By Tim Leeds 

Board gives Lions exclusive use of campground


An issue that could have raised some contention was resolved peacefully at the Hill County Fair Board meeting this week, when the board members told Havre Lions Club members the club will have exclusive use of its campground.

The issue was over the Lions Campground in Beaver Creek Park often being split into two portions. A club member said at the meeting that the full area is for the Lions.

"I've got a little ax to grind, " club member Tony Dolphay told the board.

Dolphay said that, in the past, the club had been told it could not use the full campground, although he said that never has happened under current park Superintendent Chad Edgar. The club, when holding major events or work sessions, needs the full area, Dolphay said.

He said he had, in the past, put up some signs in the campground saying it was for the use of the Lions and people parked there could be asked to move. On two occasions, he asked people to move when the Lions needed the entire campground, he added. Those times were when the Lions would be dropping some trees or clearing brush where the other campers were parked.

But the board and the park superintendent said that when the club members need their entire campground, they can have it.

Board Chair Steve Mariani said he would like to keep the campground generally set as two sections, but the Lions always can use the full area.

"Let's try this. Let's make it work. " Mariani said. "We are on the same side on this.

"If you want both sides, you get both sides …, " he said. "If the Lions want it, you got it. It's not going to apply to the Lions. It's the Lions Campground. "

Superintendent Chad Edgar said he would like to see the campground split in general, giving the park two separate areas that can be reserved, but that he would block the entire area when the Lions request it.

"It's kind of a tradition … to have the Lions reserved area and the Lions general area, " he said, adding if the club needs the entire area blocked off, that is what he will do.

Especially with the damage from the flooding reducing the number of campsites at the park, having the two Lions areas for general campers would help the park, he said.

"I don't see the need to reserve the whole area for other people, other than the Lions, " he said, adding, "You guys are a great group. You do a lot for me, a lot for this park board. "

Dolphay said the Lions normally only would reserve the entire area three or four times a year. The rain and weather last year complicated things, he said. This year there may be many evenings that club members will decide to go out to do some work.

"We don't want to be bad neighbors. We just want to go out and take care of the campground as we can, " he said. "I would like to have the entire campground at that time. "

Edgar said work also should start soon on repairing flood damage. He said he is working with the federal Natural Resources and Conservation Service on planning to re-channel the creek back into its usual bed and get it properly running under the bridge. That was planned to be done last year, but the county still has not received the money, he said.

Dolphay offered to have the club track its work at the park, adding that last year club members put in probably more than 100 hours of work.

Edgar said tracking this year's hours would help the county make its required match in federal assistance in the Federal Emergency Management Agency projects, as it did for 2010.

"It helped out, " he said. "Every little bit helped out for our cost share to FEMA. "


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