Michigan celebrates one millionth camp night reservationPublished 11:16am Friday, October 26, 2012
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources marked an attendance milestone for state parks on Friday, Oct. 19, by celebrating its one millionth camp night of the 2012 camping season.
The one millionth camp night reservation for Algonac State Park’s River Front Campground in St. Clair County was made by George W. and Elizabeth Angerer of Roseville, Mich. The Angerers received a Pure Michigan prize package including a free weekend of camping, a $100 gift certificate from Gander Mountain and Pure Michigan apparel upon arriving at their campsite. The gifts were presented by acting Bay City district supervisor George Lauringer and Algonac State Park unit supervisor Dennis Wilson.
”I’m really excited to be the millionth reservation. This is how we spend our vacations,” said George Angerer. “We’re working on visiting every state park in Michigan.”
“Having our state parks reach one million camp nights – a milestone we have not hit since 2005 – reflects a healthy love of the outdoors and a healthy state parks system,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “The milestone also reflects healthy communities, because we know the success of state parks gives a positive boost to local economies.”
Michigan state parks have reported a strong surge in campground visitors this year with a 7 percent increase in advance reservations over the 2011 season.
“The 2012 season started with a nearly sold-out Memorial Day Weekend, and attendance remained steadily high as park visitors sought relief from the summer’s exceptionally long stretches of hot, dry weather,” said DNR Parks and Recreation Division Chief Ron Olson. “The trend was an indication to us that we possibly were on track to see reservations topping 1 million camp nights.”
Harold Herta, chief of Resource Management for the Parks and Recreation Division, credited the rise in camping to both positive economic factors and the DNR’s fresh approach on outreach to state parks visitors.
“Many people looking to cut costs in their already-strained budgets have turned to the state parks as a way to stretch their vacation dollars,” Herta said. “Most people go camping because a weeklong trip can cost under $300 — compared with $3,000 and up, for example, for a week at Disney.”
Herta also said the lower cost of gasoline earlier this summer prompted visitors to take their recreational vehicles on the road more often.