Campers battling Clay County, N.C., leaders over plans restricting how long they can stay at public campgrounds on Lake Chatuge got a one-year reprieve Thursday (Oct. 4).
The Clay County Board of Commissioners approved a plan to start a lottery system in 2009 for spaces at the Clay County Recreation Campground and county-owned Gibson Cove campground, according to the Ashville (N.C.) Citizen-Times.
Campers had worried they would have to have their RVs and trailers out by the end of the month and that the lottery system would start next year. Some campers have been in the same spot for a decade.
They will now be allowed to keep their campers at the campground for the winter and in the same spots for one more summer if they sign a lease.
The county owns about 100 spaces – many are seasonal spots that cost $200 a month.
“My concern was we give these folks ample time to do what they need to do,” Commissioner Stephen “Doc” Sellers said.
The county leases the land from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). In the past, the county had let the campers store their trailers over the winter and have the same spot when they returned for the season.
County leaders decided to change the rules this year after complaints from people who could not get a space at the lake. The county manager has said the waiting list had 50 names.
Commissioner Harry Jarrett said he wanted time to develop better policies for the campground and make improvements.
Longtime campers say the move will destroy the close-knit and safe community they have at Chatuge. Many plan to find private campgrounds to rent with their friends.
“It is the best we can do at this time,” said camper Ann Watson, who has been at the same spot on the lake for years.