East Lake Park campground opens for the season April 15. Other changes are happening beginning April 15 include a Carry-In, Carry-Out policy meaning there will be no trash cans at the shelters or campgrounds and the only way to reserve a campsite or shelter house is by making reservations online at www.mycountyparks.com.
There are 25 campsites and all are able to host one RV/camper or tents. There is room on each site for a camper and one tent for kids 16 and under. They all offer water and electric hook ups. Alcohol is allowed in the campgrounds but is limited, no kegs or hard liquor is permitted. While park hours are daylight to dark, quiet hours at the campground is 10 p.m.-7 a.m. and all unregistered guests must leave by 10 p.m. Reservations must be made at least 5 days in advance but can be made as far as a year out. At least one overnight night must be reserved and the maximum of 14 days at one spot. To reserve a weekend it must be a Friday and Saturday night. For holidays such as Labor Day or Memorial day campers must reserve five nights. The Fourth of July requires three nights stay.
“That way I don’t have somebody staying one night when there was someone willing to stay the whole weekend,” said Scott Kent, Clarke County Conservation Director. “That’s pretty standard with most county parks.”
Campers must be checked in no later than 10 a.m. and checked out no later than 3 p.m.
The shelters are available for rent only online after April 15 and they are filling up fast.
“Our shelters fill up almost every weekend throughout the summertime,” said Kent.
Shelters are available for a multitude of purposes including picnics, birthday or graduation parties, weddings or reunions.
The website to reserve shelters or campsite does require a one time username to be created and credit card payment at the time of reservation. There will be no refunds unless the park can no longer provide the facility after the reservation has been made or a National Weather Service weather advisory has been issued for the day reserved.
“With the reservations being online we’ve already taken in more money that we have in the last three years with campgrounds,” said Kent.
This reservation process allows the Kent as Park Ranger to fine or make restitution should campers or shelter users not clean up after themselves, whereas without the information included in the reservation process that was a difficult task.
In order to clean up messes from shelter events of camping park goers need to bring their own trash bags but two dumpsters will be stationed on either end of the park.
“We’ve spent at least 8-15 hours a week picking up trash, emptying trash cans and spent over $900 last year in trash bags alone,” said Kent. “That money could be spent on playground equipment or something else and the guys could spend that time mowing versus picking up trash.”
Camping season begins at East Lake Park April 15 and ends roughly October 15. Reservations can be made online now for either shelters or campsites at www.mycountyparks.com by selecting COUNTIES in the top bar, then selecting Clarke from the state map and finally choosing from the list of parks in Clarke County. Liberty Park shelter and Hopeville Park shelter must also be reserved online after April 15.