Most campsites, cabins in UP state park reopened

Associated Press

Ontonagon — Most backcountry cabins and campsites in Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park have reopened after severe flooding from a summer storm.

The closures in the far northwestern Upper Peninsula near Lake Superior were lifted Tuesday, state Natural Resources officials said Wednesday.

The July 11 storm dumped nearly a foot of rain in some areas. The cabins were temporarily closed July 14.

The storms and winds — estimated at 90 mph — caused severe damage to property and roads, including downed trees, power outages and flooding in many locations.

On July 15, Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of disaster for Gogebic County, near the Wisconsin state line. The Michigan National Guard was called in to help response and recovery efforts.

The Speaker’s Cabin at Porcupine Mountains remains closed until Aug. 20. It was moved a dozen feet after flooding undercut the banks of a nearby creek.

“We had three major maintenance crews, along with our interior crew, working on moving Speaker’s Cabin,” Porcupine Mountains-Lake Gogebic state parks unit manager Jeff Gaertner said.

A Presque Isle Campground campsite was closed permanently due to collapsed sides of a stream bank.

More thunderstorms followed on July 21, toppling trees and branches onto utility lines. Six state parks in the western Upper Peninsula lost power.

The Emily Lake State Forest Campground in Houghton County remains closed indefinitely. Four of the campground’s 13 campsites were occupied during the storm.

Campers escaped injury after falling trees cut through the shells of two travel campers at the park. Loggers are working to remove downed trees.

“After the loggers have gone through with their heavy equipment, almost all of the sites have at least some damage,” said Rich Pirhonen, Twin Lakes State Park ranger.