DNR limits backcountry campsites at largest state park

The Detroit News

In a bid to curb overcrowding, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources plans to restrict designated backcountry campsites at the largest state park.

More than 300,000 annual visitors head to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the Upper Peninsula, with its nearly 60,000 acres featuring hemlock-hardwood stands and waterfalls, department officials said.

When backcountry campsites previously were available on a first-come, first-served basis, park rangers didn’t not need to limit camping. However, after exceeding capacity in recent years, “we are now requiring campers to stay at designated campsites and we are limiting the number of registered campsites to 63 per night to protect the backcountry experience for all,” said Michael Knack, park supervisor, on Tuesday.

“Campers can now make a reservation for campsites and all backcountry campers will be required to camp on the specific backcountry campsite or campsites they have registered for.”

Backcountry campsites are numbered and have a metal fire ring.

“Reservations are strongly encouraged given popularity of the park’s backcountry and the number of available campsites,” said Bob Wild, a park interpreter at the state park.

The cost to camp one night is $15 for 1-6 people. The maximum number of campers per site is six.

Backcountry camping reservations are available six months in advance for May 15-Oct. 15 at www.midnrreservations.com or by calling 1-800-44PARKS.

To see the park’s backcountry camping map and for information, go to www.michigan.gov/porkiesvc.