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Overnight stays at Michigan State Park campgrounds expected to top 1.2 million in 2021

As Labor Day approaches state parks continue to be busy, state park campgrounds on track to see more than 1.2 million camp nights in 2021.

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — Many of the most popular state parks are expecting to set new visitations records in 2021. This following strong growth in the number of visitors to the parks in 2020.

Interest in camping since the COVID-19 pandemic has also increased and that trend is still being seen at many of the state park campgrounds in West Michigan.

DNR staff recently looked over reservation numbers for the last 40-years and discovered 2021 is on track to be a record year for camp nights.

"Somewhere between 1.2 million and 1.3 million camp nights when the year is all said and done," said DNR parks chief Ron Olson. "The best we could find, was under 1.2 million. This could be an all-time record year according to statistics we keep."

Michigan has 103 state parks and thousands of campsites to choose from. Four-weeks out from the Labor Day weekend Olson says 92-percent of all state park campground sites are reserved. To find an open sites from Friday to Monday campers should be looking to the parks in the U.P.

"Our projection is that the Labor Day weekend we're going to be probably 97-percent occupancy," said Olson.

Campsites in the state park system can be reserved six-months in advance of a planned arrival. 

When state park campgrounds fill up Olson says campers often seek out the 1,200 rustic and primitive campsites available on state forest lands.

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