Slow Start Stifles Northern Michigan Trade
A slow start to summer and a sluggish economy have had a major impact on tourism in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this year, and campground facilities are no exception. Campground officials have seen a noticeable decrease in business this year, which they are chalking up to the effects of gas prices and cool weather early in the season.
Camping across the U.P. is down 12% to 16% since last year, although, since August, business has picked up. Despite the decline, officials say they are not planning on raising their prices to compensate for losses, according to WLUC-TV, Negaunee, Mich.
"I'm sure there's other avenues that we're pursuing rather than raising prices," said Doug Barry, Park Supervisor for Van Riper State Park near Champion, Mich.
Woody Taylor, who owns the Michigamme Shores Campground right down the road, agreed. "We kept our rates the same as last year, so we're trying to help, too," he said.
But fewer people on the roads this year has had an effect on the two campgrounds, though recent nice weather has brought more campers out.
"We've been running probably a little more than half full during the week and the weekends come toward three-quarters to full," said Taylor.
Anyone from the area who decides to do a little camping of their own shouldn't be surprised to find themselves surrounded by familiar faces; according to both officials, most of their business this year is coming from local towns.
"From downstate, I think we've seen less of those folks," said Barry. "But we're getting a lot more local people coming out."
Increased local business means fewer campers during the week, as visitors leave after the weekend in order to go back to work. Now that the weather has improved, however, officials are optimistic that they will end the season on a high note, despite getting off to a slow start.