Campers Use Michigan's Diverse Services
Wow! Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder might be more popular than he realizes. Only a few days after he declared August Michigan Camping and RV Month, the campground at Keith J. Charters Traverse City State Park was jammed.
"No, it wasn't the governor's dedication," James Sexton of Troy said with a laugh as he and his two children walked from the beach on Grand Traverse Bay to their travel trailer in the park campground across the street, the Detroit Free Press reported.
"We planned this trip last year. We came here two years ago and really had a great time, so we've been looking forward to a week here with friends," he said. "My wife (Janet) was laid off for nine months, and money is tight. We already had the trailer, so this is a pretty cheap way to have a vacation.
"We're paying about $27 a night for a site with electricity, and they have nice shower buildings. The beach is great, and there are a lot of attractions around Traverse City for the kids and us."
Michigan has more than 100,000 campsites in private campgrounds, 15,000 at government-owned campgrounds and 15,000 more backcountry sites on about 8 million acres of state and federal land in both peninsulas.
While the Sextons enjoyed the amenities of a modern campground with neighbors on all sides, two 20-somethings from Grand Rapids, Edward Bryers and Genevieve Carter, were headed for a different camping experience in a state forest near Baldwin.
"There might be a couple of people there over the weekend, but by Monday we'll probably have it to ourselves," Carter said. "We've got our tent and cookstove and sleeping bags, and we brought our mountain bikes, because there are some really fun trails in that area."
Bryers said: "We'll take one day to go the beach at Ludington, and one night we'll probably drive to Cadillac to have dinner. But the nicest thing is just sitting by the campfire at night without a lot of people around. I think making a trip like that three or four times from spring to fall is better than blowing all your vacation time in two weeks."
It's also one of the most inexpensive ways to vacation. By setting up their camp on a dispersed site a mile from the nearest designated campgrounds, Bryers and Carter could set up camp for free.
"We have friends from Virginia and Massachusetts who come here every summer because of the backcountry camping," Bryers said. "They say that it's really hard to find places to do that where they live. They can't get over the access to public land that we have in this state."