Marion County Passes New Camping Ordinance
On February 13, 2007, the Marion County Board of Commissioners passed a watered-down “recreational camp” ordinance that is an improvement from the ordinance passed in September, but the new rules are still of concern to sportsmen.
Several other Georgia counties appear poised to begin the process of regulating, restricting and charging fees for hunters who camp, and the Marion County ordinance could be used as a model ordinance for other Georgia counties. The Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) and the Georgia Wildlife Federation (GWF) were involved in negotiations that led to the newest ordinance, but it still includes provisions that seem very unreasonable to sportsmen. Hunters who spend time in campers in the fall hope it won’t be allowed to spread to their counties. For example, if your hunting camp can be seen from a road or property line, be prepared to start pricing six-foot-high fencing or mature cedar trees at the nursery — or move your hunting camp.
GONetwork President Steve Burch said the Marion County ordinance seems to unfairly target sportsmen.
“This is a small point, but a striking example of the prejudice rampant throughout the bill. The bill denies use of certain plants in the vegetative buffer that recreational campers are required to have. No one else in the county is restricted from planting those plants, and no one else is required to plant vegetative buffers to hide their eye-sores.
“Those sorts of issues prejudical to sportsmen permeate the new ordinance, and we are still very concerned. However, because hunting season is not open right now, we have time to evaluate the ordinance closely and continue to attempt to work with every group and the county to perfect a law that can cast a very long shadow — a shadow for good or for ill — across all of the state and all Georgia hunters,” Steve said.