New Wildcat ordinance enacted
Site lottery will be held every four years
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 7:26 AM
Houston County Commissioners convened a public hearing on Wildcat Park and Landing on June 18, which resulted in the adoption of a new policy on seasonal campsites.
The view from a seasonal camp site at Wildcat Park and Landing outside of Brownsville.
Leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), Wildcat Park is located along the Mississippi River near Brownsville.
Federal policy of seasonal sites resulted in the initiation of a lottery system, which was supposed to have allowed more persons access to those spots, but wound up making them harder to fill, Auditor Char Meiners reported.
"The purpose of reopening the ordinance is we wanted to go from having the lottery every other year to every fourth year," she said. "We also wanted to include not having the lottery in the fourth year if we don't have a waiting list."
"The corps wanted everybody to have equal access to those (seasonal) sites. That sounded really good up front, but it's hard on us as far as retaining those permanent campers. People want to know they have a site, so this year, we were losing people, and we had four open sites up until and after the time the campground opened.
"We finally filled all of them; however, we lost money by not having those sites filled up all the time.
"It makes sense. If we have a waiting list, we'll have a lottery, but if not, we don't. We do not have to have one every other year."
The new ordinance states that Houston County will advertise seasonal campsites once every four years, beginning in 2015. The lottery will be held the third week in September for the next camping season. There are 20 seasonal sites.
If a waiting list develops, the Wildcat Park Committee can initiate a lottery regardless of the year. Houston County also reserves the right to forego holding the lottery on the fourth year with written approval from the COE.
Applicants selected for a seasonal site will not be allowed to trade, swap or switch seasonal sites with another applicant without the approval of the Wildcat Park Committee.
"They (COE) also wanted us to address not having people put permanent structures down there," Meiners added.
To that end, the updated ordinance includes the following: "Seasonal campers are not permitted to erect structures/ improvements to campsites so as to become a permanent part of the campsite."
Violation of the provision would result in a camper being notified to immediately remove the structure or risk eviction.
Non-seasonal campers are allowed to stay up to 14 days during any 30-consecutive-day period. Wildcat Park has a total of 62 campsites, three picnic shelters, two boat landings and a fishing pier.
Learn more online at www.co.houston.mn.us or call (507) 725-5803.