Locals Save Mich. Camping Season
For all the worries about how the sluggish economy and gas prices would affect tourism and recreation in Michigan this summer, campground owners in eastern Michigan said the 2007 season has been one of growth – and they cited those negative economic factors as the reason, according to the Port Huron Times Herald.
While they have lost some business from people who don't want to take long trips to get to a campground, an increase in local campers has made up for it.
"We still go camping, but we don't go as far as we used to because of the gas prices," said Dan Thornsberry of St. Clair Township, who spent Labor Day weekend at Ruby Campground in Kenockee Township.
Thornsberry said he still likes to take his 38-foot motorhome on distant trips, but he'll do it once a summer rather than several times. Ruby Campground owner Bob Shagena said campers like Thornsberry who prefer to stay locally still represent a minority of his customers, but they're becoming more common.
Gas prices have helped campgrounds that rent sites seasonally, such as Fort Trodd Campground in Clyde Township.
"This has been really our best season since we went seasonal (in) 2002," owner Kathy Hess said.
Rather than hauling a trailer back and forth across long distances, her customers plant a rig in one spot and then visit it throughout the summer.
"The gas crunch has worked in our favor," Hess said.
Labor Day is the last busy weekend of the year for Michigan campgrounds, though many stay open through October.