ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - With the U.P. beginning to open this Friday, the Delta County Board of Commissioners felt it is safe to partially reopen Delta County’s parks.
Hiking trail. (WLUC photo)
“I’m happy we’re making progress to opening Delta County while still paying the respects to the governor’s executive order,” said Patrick Johnson, board chair of Delta County Board of Commissioners.
At a regularly scheduled Delta County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday night, commissioners passed a motion with a 3-2 vote that allows for a partial opening up the Delta County campgrounds under the governor’s executive order beginning Thursday.
The partial opening does not permit recreational camping at this time. Camping will be permitted only for long-term seasonal campers who reside in Regions 6 & 8 of the Governor’s MI Safe Start Plan. Those regions include all of the Upper Peninsula as well as a portion of the Northern Lower Peninsula. Transient camping is not authorized at this time.
There are different rates for long-term campers and different contracts that are signed. Per the governor's order, those seasonal campers declare the campsite as a second home and are permitted to come back, under what the commissioners passed Tuesday night. Because only individuals who reside in Regions 6 & 8 are permitted to come back as seasonal campers, outside residents, like people from Illinois or Wisconsin, who are seasonals are not permitted at this time.
Delta County Administrator Emily DeSalvo says all seasonal long-term campers who reside in Regions 6 & 8 will need to adhere to strict guidelines while camping and will sign an Assumption of Risk form upon check-in. For further details of those guidelines and restrictions, contact the Delta County Administration Office or the Delta County Conservation District.
If you have reservations for camping at any of the Delta County Campgrounds, please contact the Delta County Conservation District at, (906) 553-7700, to reschedule or for a refund.
The parks will have some new, temporary restrictions.
“We’ve got social distancing; we’ve got single family campgrounds so I feel that we’re actually safer than what a bar or restaurant could ever offer,” said Johnson.
The parks themselves will not be selling wood or ice. Anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. One restroom, including one flushable toilet and one sink, will be open at a time, and campers are not allowed to leave their campsite unless they are going for a walk or bike ride.
“They have to register at the office in person. The reason for that is that we are going to make them sign something that says they will follow all these rules otherwise they have to leave,” said Rory Mattson.
Some people were upset in the meeting, saying the board doesn’t have the authority to make such decisions.
“Whoever said that our opinion is not law, you are absolutely right. However, we are trying to fit the mold of these executive orders and frequently asked questions as best as possible,” said Johnson.