As Labor Day weekend marked the unofficial end of summer, campers made their way to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to get their last-minute dose of the outdoors.
“We love being outdoors, and the U.P. has so much to offer as far as scenery and waterfalls and hiking, which we really like to do,” camper Marcy Trepke told WLUC-TV, Negaunee, Mich.
According to the DNR, this summer there’s been 1 million campers in Michigan, and they’re crediting that to the Recreation Pass that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) implemented in 2010. With the program, when drivers register their vehicle, they have the option of paying $10 for a pass that allows them to camp in Michigan State Parks for the next year.
In the past, campers had to pay $24 a year.
At Baraga State Park this past Labor Day weekend, trafic was up 12 percent from last year, bringing in over 280 campers.
“The recreation passport is such a great value for people. Not only did the cost for people go down, but it’s such an economical way for people to get outdoors and enjoy their Michigan State Parks,” said Baraga State Park Accounting Assistant Kelly Somero.
And campers agree.
“It just allows you so many more opportunities. You don’t have to worry about paying a fee into each park you go to. If you’re out traveling and you see a state park, you can just pull in without worrying about it or deciding, we can’t afford to do it maybe. But if you have your sticker, it just opens the door to a whole new world,” Trepke added.
When a driver signs up for the Recreation Pass, they’re also enrolled in “Passport Perks” which gives campers discounts to 1,100 Michigan businesses.