Tuesday, May 17, 2011

State Forest Campground closings put on hold

   Closing of the 23 state forest campgrounds in the northern lower and U.P. has been tabled until the June Natural Resources Commission meeting. The proposal could have been effective last week with DNR Director Rodney Stokes signing the order.
   Reasons given for the postponement include an interest by some local governments to take campgrounds in their area over, leasing them from the DNR.
   Stokes also wants time to see if an arrangement could be worked out the the department's parks and recreation division to joint manage some of the parks slated to be closed.
   Initially, the reason for the proposed closings had to do with a 63 percent reduction in funds from the General Fund support for the State Forest Recreation Program.
   Maybe, given a bit more time, the DNR will realize enough funds through the recently introduced passport program. The program went into effect last October replacing the window sticker needed for park entry.
   By checking yes on the vehicle registration form, Michigan residents pay $10 for vehicles, and $5 for motorcycles for the Recreation Passport.
   The change in permitting came about largely to reach more motorists who otherwise might not consider visiting a state park or state forest campground.

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