February 5, 2013

France Park to increase safety

Camp hires security guard, plans way to contact campers quicker

by Mitchell Kirk

— France Park is taking steps to increase safety, including hiring a security guard and improving the way it can get in contact with campers.

Lucas Beach, superintendent of France Park, said the desire to have a security guard arose from the increase in programming and a goal to double the amount of visitors this year.

“With all the extra programs we’re going to be having and all the different events, especially with the zipline being built and several other huge projects coming along, it’s definitely going to be a necessity to have another person there monitoring the gate at the actual programs themselves,” Beach said.

Along with the extra staff member monitoring the gate, France Park is also improving the way it handles records by going digital, cutting down on costs associated with paper copies and increasing efficiency.

“By creating an electronic avenue to be able to see who the campers are is definitely going to be not only more user friendly but also a lot more efficient with all the savings on our part,” Beach said.

Beach said this format would also allow for the park to get in touch with campers quicker. Should a camper’s family member need to communicate with them or if an emergency situation arises, camp employees would be able to find that camper’s location quickly in the computer without having to rifle through files.

“An electronic copy will show us which site is associated to which person,” Beach said. “Before, if Sheriff [Randy] Pryor called and wanted to know where this person is staying, we’d have to file through 200 to 300 camping forms.”

Cass County Sheriff Randy Pryor agreed the system would make getting in touch with campers more efficient for his department as well.

“Sometimes we do have out-of-county campers that come into our county,” Pryor said. “If they have an emergency at home, sometimes we’re contacted to make different notifications and it would make it a lot simpler for us to have an electronic version of where each and every camper is. We’ve had notifications out there in the past where we’ve had to drive around and find the correct campsite.”

France Park will be having an open discussion on all of its new policies at noon this Saturday in the red recreational building at the park. People are invited to attend with their questions and concerns and Beach said he and other camp staff members would be there to address them.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or

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