Michigan Campers Get Gas-Saving Perk
Gas price sticker shock has prompted the state of Michigan to offer a new deal for campers: Store your RV, camper trailer or boat and trailer at certain state parks and recreation areas – free – for up to 15 days.
The Department of Natural Resources announced the camper storage plan Thursday (May 8) in an attempt to head off a decline in state campground stays due to the unwelcome arrival of $4-a-gallon gasoline, according to the Detroit News.
The idea is to allow campers to store their gas-guzzling homes-on-wheels near their favorite vacation spots in between overnight stays so they can save money on fuel – about 30%, DNR officials estimate.
"That sounds fantastic," said Tony Samardich, an avid camper from Romeo, Mich., who drives his 40-foot diesel motorhome to campsites around the state about two weekends a month during the summer.
Samardich took his RV to Midland, Mich., last weekend, a 254-mile round trip, and paid $130 for a quarter-tank of diesel fuel.
"It's ridiculous," he said.
"Anything that helps me save on gas is a good idea. I can't believe the state is doing this."
Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, said the plan is a pre-emptive strike.
"We were saying, 'What can we do to get up front of this gas price increase to the benefit of our users who have campers and are concerned about the predictability of gas?'" Olson said.
"We put the idea out there and got good feedback from campers.
"They can leave their camping trailer, motorhome, or boat and trailer up north rather than driving it back and forth from home. We're hoping this will allow people to add a weekend away when otherwise they may cancel. This is a way to connect their camping weekends."
He said campground reservations are down about 3.5% over the same time last year. DNR officials expect this program to bring the state up to last year's total of about a million camp nights.
Campers who want to take the state up on its offer need to show proof of a recent camping stay at a Michigan state park or recreation area campground. Storage is first come, first served; there are no reservations.
Bill Sheffer, director of the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds, said campers should also check with private campgrounds that may offer storage at low rates.