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Gr8LakesCamper: Michigan DNR delays closing state forest campgrounds

May 16, 2011 by Gr8LakesCamper · 37 Comments  
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Good news from the state of Michigan regarding its proposal to close 23 state forest campgrounds: it’s not gonna happen … well, not yet, anyways.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Rodney Stokes recently tabled a director’s order to close 23 state forest campgrounds until the June 9 Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting. The order was eligible for Stokes’ signature at Thursday’s NRC meeting in Flint.

My story publicizing the original proposal to close the campgrounds can be found by clicking here.

Stokes said he was tabling the order to give DNR staff more time to work on two plans to keep more of the campgrounds open. First, he wants to give DNR staff more time to discuss leasing agreements with local units of government that have expressed an interest in some of the campgrounds targeted for closure.

Stokes also wants to give the DNR’s Forest Management Division staff time to work with the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division staff on a joint management agreement for some of the campgrounds. He also announced that the Lime Island State Forest Campground in the St. Marys River near Sault Ste. Marie, on the list for closure, would be transferred to the DNR Parks and Recreation Division to manage.

“It is always unfortunate when we have to close campgrounds due to budget cuts and low revenues,” Stokes said. “However, by tabling this order until the June NRC meeting, we buy some time to keep discussing options with local units of government and within the Department to keep some of these campgrounds operating this year.”

In May, the DNR announced it would be closing 23 of the 133 state forest campgrounds in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula. State forest campgrounds are rustic camping sites located within state forest land – they are not state parks. Reasons cited for the closures are a 63 percent reduction in General Fund support for the State Forest Recreation Program over the last three years and declining use and revenues.

The June 9 NRC meeting is scheduled for the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health in Lansing near the Michigan State University campus.

From the companion blog: Among other items, River Ridge Campground in Breckenridge (Mich.) will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary the weekend of May 20-21; 10 great reasons why camping during the springtime most anywhere in the Great Lakes region is a wonderful experience; a handy-dandy list of Pittsburgh area festivals and events; and Ohio going all out with a bunch of deals and discounts to lure summer travelers.

Gr8LakesCamper celebrates the world of RV Camping in the Midwest. Gather around the campfire and share tips, ideas and stories on RVing, camping and travel destinations. Follow Gr8LakesCamper on Twitter, Facebook and the personal blog.

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Comments

37 Responses to “Gr8LakesCamper: Michigan DNR delays closing state forest campgrounds”

  1. Geoffrey Pruett on May 17th, 2011 5:15 pm

    Perhaps the thought is occuring that closing the low/low cost recreation areas is very harmful to the local business people. Major urban centers are hurting but smaller areas are between a rock and a hard place when the tourist industry goes away. Have been to many areas off the normal traffic pattern that depend on the dollars from vacationers to survive as they do not have a “day” job. Without the cycle tours and campers there is little to call an economy. The slow economy will take years to recover, here is hoping that one by product is not a new set of ghost towns.

  2. Art Steebs on May 17th, 2011 5:31 pm

    Parks give a great deal back for a small expenditure. In the current climate where all government expenditures come under question it’s easier for some to go after things like parks that have a far smaller number of people supporting them. The problem is that isn’t where the money is so the cut will be made, people hurt, but in terms of the budget it really doesn’t do anything.

  3. hoppe on May 17th, 2011 5:35 pm

    Maybe they realized that people who come from out of state to camp there do spend money, if for nothing more than gasoline. I don’t suppose that the State gets any revenue from gas tax?

    At this point ALL the state government is interested in, is cash flow,,, And of course power/control.

  4. Pat on May 17th, 2011 8:33 pm

    If the wealthy paid their fair share of the taxes (as in proportion to their income) this wouldn’t happen. The rich elite don’t care about state parks or cheap recreation; MI elites don’t vacation in MI. One less thing for the working poor and the middle class to do and enjoy! But who cares! One place we won’t be visiting soon!

  5. Jon on May 18th, 2011 10:29 am

    Pat where did you come up with the fact that the rich don’t pay their fair share of tax’s? I live in Michigan and resent your statement. Michigan’s economy is in really bad shape. They just lowered the annual fee from $20.00 to $10.00 to get more people to buy the stickers when they renew their plates. I see a lot of really expensive motor homes in the parks when I go camping. The best thing about camping is you don’t have to be either rich or poor to enjoy camping. Spent many years tent camping.Then moved up to a tent camper and now finally a motor home. No way is camping limited to the poor.

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