CASPER, Wyo — The Natrona County Commission (BOCC) will hold a hearing at regular meeting Tuesday, May 4 to hear public comment and on the the recommended changes to the Natrona County Parks Rules and Regulations. The update to the rules, last updated in 2012, was approved by the Parks advisory board last year.
The BOCC may adopt the rules as recommended, as amended, reject them in total or table the matter, according to the Natrona County government website.
In a letter to the Board, County Parks director Mike Haigler said his department had received eight written letters of concern during the 45-day advertisement period. Haigler and his staff compiled and addressed the comments, but “does not recommend making additional changes to the rules.”
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The letters and the Park’s board’s response can be found beginning on page 46 of the BOCC’s May 4 meeting packet.
Of particular concern from the public was the county’s move to an online-only reservation system on many county-operated campsites, including all of those on Casper Mountain and many at Alcova Reservoir, including Black Beach and Okie Beach
The online reservation system is set to launch on Wednesday.
“Spontaneous camping” is still available at several Alcova and Pathfinder locations, though Haigler noted the online-only trend is reservations would likely encompass them in the coming years.
Some of the letter writers feared that campsites would be booked for weeks at a time, perhaps for longer than they might actually be in use. Some expressed a preference for scouting spots to camp before choosing a site. They also feared that out-of-state users would book the sites out.
In Haigler’s response to these concerns, he said he believed that the online reservation system would “enhance the certainty” that camping or picnic spot would be available.
The new rules also clarify a ban an existing on bicycles in Rotary Park.
Another change is the requirement that those operating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or “drones” in county parks hold a remote Pilot Certificate with the FAA, obtain a permit from the county, and operate only in designated areas.
Other changes to the rules include:
- Watercraft much be launched from Parks-designated boat ramps only
- Camping permits must be purchased “prior to establishing a campsite.”
- Between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am, music or audio equipment that can be heard outside the campsite are prohibited.