By Robert Lucke
Ten thousand acre Beaver Creek Park is primed and ready to start the 1999 camping season this Memorial Day weekend.
The hundreds of campgrounds will be teaming with people, weather permitting, and conditions for a great camping season look very good according to Park Superintendent Bernie Golie.
There are a few tips Golie has to make camping experiences even better.
Beaver Creek Park is a fee area, Golie commented. Hill County residents pay twenty dollars a year for use of the park while out of county residents pay thirty dollars. There is an overnight only camping fee of five dollars.
Park stickers are available at Camp Kiwanis, Bing and Bobs, Mels Foods, Strombergs Sinclair and the Hill County court House.
Park staff will be checking stickers. Having to purchase a yearly permit from them will result in a ten dollar increase in the yearly rate.
Park officials reminded park users that although Camp Kiwanis is full for the balance of the season, there are still some large group camping areas that can be reserved for family reunions and the like. The fee for reserving a group campground is twenty dollars per day.
Bear Paw Lake is a Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks fishing access area. As a result of fishing a day use is free in that area when accompanied by a valid Montana fishing license. If staying overnight in the campgrounds surrounding Bear Paw Lake, a five dollar night usage fee is charged or having a twenty dollar Beaver Creek Park yearly permit.
Individual campgrounds warranted lots of tips by Superintendent Golie.
If you have a fire, be sure and put it out when you leave. We are seeing lots of fires left untended, said Golie. There is lots of firewood down on the ground and we encourage people to use it for fires. Park rules forbid the cutting of any standing timber for fires, dead or alive.
Many campgrounds are very close together. One of Golies main concerns is that campers make sure and guard the privacy of other campers in the vicinity.
Music is one of the main complaints, Golie related. Please keep your music down so it does not bother folks in neighboring campgrounds.
Park authorities remind campers that this time of year four wheelers and off road vehicles along with dirt bikes are not permitted in Beaver Creek Park.
Beaver Creek speed limits are clearly posted. The state has set a general speed limit through the park at 55 mph. There is a 15 mph speed limit around Kiwanis Camp and a 25 mph speed limit around Bear Paw Lake.
There are going to be so many kids and campers on the roads this weekend, walking and riding bikes and things like that that it would be a good idea to slow down, Golie cautioned.
Right now there are three designated areas for tent camping only in the park although tent camping is allowed in most all the campground areas.
It is a good idea to look in the campground you want before driving your motorhome in, said Golie. There are some campgrounds that are just not big enough for most large outfits.
There is a fourteen day limit to stay in any one campground throughout Beaver Creek Park.
Plan to come early for a good spot this weekend but even that is worth a word of caution.
If you bring your trailer out to a spot on Wednesday, dont go into town and leave it, Golie said. Stay with your trailer. There are just too many broken into when left.
Memorial Day is the beginning of a summer of camping on Beaver Creek. With just a few tips, camping can be even more fun for you as well as for the folks in the next campground.