(MONTGOMERY) - Campers at Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area may notice a few minor changes this year at the campground.
Andrea McCann of the Washington Times Herald reports that last May, the Daviess-Martin Joint County Parks and Recreation Department took over operation and maintenance of the campground for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which still operates the fish and wildlife area.
Superintendent Mike Axsom says free WIFI was added in parts of the campground and will expand this year to cover the rest of the area. This is important for campers because the remote locations had very limited cell phone service. The WIFI allows campers to use smart phones and laptops to keep in touch with their homes and businesses.
One more visible change campers will notice is the addition of a "camp host office" at the campground and park rangers are doing routine patrols at Glendale in both marked and unmarked vehicles.
Make no mistake, though, Axsom says the fish and wildlife area will not be run like a park; the property is still dedicated to fishing and hunting. He explained that money used to build and operate the property comes from hunters and fishermen, so activities there are devoted to enhancing opportunities for that constituency.
Glendale FWA boasts more than 8,000 acres of land and more than 1,400 acres of water. Dogwood Lake and 22 ponds provide some of the best fishing around, according to Susan Harrawood, D-MJCPD programs director, especially for bluegill.
Axsom added that a fall pheasant hunt at the property also is popular. He said hunters also can hunt waterfowl and "just about any huntable species in Indiana" at Glendale, and the campground is primarily there to serve the hunting and fishing public.
Harrawood and Axsom says, camp host Ginny Padgett has worked at Glendale FWA since 1972 and her father worked there at the time of its creation. They said she's very familiar with the FWA, so they hired her to serve as camp host.
Axsom says his department would like to find some volunteer camp hosts, who would camp free, to make someone available to campers around the clock while also keeping an eye on the campground.
Another idea Axsom would like to put in place involves creating a hunting camp atmosphere with a large tent where campers can sit around and socialize in the evenings.
Already, programming activities for kids have been added on weekends. Harrawood says when Dad is hunting or fishing and Mom and the kids have come along with him, they appreciate having activities in which they can participate. Though the initial effort was focused on children, she said, they're looking at programs for adults as well.
Glendale Campground has 121 sites. Of those, 67 have electricity and run $19 per night. The remainder are non-electric and cost $14 per night. That's a slight increase from last year, but is something campers will find at all state-owned properties, Axsom said.
Axsom explained that the parks department will collect the camping fees in return for their management services. The campground is about a $100,000-a-year operation. Axsom says, when the state ran the campground, they got that money. Now that $100,000 stays in Daviess County.
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