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State park campgrounds reopen, recreation passports required

Most amenities will be open, but bring a mask and practice social distancing.

MICHIGAN, USA — State campgrounds are once again open after being shut down during the stay-at-home order. That also means visitors will once again need to have a Recreation Passport to enter the parks. 

In the campgrounds, most amenities, like bathrooms, will be open. There will be some differences in staff's cleaning procedures and how they check in visitors. 

"We've already opened the state forest campgrounds on June 10," said Ron Olson, the Chief of the DNR's Parks and Recreation Division. "And the harbors and the state parks have been open for basic general day use. But today, everything opens back up, plus the recreation passports are required, which has been paused since the pandemic situation began."

RELATED: State park visitors again will need pass starting Monday

The DNR is asking campers to practice proper social distancing, and bring a mask when entering indoor buildings at the campground. 

Large gatherings and events at the campgrounds are also canceled until July. 

Campgrounds play a large role in Michigan tourism industry. There are more than 14,000 camp sites in Michigan state parks. 

"We have over, in a normal year, 1.2 million camp nights a year," said Olson. "So, it's a big part of the tourism industry. Plus, as people go out, they buy commodities and go to the local communities and towns. That's a very vital part of what what they do as well."

The Recreation Passport is needed for vehicle entry to state parks. The use was suspended for the past three months to minimize face-to-face interactions and exchange of money between visitors and staff. 

Michigan residents can purchase a passport through the Secretary of State when renewing license plates for $12. Out-of-state visitors can buy one online or at the state parks for $34 for an annual pass. 

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