Butch's Brew: Mohave County offers perks for disabled veterans

It's a little known fact the Mohave County Board of Supervisors took extraordinary and generous steps a few years back to say thanks to those Mohave County residents who are designated as disabled by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, formerly known as Veterans Administration.

That thank you came during 2009 when then-Chairman Tom Sockwell and Supervisors Gary Watson and Buster Johnson unanimously approved free day use admission for Mohave County disabled veterans to Mohave County parks and includes free launching of personal watercraft and boats at Davis Camp Park. That free pass is for all disabled veterans regardless of their disability percentage designated by the VA and also includes free entrance for three others who are in the same vehicle. If more than four people are in the vehicle, an additional $2 per person is charged.

In order to receive free admission to a Mohave County park, disabled veterans must either provide their Arizona Disabled Veterans Pass or an identification card issued by the VA indicating the individual has a service-connected disability. However, residents and visitors to Mohave County don't have to be disabled to enjoy the county's parks.

Mohave County Davis Camp Park, situated on more than 60 acres adjacent to the Colorado River just north of Bullhead City with almost two miles of beach front access, offers a wide variety of recreational activities. They include excellent fishing areas where anglers can hook trout, catfish, carp and record-sized stripers; day use of the swim beaches and picnic ramadas; concrete and dirt boat and watercraft launching areas; RVs spaces with 30 and 50 amp services, with sewage and water hookups; tent camping areas; and fully furnished vacation homes (two are pet friendly) that are for rent.

Visitors to the park do not have to bring their "water toys" and other supplies to enjoy the Colorado River and Davis Camp Park. There is a vendor located on the park property who rents personal watercraft, and there's a fully furnished snack bar and store for the visitors to purchase items without having to exit the park.

A day use pass for Davis Camp Park (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) can be purchased for a vehicle with four people in it at a cost of $7. If more than four people are in the vehicle, an additional $2 per person is charged. A one-day watercraft launching pass can be purchased for $12, which also allows up to four people to also enter the park.

"We have an ongoing partnership with the United States Bureau of Reclamation and the United States Army Corps of Engineers to keep our beaches from eroding," said Mohave County Parks Administrator Shawn Blackburn. "The park and beach areas have never looked any better."

The Davis Camp Beach honcho who oversees the day-to-day operation of the park is Joseph Donovan. He took the reins as Davis Camp Park superintendent in December 2013. Prior to that, Donovan worked at Hualapai Mountain Park, starting out as a ranger about 10 years ago and ultimately headed up the mountain park prior to transferring to Davis Camp Park.

Hualapai Mountain Park is situated on almost 2,300 acres of picturesque mountain areas ranging in elevation from 4,900 to 8,400 feet southeast of the Kingman. It offers visitors a wide variety of recreational activities including picnicking, 70 different camp sites, hiking, access to quad trails, 35 RV camping sites (11 have barbecue grills), and rustic cabins for rent that will sleep from two to 10 people.

"While I worked at Hualapai Mountain Park, we constructed a new RV park area across the main road from the park office," said Donovan. "It has 24 spots with water, sewer and electrical hookups."

A day use pass for Hualapai Mountain Park (dawn to dusk) can be purchased for a vehicle with four people in it at a cost of $7. If more than four people are in the vehicle, an additional $2 per person is charged.

There are three recreational areas located within Hualapai Mountain Park.

- Recreational Area 1 - called Ponderosa - was constructed in the 1930s and can handle more than 500 people. It has a large stone lodge that features all of the basic amenities a kitchen/dining room combination has, and also has two fireplaces.

- Recreational Area 2 - called Pine Knoll - was built in 1983 and can accommodate groups up to 150 people. It has a stone and wood lodge with the same amenities as Recreational Area 1, but also has bathrooms.

- Recreational Area 3 was built in 1991 and can accommodate groups up to 150 people. The log building has the same indoor facilities as Recreational Area 2's building, but also has propane heat. All three recreational areas have barbecue areas, picnic tables, horseshoe pits, lighted ramadas and playgrounds for the children.

In addition to the two major parks - Davis Camp Park and Hualapai Mountain Park - the county also has four community parks. All day use is free for the four community parks - Veterans Park in Golden Valley, Neal Butler Park in Kingman, Chloride Park in the town of Chloride and Mt. Tipton Park in Dolan Springs, but people can reserve a ramada in one of the community parks or an entire park for a nominal fee.

For further information about the county's parks, the available facilities at each park and/or information about various passes and costs, please visit http://www.mcparks.com or call: Davis Camp Park at 928-754-7250; Hualapai Mountain Park at 928-681-5700; or the county's main park office at 928-757-0915 or toll free at 877-757-0915.