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101 1st St NE
Box 12
Bowman, ND 58623-0012

Butte View Campground to get improvements

December 18, 2015

 

Butte View Campground, located on Highway 12 just east of Bowman, was built in the 1970s and has since outgrown its electric hookups. The Bowman Parks and Recreation Dept. will soon change that with new, higher amp hookups, along with sewer and water at each campsite.  (Photo by Bryce Martin/Pioneer)
Butte View Campground, located on Highway 12 just east of Bowman, was built in the 1970s and has since outgrown its electric hookups. The Bowman Parks and Recreation Dept. will soon change that with new, higher amp hookups, along with sewer and water at each campsite. (Photo by Bryce Martin/Pioneer)

By BRYCE MARTIN
Pioneer Editor | bmartin@countrymedia.net

An effort to help expand tourism in Bowman County is underway through various improvement projects at Butte View Campground.

As part of the Bowman Parks and Recreation Dept.’s five-year capital plan, improvements are currently being planned for the campground, located just a few miles east of the city of Bowman on Highway 12, so it could accommodate today’s large campers and ultimately more travellers.

The plan includes upgrading the site’s electrical infrastructure and adding full water and sewer hookups.

“We don’t want campers to come in, look at what we have and drive out,” said Chanell Walby, director of the parks department.

Walby said the existing electrical infrastructure throughout most of the camp’s 55 sites is obsolete, meeting only minimum standards for modern-day campers that require higher voltage hookups.

The campground, built in the 1970s, currently offers the traditional household 110-volt outlets, a few 30-amp plugins but very few 50-amp. Walby said larger campers require a minimum of 30-amps.

“We know that the campers are changing; they’re a lot bigger now than they used to be,” she said.

The plan is to place a minimum of nine 50-amp outlets, with the remaining sites featuring 30-amp outlets instead of the current nine 30-amp and 24 110. It started last year when crews began removing the old stumps that house the plugins.

In addition to electrical, Walby said the plan includes routing the site’s existing water and sewer infrastructure to each individual site.

There is a shower house currently at the site and each of the camp’s five loops—with 11 sites in each loop—has a water stick. There is also one dump station that allows campers to dispose of waste.

But Walby’s plan is to expand that and ensure each site has its own necessary hookups to accommodate campers.

Other improvements to the campground include hiring camp hosts that remain at the site to maintain the camp and keep better track of guests, and the addition of security cameras, which the department currently placed out for bid. Walby said the camp would also need to install a new septic system to control the waste.

Walby approached both the county and city for help with funding, though she said the department is trying to fund the roughly $100,000 project through grants.

Fifty percent of the project will be funded through a grant and Walby is trying to procure more.

To fill in the holes, however, the county agreed to provide up to $35,000, which would be less if there are additional grants, and the city pledged $5,000. Walby said she would also ask Bowman Tax and Tourism for some funding.

“It’s a direct benefit to all the businesses in town,” she said, adding that having more campers would increase revenue for the city.

Butte View Campground was previously a state park, then became under the ownership of the city of Bowman. It was gifted to the parks department in the late 1990s. While it is under the control of Parks and Recreation, it is still owned by the city.

This year’s attendance was not as full as 2014’s “bubble year,” as Walby called it. Last year saw many campers throughout the season, predominately hayers and local construction crews that worked on the new airport.

Though she indicated this year was much better than two years ago.

“We know we are positioned very well—right between the Black Hills and Medora and the Badlands,” she explained. “We want to have people come and stay here for more than a day.”

Walby said the department has been collecting data from the guests staying at the campground. From the data, she found people from 53 states and Canadian provinces stayed at Butte View this summer.

“They’re coming from all over,” she said.

For the Bowman All School Reunion in June, the campground had a difficult time accommodating all the guests because the electrical situation was so bad, she said.

Once full funding is in place, Walby said construction at Butte View would begin in the spring as the ground thaws. She hopes the project would only last about two months, allowing the campground to open per its usual schedule in May.

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