The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Bill permits removal of rowdy Missouri campers

  • Missouri campground owners could get a new tool for dealing with unruly or law-breaking campers.
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  • Missouri campground owners could get a new tool for dealing with unruly or law-breaking campers.
    Legislation, SB 735, given final approval by Missouri lawmakers during their annual session that wrapped up last week would allow campground owners to eject those who create a disturbance, aren't registered guests or visitors, stay past their departure day, default on payment or break the law. Campers who refuse to leave when asked could be charged with a misdemeanor for trespassing. That carries a fine of up to $500 and a possible jail sentence of between 30 days and six months.
    A trade association representing Missouri campground owners says they currently fall under the law for landlords and tenants and that the proposed legislation would allow campground operators to be more proactive. Missouri Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds President Larry Helms said campgrounds would be able to address incidents more quickly and effectively.
    "They want to be able to have a family atmosphere in their campgrounds and make it a safe place to be for families and campers and have the environment that you would expect when you go camping," he said.
    Helms owns the Boiling Spring Campground in Dixon about 60 miles south of Jefferson City, which has about 50 campsites for RVs and tents. He said the association has about 75 members and estimated that there are at least 200 privately owned campsites in Missouri. The measure does not apply to state parks.
    The legislation also would require campground owners to post or distribute for visitors their rules on curfews, pets and the use of alcohol and tobacco. Campers who are removed would be entitled to a refund for the unused portion of any prepaid fees.
    Lawmakers overwhelmingly endorsed the measure, and it heads to Gov. Jay Nixon.
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