Memorial Day weekend brings start of camping season

Upper Michigan is likely to see an influx of tourists, some of which will be camping over the holiday weekend.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 6:58 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Memorial Day weekend begins Friday, and tourists are expected to visit campgrounds across Upper Michigan.

Expect to see an influx of people visiting the U.P., especially after record tourism numbers last summer. The DNR says the holiday weekend signifies the start of summer. A time for many to get their first chance of the year to experience Upper Michigan’s natural beauty.

“Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff of a big summer of camping that extends right into the fall,” DNR Deputy Public Information Officer John Pepin said. “Everybody is looking forward to it. Visitors and park staff have been waiting to enjoy nice, warm weather.”

Meijer Store Manager John Spaulding said the retailer has everything you may need for camping and outdoor adventures. From sleeping bags, three-season tents and hammocks to bug spray, coolers and grill food.

“We carry so much for campers, whether they are just starting out or whether they are veterans at it,” Spaulding said. “When people say, ‘I’m roughing it,’ when they go camping, I say, ‘You really don’t have to.’”

When it comes to camping safety, Pepin said the DNR wants those going camping or enjoying the outdoors to follow some basic safety tips. The most important of which is to minimize wildfire risk in the woods.

“It’s right up around 90% of all wildland fires that are caused by humans in one way or the other,” Pepin said. “With more people in the woods, more people camping and more people out doing things there is an increased risk of fire.”

The DNR is still implementing a burn permit restriction for the entire Upper Peninsula. Pepin said this does not apply to cooking, recreational campfires or if you are burning household paper materials in a covered metal or masonry container with an opening no larger than three-fourths of an inch. Visit the DNR’s permission to burn webpage for more details on where, what and when you are legally allowed to burn outdoors.

Pepin said the DNR also urges you to keep a safe distance between wild animals you may encounter while enjoying nature.

“Folks that are coming in contact with wildlife need to remember that those are wild animals,” Pepin said. “They’re not pets or anything you want to get close enough to.”

Pepin said he expects places like Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Palms Book State Park to be some of the busiest this weekend. While Pepin said Memorial Day weekend is likely to be busy, it is not usually the busiest holiday weekend in the summer.

“It is not necessarily the busiest weekend of the year,” Pepin said. “The Fourth of July is still coming up, and usually that is when more folks are on vacation, visiting state parks, camping and doing things outdoors in the U.P.”

Camping season ends in October for most campgrounds in Upper Michigan.

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