The Department of Natural Resources has proposed closing 23 northern Michigan State Forest Campgrounds.
The campgrounds could close as soon as next month.
According to DNR spokesperson Mary Detloff, the sites are rustic, unstaffed, and offer few amenities.
"These are underperforming campgrounds," Detloff said. "They're not bringing in a lot of revenue. They're probably costing us more to operate and maintain than what they're bringing in."
Detloff said fiscal considerations are behind the proposal to close the campgrounds.
"General fund money has traditionally been the main source of financial support for our forest recreation program. That's been cut 63 percent over the last three years," she said.
Detloff stressed that the proposal does not affect any state parks, and that the state has no plans to close any state park campgrounds.
"The DNR understands and realizes that state parks are huge tourist draws," she said. "They are huge to the economies at the communities that they are located near. A lot of other states closed their state parks in times of tough budgets. We have done everything we can to keep ours open."
Detloff said the proposal does not mean an end for camping in Michigan's state forests.
"Dispersed camping is still available on any state forest land in the State of Michigan," she said. "As long as you're more than a mile away from a campground, you can simply pitch a tent in the woods if that's what you're into. That's allowed, and that's free."
The proposal must be approved by the Natural Resources Commission before the closures could take effect.
That could happen as soon as May 12.
State Forest Campgrounds slated for closure:
- Baraga County - Beaufort and Big Lake state forest campgrounds
- Cheboygan County - Black Lake Trail Camp
- Chippewa County - Lime Island State Forest Campground and Cabins and Munuscong River State Forest Campground
- Crawford County - Manistee River Bridge State Forest Campground
- Iron County - Deer Lake State Forest Campground
- Lake County - Bray Creek State Forest Campground
- Luce County - Blind Sucker #1, High Bridge, Holland Lake, Natalie and Reed & Green Bridge state forest campgrounds
- Macinac County - Black River State Forest Campground
- Montmorency County - Little Wolf Lake State Forest Campground
- Oscoda County - McCollum Lake State Forest Campground
- Otsego County - Pigeon Bridge and Round Lake state forest campgrounds
- Schoolcraft County - Canoe Lake, Cusino Lake, Mead Creek and South Gemini Lake state forest campgrounds
- Wexford County - Long Lake State Forest Campground