The Lander City Council continued its discussion about City Park camping fees this week after passing an ordinance on second reading making it easier to adjust the rules at local parks and recreational facilities.
City staff recommends not charging fees for camping, assistant mayor RaJean Strube Fossen told the council during the Tuesday work session – but staff does want to update the rules at City Park to improve the camping experience for everyone involved and make local regulations “more enforceable.”
“There are some things that we can do to make that camping better,” Strube Fossen said. “So you will be seeing some suggestions in the park rules (resolutions) regarding camping, how long, some of those things.”
City attorney Adam Phillips noted that, if Lander began charging fees for camping at City Park, it would be illegally competing with private businesses.
Free camping, by contrast, is considered a government “service,” he said.
The city can – and does – request donations for campground use, however, with $400 collected since July 1, city treasurer Charri Lara said.
She suggested advertising the donation opportunity with signage at the park that might prompt more people to contribute.
“That’s the feedback I got from several different people,” Councilmember John Larsen said. “If there was some marketing where they knew where to make the donation, and maybe a little arm-twisting to go along with the marketing, then it could certainly … step up (the) donations.”
The city is also exploring ways to make it easier to donate, Lara said – a move Councilmember Julia Stuble applauded.
“The minute you ask me to register a new account and new password … I’m out of there,” Stuble said. “(Let’s make it) as easy as possible to send $10 in.”
The council will be asked to consider the new park rules resolutions at a future meeting, Strube Fossen said, and “there will be no voting on adding park fees unless you guys deem otherwise.”
For more information call the City of Lander at 332-2870.