Campgrounds on private and state lands alike in Michigan are implementing unusual programs and camping opportunities — think goat yoga and hammocks — to attract people into nature, according to the Spartan Newsroom.
“We are trying to draw that crowd in to stay with us and spend some time in the parks, and we’re trying to diversify what that crowd looks like,” said Christa Sturtevant-Good, a reservation system specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
With the help of COVID-19 lockdowns, the agency did just that. Michigan state parks’ visitation rates increased 30% in the past year.
Hipcamp, a San Francisco-based online marketplace that connects private landowners to campers, saw booking numbers rise 252% from 2019 to 2021.
Hipcamp sites span America, Canada and Australia, making up a network of hundreds of thousands of camping spots, and are particularly sought in the Great Lakes region.
“It’s a true reflection of the abundance of natural beauty in the region,” Carolina Mejia Erazo, a public relations agent for the company, said.
“We aim to continue to get more people outside to appreciate the value of the region’s nature and the importance of protecting its natural resources,” she added.
At participating sites, Hipcamps offer extras.
In Michigan, campers can experience goat yoga. It’s a traditional, outdoor yoga class with goats roaming around, allowing for a deeper, perhaps stranger connection with nature.
There are also such opportunities as riding horses and indulging in farm-to-table, home-cooked meals.
A camping site in DeWitt, near Lansing, called Grace’s Blueberry Orchard, has been part of Hipcamp for nearly two years, a result of something owner Israel Ramos called a “COVID project.”