Health Regs Threaten Under-the-Radar Campground

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September 1, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

A low cost campsite in west central Indiana that has served families for four generations is in danger of closing. This year could be it's last season.

The Jefferson Township Conservation Club is a secluded spot with 27 campsites next to the Oak Dale Dam in Carroll County. Debra and Harvey Bowsman have camped here for more than a decade.

"I'm just hoping we can come up with the money to keep it going,” Harvey told WLFI-TV, West Lafayette.

It been a such a well-kept secret for 50 years it literally fell off the map for the state of Indiana.

"The person with the department of health was having lunch across the river and looked down and said, 'I see a campground there and I don't remember that being on my records,'” said Jefferson Township Conservation Club President Zonda Bryant.

The department of health found the campground was not in compliance with state regulations. The club must now submit a plan of the campground to the state to remain open.

"And that requires we have a survey done by a licensed architects or engineer,” said Bryant.

Turns out having a marker on the map is expensive. The total cost is $1,275. Money the club doesn't have. The cost to camp is $30 a family per year. Those fees pay for operating costs. The campground has until the end of October to come up with the extra cash. If it can't, the campground will only be allowed to operate nine campsites. The Bowsmans said losing the campground would leave many families without a low cost get away.

"A lot of families don't have the money to go to some of the other places where here you just pay one fee for the whole season,” said Debra.

"There's a lot of people that camp every weekend. I know there are more than nine campers,” said Harvey.

The club is trying to raise money among its members but fears there won't be enough collected. It could mean the campground could be erased from the map for good. Club members said if they are limited to nine sites, for money reasons, they may have to completely shut down.

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