Campers Outraged by TVA Regulation

Empriss Campbell

Tennessee River campers are frustrated with the Tennessee Valley Authority after learning they are regulating the use of decks and roof covers.

Members of the Shoreline Alliance say that they need those structures.

"One of the things they've done is come to Perryville Marina, specifically and told us that we have to tear down our decks and covers that we have constructed to protect our campers and enhance our visit to the river," said Shoreline Alliance Spokesperson.

TVA officials said that these rules are nothing new and provided this statement:

“As a safety precaution, TVA’s guidelines do not allow roofs over campers or campsites. These roofs can restrict some vehicles from fitting into a camping space and limit access to public camping. TVA is requiring roof structures be removed, as they are not permitted under the commercial operators agreement with TVA.”

“TVA regulations regarding permanent structures in public campground spaces are designed for visitor safety and to verify campsites meant for short-term stays are not being used as permanent residences or being reserved exclusively for select private individuals.”

The Shoreline Alliance is grassroots organization hoping to change the regulation.

These are pictures of the structures the T-V-A wants torn down by the end of the year.

"But many of these structures have been there 20 years and for them just now to come back and say you have to tear down is totally wrong," said Merritt.

Merritt says campers recently found out about the regulation in February, but he says the T-V-A first talked about it in 2010.

Merritt said, "At the very least TVA has been negligent about enforcing these unknown regulations, no one knew that they existed."

Shoreline Alliance members say if the T-V-A gets their way small towns like Parsons will lose a lot of business brought in by the campers in Perryville Marina.

"We have decided to use $2 bills to purchase items in the Perryville Marina area, specifically Parsons, Tennessee in order for people to understand this is money they won't have next year if TVA goes through with what there trying to do," said Merritt

Merritt says he and other members of the organization are planning a trip to Washington to talk with Senators Corker and Alexander to tell them what is happening to Tennessee campers.

TVA provided the following statement:

“When private individuals construct permanent structures in public campsites, those structures create a sense of private ownership at those spaces. Select individuals should not have a preferential claim to the best camping spots over the rest of the public. Each public camping space should be equally accessible to anyone interested in staying at the campground.”

“Decks and railings may be built or owned by the commercial campground operators, as long as they meet size and safety standards, and the improved sites are available equally to any camper wishing to stay in the campground.”


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