Fred Henne campers left homeless after heat flash
NNSL (Jul 08/98) - Summer campers are packing up their tents, clotheslines and lawn chairs, bidding Fred Henne Territorial Campground a reluctant farewell.
Eighteen campers who have called the grounds home for almost two months and hoped to stay for up to another two have been told to leave.
Not all of them know where they'll be going.
According to the Territorial Parks Act, campers are limited to 14 consecutive nights at the campground. After two weeks, their stay can only be extended with the park ranger's consent, according to Gary Tees, regional parks supervisor for the GNWT.
At $12 per night, Tees said the cheap rent attracts both city residents and tourists to the campground every season. He estimated anywhere from 10,000 to 18,000 campers call Fred Henne home for at least one night of the season.
With that kind of demand, long-term campers can be a problem.
"Anything we do here is not money driven, it's more for accommodation," says Tees.
Last weekend's weather pushed the mercury up around the 30-degree mark, filling the campground to its capacity. Dozens of tents were also erected by the boat launch, beach concession and around the swampy areas of the shower shack.
It was the first time this summer that long-term campers could not extend their stay. "We'd like to give other people a chance, too," said Tees.
This population control at the campground is only temporary and Tees said familiar faces will be welcome back to the grounds within two weeks.
"They've always said it was a possibility," said Denise Maxwell, referring to the eviction notice she received Saturday evening. Maxwell left the campground Monday with no definite plans to return.
Word of the so-called eviction notices have some campers like Larse Zeeuw crossing their fingers.
Visiting from Holland, Zeeuw has lived at the campground for a month. He and his girlfriend have already been asked to relocate to a less attractive site near the highway.
The couple are worried their next move may have to be outside campground gates. "I hope not," says Zeeuw. "We don't have any place else to go."