Frustrated campers leaving Missoula Authorized Camping Site

Bret Anne Serbin

Mitchell McCullough moved into the Authorized Camping Site on Clark Fork Lane in April.  

When a spot opened up in the campground this spring, he jumped at an opportunity for safety and security. But due to recent changes imposed upon the campers, McCullough plans on returning to sleeping on the street.

“I have to leave,” he said Wednesday morning.

Disgruntled campers like McCullough are starting to trickle out of the camping site because new rules make life harder for the campers who occupy the 40 designated spots there.

“There’s not going to be 10 people left here,” McCullough predicted.

Campers like McCullough are upset by prohibitions on coverings over their tents and a requirement stipulating campers keep their belongings inside the four fence posts at their sites.

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Ginny Merriam, the city’s communications director, said the restrictions were put into place for safety reasons. The structures being built on site are fire and building hazards, she explained, and walkways cluttered with personal belongings impede access for emergency services personnel.

“This is really just a place for people to pitch tents,” said Merriam, stressing the low-barrier status of the

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