Posts Tagged ‘Montana’

camp hosts “Good mornin’,” Dave Gray calls in a Louisiana drawl to a couple walking towards Flathead Lake.

Gray works at Big Arm State Park, operated by the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Department, as a camp host.

Big Arm State Park has 41 campsites and three yurts, two large and one small.

The perfect person to be a camp host, Gray likes people and the recreational vehicle lifestyle. He visits with any campers out walking, answers questions, gives directions if asked, sells firewood and ice and makes change for the showers.

He and wife Judy are from Haughton, La.

“We love the RV lifestyle,” Dave Gary said. “We love to travel and were blessed to be able to retire fairly early.”

Dave is a former firefighter, and Judy is a registered nurse.

The couple has been camp hosting for four years, but this is their first year in Montana.

Dave is a former firefighter, and Judy is a registered nurse.

The couple has been camp hosting for four years, but this is their first year in Montana.

Judy has a brother in Arlee who has lived here for 22 years.

“It’s fun getting to know him again,” Judy said, and she and Dave wanted to get to know his family.

“It’s hot back home, and it’s cool here,” Dave said, citing another reason for coming to Montana.

The FWPD has a computerized central reservation system, Dave said. He prints each day’s campsite reservations and then makes rounds of the park to see if any campers came in late at night. Then they prepare the park for the day. A volunteer, Judy and another volunteer clean bathrooms while Dave checks reservations, puts reserved tags on campsites and cleans campsites as people leave.

“We handle cancellations, custodial work and light maintenance,” Dave said.

Mowing and watering the grass, keeping the bathrooms, pit house and bath house stocked and clean, picking up trash around the park and cleaning and prepping the campsites keeps the camp hosts busy. For larger jobs, FWP has a maintenance guy on call.

There are four camp hosts at Big Arm State Park, two on duty at any given time. The Grays and one other camp host work three days on and four days off, while the other crew works four days on and three days off.

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The Minnesota Department of Revenue believes a small group of RVers are attempting to evade paying sales tax on recreational vehicles by registering them in Montana.

Motor vehicles are subject to the state’s 6.5% sales tax and the RVs need to be registered in Minnesota. The rule applies no matter where the RV was purchased.

The agency says Minnesota residents are setting up shell corporations in Montana to purchase the RV and register the vehicle in Montana. The price of the motorhomes involved ranges from $150,000 to over $1 million.

The tactic violates state law and any resident caught evading sales tax could face gross misdemeanor or felony criminal charges. They would also have to pay the sales tax, as well as any penalties and interest.

Since October 2010, the revenue department has closed 22 cases and collected $230,000. Currently there are 270 cases under investigation. The agency is working with Montana authorities, Minnesota State Patrol and the state’s Department of Public Safety Vehicle Crime Unit.

Those who have not paid taxes on a recreational vehicle should contact the Minnesota Department of Revenue at (651) 556-6684 or visit the Department of Revenue website.

Everything that brings people to Hyalite Canyon, part of the Gallatin National Forest in southwestern Montana, — camping, fishing, and hiking, to name a few – is still available in spades.

But one campsite, Hood Creek Campground, is closed and parking spaces in the day use area and the Blackmore trailhead parking lots have been taken up by construction equipment and material.

It’s closed for a $425,000 reconstruction project at Hood Creek Campground, a 29-campsite area that sits along Hyalite Reservoir. The entire campground has been closed as contractors rip up fire rings and picnic tables in order to reconfigure the area.

The huge growth in use that Hyalite Canyon has seen in recent years – 1,400 cars traveled up the road on July 3 alone — has made the work necessary.

Bozeman District Ranger Lisa Stoeffler said,“So many of our campgrounds started as mom-and-pop things and they were never engineered.” “They kept getting user expanded and pushed and finally we said, ‘OK, this doesn’t work anymore.’”

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