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Panel extends camping season at Douglas County facilities

The extension gives campers three extra weeks Lucius Woods, Mooney Dam and Gordon Dam this year.

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Multiple campers are parked at camp sites in Lucius Woods County Park on Tuesday morning, Aug. 31, 2021, in Solon Springs. Douglas County is extending the season for campers through Oct. 3. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Campers will get more time this fall to enjoy nature at Douglas County facilities.

The forestry, parks and recreation committee approved a plan to extend the camping season until Oct. 4, adding three additional weeks to the 2021 season.

Camping seasons typically run annually from two Fridays prior to Memorial Day through the week following Labor Day at Lucius Woods, Gordon Dam and Mooney Dam campgrounds.

The extension, the second since the 2020 season, was proposed by parks and recreation supervisor Clint Meyer.

“We did get a couple of requests too from the public to extend the season,” said Jon Harris, director of natural resources and forestry.

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The county first extended the camping season for two weeks in 2020 because of the pandemic.

By allowing camping for two additional weeks last year, the county generated an additional $4,500 in revenue and issued an additional 180 permits.

“It didn’t cost us anymore than it would have the year before,” Meyer said, as staff were at the sites to get things cleaned up and work on year-end projects.

Committee chairman Mark Liebaert questioned whether the county should consider a new policy that would allow campgrounds to open and close when the weather allows.

“Ideally, we would like to change the policy at some point,” Meyer said.

Meyer plans to look at the policy over the winter, and if feasible, bring back a policy to the committee in the future.

“Openings are a little harder because it’s very weather dependent and some years we’re still holding snow,” Harris said. “Even if we had that perfect spring, I guess I wouldn’t be surprised if they were bringing a request for an early opening.”

Extending the camping season depends on available labor, Harris said. Many of the department’s limited-term employees are students who head back to school.

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The request is temporary, one-time, to see how it goes, Harris said.

Off-season camping, which is only allowed at Gordon Dam, is allowed until the snow flies and people can’t get into the sites. No services are available for the reduced-rate camping permits in the off-season.

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Campsites at Lucius Woods County Park in Solon Springs are set up Tuesday morning, Aug. 31, 2021. Douglas County is extending the season for campers through Oct. 3. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Related Topics: RECREATION
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