The Hill County Park Board discussed a variety of issues in a lengthy monthly meeting Monday in Havre.
The board discussed several ideas that have been hanging, including creating a new website where people could find out more about Beaver Creek Park, reserve campsites and even pay for permits.
Heather DePriest of Montana Grafix in Chinook described what a website she could build for the park could do and how it would look, adding that payments for permits and so on would be done using the online payment company PayPal.
She said people could load up the page from the site to see what times are available to reserve sites including Camp Kiwanis, then submit a request to reserve a campsite.
The website also could allow purchase of permits, although Beaver Creek Park Superintendent Chad Edgar said he thinks setting up online purchase of yearly permits might need some extra work. He said he thought buying day-use permits and reserving campsites could start as soon as the website was ready.
The board agreed to continue working with DePriest to discuss building the website.
The board also heard about a program to create uniform signing for cabins on the park. Edgar said Havre High School shop teacher Bruce Finneman had his students make wooden signs. The signs have a number engraved on a piece of wood, which can be painted to make them more visible.
“It’s really beautiful,” Edgar said. “It really is.”
The board agreed to continue discussing how the signs would be distributed to the cabin owners, and how and where they would be required to be mounted and by whom.
The next item on the agenda was updating park permit displays. The board has been discussing how to require permits be displayed in vehicles to make it easier for the park staff to police the park and ensure that all users have paid required fees.
Edgar said he continues to prefer having some kind of sticker or decal that would be placed in a vehicle window, to prevent people from letting others who have not paid the fee use the park.
Board Chair Steve Mariani said he still prefers some kind of hanging tag that could be placed on the rearview mirror or prominently displayed in the vehicle. That would make it easy for people who have more than one vehicle to use different vehicles at the park and would make it easy to police he said, adding that, no matter what system is used, people will find a way around it.
Several others at the meeting also said being able to use the same tag on several vehicles would be convenient.
Board member Robbie Lucke added that he has heard people who have noted that the park staff is doing more policing to make sure people using the park have purchased permits.
Audience member Lou Hagener said peer pressure can be effective in policing. He said the rifle range uses hanging tags, and members who have their tags displayed will ask people who do not whether they have a tag and why it isn’t displayed.
“I think that could be useful in the park,” he said.
The board also discussed fences at cabin sites. At the last cabin inspection, some 18 cabins were found to have metal or snowfence fences that do not meet park regulations.
The board agreed to keep the basic requirements of fences in place, but to grant waivers on a case-by-case basis if someone wants a variation.
The main concern, Edgar said, is how the fences look and if they meet the goal of maintaining the park’s rural, rustic nature.
Mariani said people who want to have a variance — including the people who already have put up fences that do not meet the regulations — will need to come to the board and describe what they will use and how it will look.