VERNON - Plans to create an eco-friendly campground are moving forward for Vernon.

VERNON - Plans to create an eco-friendly campground are moving forward for Vernon.

Paul Williams of Pure Life Outdoors says the site, to be located adjacent to Holmes Creek at 2716 Traverse Drive in Vernon, should be complete by next year's camping season.

"We still have some regulatory hurdles to overcome, but we hope to get the primitive camping set up first, followed by the cabins and yurts," said Williams.

Yurts, which he describes as "permanent tents," are portable, fabric covered structures that serve as minimalist housing in some parts of the world. Williams says he got the idea to include the structures after a trip to Costa Rica with his wife.

"They were widely used and very eco-friendly," he said. "We were inspired by them."

Williams received support from the Vernon City Council, which assured the camp access to water and sewer service, and he's working with the Washington County Planning Commission to become complaint through the county developing environmental impact assessments and elevation surveys.

Williams states his goal is to offer a pristine site where nature can be enjoyed with little impact from the outside world.

"There are beautiful natural resources in Washington County, and we'd like to give people a place to get away from the busy world," he said. "We will limit vehicle access and utilize solar energy as much as possible. If I had my way, we'd ban cell phones and internet altogether so folks could really enjoy nature."

In addition to the primitive and structured camping, the site will also feature a common solar-heated bathhouse with separate facilities for men and women, bathroom facilities with composting toilets, a common area pavilion, water activities, and an office which will offer fishing licenses, rental items, camping equipment, and tourist information for Washington County.

"We expect to open the primitive site by the fall," said Williams. "We aim to do our part to offer something for those looking to Washington County as a getaway destination, but we also encourage locals to check us out and take a moment to stargaze."