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State Park campgrounds reopening Monday

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan State Park campgrounds are reopening Monday.

That means campsites in addition to most bathrooms, visitor centers, showers, playgrounds, fishing piers, viewing platforms, sports areas and picnic tables will be accessible.  The only exception is drinking fountains, which will remain closed until further notice.

But if you plan on camping this summer, you should probably start planning, said Joshua Drage, the lead ranger at Leelanau State Park.

“We do expect to be busy, the phone’s been ringing off the hook with people looking to reserve campsites,” he said.  “So I have a feeling that we will be full as usual here at the park.”

But Drage says they’re ready for the business.  He’s spent these past few weeks training his team on new COVID-19 guidelines and making the park as safe as possible for visitors.

“We clean every time we come into the building, make sure to sanitize when we come in and go out, make sure we’re wearing gloves when we’re doing things like handling money, envelopes, and mail,” he said.  “Just taking all the precautions to make sure we don’t expose ourselves to COVID.”

Leelanau State Park has now instituted a drive-up check-in as well so that visitors don’t have to go inside the contact station.  And for campers that show up without a reservation, they can now call and book a site day-of without having to pay the usual reservation fee. 

All visitors will need a Recreation Passport to get into state parks for now on.  They were suspended for the past three months to limit face-to-face interaction, but campers must now buy them at state parks for $17 or spend $9 on a day pass.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has been open for camping for a few weeks, but more campsites will be opened on June 22.  Their visitor centers and the Au Sable Lighthouse will remain closed until further notice.  Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore campgrounds and visitor centers will open on June 23.