Carbon County is gearing up for summer with its new camp store at Mauch Chunk Lake Park.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted to enter into a concession lease agreement with Robert E. Brown of Jim Thorpe. Brown, who currently operates the concession stand at the lake, will now also operate the new camp store that the county built last year. The lease agreement shall be from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2014 and will automatically renew after that.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, said the county decided that running the store was something that the commissioners were not prepared to do, in that it would mean creating more county positions, stocking the store and operating it. They felt that it would be better to contract the job to someone who knew the operations already.

O'Gurek added that Brown has been leasing and operating the concession stand for several years and was the perfect fit for the store. Brown will now pay $200 a month rent for the camp store while the park is open.

"Brown does an excellent job," O'Gurek said. "He's been an ambassador to this park over the years. He has gone out of his way to help visitors, whether they are hurt or injured, need something or even if they just want a Popsicle. He has been there."

Commissioners Charles Getz and Wayne Nothstein also commended Brown on his service at the park.

Brown will be responsible for stocking the camp store; as well as oversee its operations.

The new camp store, which is a log cabin now located in the campgrounds of the park, was built last year, after the commissioners bid the project in 2009. The project was financed by two Pennsylvania Conservation Corps grants, totaling $30,000, and $10,000 by the county.

It replaces the current camp store, which was located outside the campgrounds at boat launch A.

Mauch Chunk Lake Park has been a tourist attraction for decades, offering swimming, camping, and other recreational activities to many who visit Carbon County.