The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is allowing camping in state parks on June 22. The state parks have been closed to campers for months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is beginning to dial back lockdown restrictions. With COVID-19 death tolls on the decline, people will be allowed to gather in groups on June 22, with camping being permissible.
Camping and outdoor recreational activities are a major source of income for the state of Michigan. In the 2018 fiscal year, the state brought in about $30.3 million in revenues.
The state requires campers to purchase recreation passports. The passports cost $12, if purchased when renewing a vehicle registration. The fee is $17 at the park, which includes a $5 convenience fee.
While camping will be allowed to resume on June 22, there are a number of camp sites that will not reopen on this date. Port Austin State Harbor will remain closed for the entire 2020 season.
The announcement takes place weeks prior to the reopening to allow the Department of Natural Resources staff time to train its employees. On the DNR website, the department reports laying off 102 staffers. Due to a state hiring freeze, no new employees have been hired or trained since May 15.
Many travel locations may remain closed for some time. However, camping may be back in full swing sooner rather than later, according to the 2020 North American Camping Report. “Camping is well positioned to rebound earlier compared to other types of travel, once travelers themselves deem it safe to travel again,” the report states.
Camping is believed to be a “safe, accessible way to return to the outdoors while still maintaining acceptable social distancing standards.”
[H/T The Detroit News]