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Old 06-10-2011, 02:56 PM   #1
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Campground closed in 2009 illegally reopened

Ok - so which one of you folks up in Michigan did this??

Campground closed in 2009 illegally reopened
June 5, 2011
By JOHN PEPIN - Journal Staff Writer (jpepin@miningjournal. net) , The Mining Journal


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GWINN - Michigan Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officials are hoping the public can help them determine who pushed boulders out of the way, removed a dirt berm and forced locked rest rooms open at a closed state forest campground in northeastern ****inson County.

The West Branch State Forest Campground, situated along the West Branch of the Escanaba River, was among a dozen of the rustic campgrounds closed by the DNR in 2009, including six in the Upper Peninsula, because of budget shortfalls.

As it did at those other campgrounds, the DNR locked the restrooms at the West Branch campground, dug a ditch across the entrance road, using the dirt for a blocking berm, and put boulders across the park entrance.

But recently, perhaps over the Memorial Day weekend, someone illegally re-opened the campground. Grass at two of the campsites had been mowed, as well as along a short path toward the river. The campsites are nearest restrooms, which had their door handles and locks broken away.

Campsites numbers 15 and 16 were mowed and are situated across a dirt roadway from each other. Tracks from a truck and a passenger car were still visible in the sand at one of the sites Saturday.

DNR officials learned about the incident late last week and have not yet replaced the boulders and the berm, nor locked up the restrooms. The campground had no campers Saturday morning and no signs had been posted indicating the campground was closed.

DNR officials said they aren't sure whether someone just really wanted to camp at the campground or if whoever re-opened the campground was attempting to make a statement about the DNR's plan announced in April to close 23 more of the rustic state forest campgrounds.

Either way, DNR law enforcement officers want to talk to the perpetrator.

The West Branch State Forest Campground is not one of 15 slated for closure in the U.P. but expected to remain open this summer under a decision by the DNR expected Thursday.

To report information on the incident, call the DNR's Marquette office at 228-6561, or the DNR's Gwinn Field Office at 346-9201.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is jpepin@miningjournal.net.
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Old 06-11-2011, 07:51 AM   #2
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Why not just leave the campgrounds open .. marked as an unmaintained CG .. kind of like BLM dispersed camping sites?
I have the same problem when they close highway rest stops.. why shut down the parking lot? Why not let those that need a break have a place to pull off and stretch?
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seann45 View Post
Why not just leave the campgrounds open .. marked as an unmaintained CG .. kind of like BLM dispersed camping sites?
I have the same problem when they close highway rest stops.. why shut down the parking lot? Why not let those that need a break have a place to pull off and stretch?
I agree 100%, because they're closing alot of the rest stops here in Texas, and I for one know that on the 8 hour drive from my house down to South Padre Island, it's not only nice but necessary to stop and get out and stretch your legs. Why not make these unmaintained CG's...camp at your own risk and clean up after yourself?!?
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:24 PM   #4
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My only guess is if they left them open and un-attended, folks would try to move in permanently and it would not be a place you would want to stop and camp. At least that is what would happen around here.....we have a couple of what I would term hobo camps around here - I am not even sure the trailers can move anymore....
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:26 PM   #5
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I have to admit, last weekend I moved a road closed sign on a dirt road to get to a county campground I really like. The campground wasn't closed, but the dirt road was. In my defense, some county workers told me they were taking down the sign later that day. :hihi:
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:14 AM   #6
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I wish they would leave the rest stops parking lots open, and let folks use Campgrounds they are closing and post they are unmaintained. The majority of folks would dispose of their trash properly, but there are a few who would vandalize the place, leave their trash all over, and try to set up house there. To bad a few have to ruin it for the rest of us.
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