Michigan DNR Explains Why It Takes 5 Weeks to Open Campgrounds
It's not as easy as flipping a switch.
AJ is part of a Michigan Hiking & Backpacking Facebook group, and BELIEVE YOU ME - people are super angry about campgrounds not being open right now. The pandemic has forced the state of Michigan to close a lot of state parks because of over-crowding, as well as restroom facilities.
Under the current executive order, Michigan campgrounds are to remain closed until June 21st. This has a lot of outdoor enthusiasts wondering why, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is answering your questions.
WHY DOES IT TAKE 5 WEEKS TO OPEN THE CAMPGROUNDS?
One word sums most of it up - staffing.
Under the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order from Governor Whitmer, parks and recreation staff are not considered "essential." These are the people who mow the grass, clear winter debris, open up restrooms, etc. And, until the order is lifted on May 28th (potentially), those employees can NOT start to prepare the parks.
102 park rangers, as well as about 2,900 other state employees, have been temporarily laid off during the pandemic. And, because of the statewide hiring freeze, seasonal workers cannot be hired and trained at this time.
Another problem is campground maintenance. Because they are not open, workers are not able to do their work at the moment. Any maintenance projects will have to wait until the campgrounds are open, at which time they'll likely be full.
For the DNR's full explanation, click HERE. In the meantime, dust off your camping gear while you stay home and stay safe.