Stillman Magee Regional Park is a rafter's paradise on hot summer days, but the park on Mackville Road may soon have a new attraction besides refreshingly cold Mokelumne River water — a campground.
A public meeting will be held tonight where the San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation Commission will decide whether to allow a campground for tents and RVs to move forward in the planning process.
"Oh, we need campgrounds," said county park commissioner Mary Fuhs, who lives in Acampo.
Fuhs said on Monday afternoon while looking over the park to prepare for tonight's commission meeting that opening a campground near the banks of the Mokelumne River could be a moneymaker for the county.
The county has two public parks for camping — Westgate Landing on the Mokelumne River across Highway 12 from Tower Park Marina, and Dos Reis on the San Joaquin River in Lathrop, according to Duncan Jones, the county's Parks and Recreation supervisor.
While Fuhs likes the idea of adding a campground at Stillman Magee Park, people enjoying the river on Monday afternoon weren't so sure if it's a good idea.
"I don't know; it's a little too close to town," Galt resident Kyle Ellis said, while sitting in a lawn chair in the river. "When I go camping, I like to go someplace where it's secluded."
Luis Buanteo, also from Galt, added, "They're not going to have people pay to go out here. The only people who know about it are the locals."
County workers graded much of the ground surrounding the parking lot to Stillman Magee. Traditional campsites would be between the parking lot and the Mokelumne River, while RV camping would be southwest of the parking lot, located on the west side of Mackville Road.
The idea of adding camping to the Clements park was included in the park master plan about 10 years ago, Fuhs said. There might be some changes to the plan because of inflation, she said.
Constructing the campground would take several steps before visitors could use it, said Gabe Karam, the county's general services director. They include:
Getting the county Parks and Recreation Commission's blessing at tonight's meeting to develop more detailed plans.
Completing the plans and submitting them to the county's Community Development Department.
Community Development deciding whether an environmental impact report would be needed to study how the campground would affect the environment.
The county Planning Commission deciding whether to allow the campground to be built.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.