coming into compliance meant putting an end to long-term camping at Rose Trail Park, where some campers have occupied waterfront lots for as long as 10 years at a rate of $800 per year.
Some campers built elaborate structures that surrounded their camping trailers and recreational vehicles to the point where they resembled cabins. They built porches, decks and sheds, which are prohibited under the new regulations.
The county already prohibits the construction of new structures, but campers who already had leases were allowed to keep their structures.
New renters were limited in what they could do with their sites.
- Covers to protect recreational vehicles from falling tree limbs or sunlight were allowed.
- Under the new regulations, long-term camping will be allowed in "no more than 50% of the campsites available" at a county park that provides such facilities.
- Long-term camping will not exceed 50 weeks in one year and the camper must vacate the site for 14 days at the end of their rental period.
- The remaining sites will be rented for a maximum of 21 consecutive days, but that could be reduced if the commission chooses. Those campsites, according to the regulations, will be in "desirable locations."
- No campsite will remain unattended for more than 24 hours during the rental period.
- An annual lottery will be held to determine who will be able to lease annual sites. The date of the lottery will be advertised in a local newspaper and posted at various sites throughout the county.
Commission Chairman Roger Creekmore said the guidelines give the county parameters to follow.
"The primary change will be the elimination of the annual campground," Creekmore said.
Llewellyn said the regulations have been sent to ADECA for approval and by all indications, the regulations will be accepted.
She said the regulations will not require action by the county commission until ADECA approves them.
The regulations will apply to all parks in Colbert County that offer camping, including Rose Trail Park and Colbert Alloys Park on the Tennessee River, which is still being developed and does not yet offer camping.