California Park Residents Face Uncertain Future (3/15/2019)

Story by Woodall's Campground Management

Nearly one month after torrential rainfall caused major flooding and mud flow to areas of Lake Hemet Campground in Mountain Center, Calif., RV campground site renters face uncertain futures, according to the Idyllwild Town Crier.

Additional rains could cause further flooding and campground renters’ rights may be limited. 

Lake Hemet and the campground are owned by the Lake Hemet Municipal Water District headquartered in Hemet. The campground is managed by Basecamp Hospitality, formerly The California Parks Co.

On Feb. 14, a levee breached causing water to rapidly rise to three or more feet around meadow-facing premium RV month-to-month rental campsites. Some who were able to drive out on Valentine’s Day morning will not return. Patricia Blaine and partner Randy got out before noon, but in their hasty exit their RV sustained damage when hitting a submerged rock.

“We’re not going back because they haven’t corrected the problem,” said Blaine. “The breach has not been fixed and when rains come again, so will flooding. On the 14th, nobody [from campground management] came down to see us or help us. Had we not gotten out when we did, who knows what might have happened.”

Blaine provided a copy of her original contract with camp management which defined month-to-month renters as “campers not permanent residents.” (Blaine has lived at Lake Hemet Campground since October 2017.) 

The contract’s “Acknowledgement of Risk and Waiver of Liability” seems to transfer risks, including during emergencies, to those who voluntarily enter onto the campground, thereby limiting campers’ expectations of assistance during emergencies, and rights of recovery for losses or injuries sustained. 

A section of the contract reads as follows: “I [signing individual] am fully aware of the risks and hazards inherent in boating and camping and associated activities. I have decided to enter onto the property of the Lake Hemet Municipal Water District (“District”) and use District facilities knowing that such an act on my part may involve some danger to my person, to my property, or to the person or property of others. In addition, I understand that I am entering a campground as a camper, and not a permanent resident, in a relatively remote area and that availability of convenience and emergency services is limited or non-existent.”

Campers also sign a release from liability and agreement to indemnify both camp owner and management.

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