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Limits Set on the Porkies Backcountry

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced that it will eliminate dispersed camping at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, to better protect park resources and help ensure a quality backcountry camping experience.

At roughly 60,000 acres, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is Michigan’s largest state park, home to towering old-growth hemlock-hardwood stands, roaring waterfalls and spectacular sweeping vistas. Annual visitation to the park is estimated to have grown to more than 300,000 people.

Backpackers on the Escarpment Trail.

In past years, the 63 backcountry campsites were available on a first-come, first-served basis. Park rangers did not need to limit camping and campers could camp off-trail in a dispersed fashion away from designated campsites.

 “In recent years, we have had several nights that exceeded our capacity. We are now requiring campers to stay at designated campsites and we are limiting the number of registered campsites to 63 per night to protect the backcountry experience for all,” said Michael Knack, park supervisor. “Campers can now make a reservation for campsites and all backcountry campers will be required to camp on the specific backcountry campsite or campsites they have registered for.”

The cost to camp for one night is $15 for 1-6 people. The maximum number of campers per site is six. Backcountry camping reservations are available six months in advance for May 15 through Oct. 15 at www.midnrreservations.com or by calling 1-800-44PARKS. The remainder of the year is local sale only at the park.

An online reservation is not a backcountry camping permit. Backcountry campers will still need to visit one of three check stations when they arrive at the park to be issued their backcountry camping permit. Self-registration at the park is no longer offered as it was in the past.

Check-in is required at the park year-round to obtain a camping permit. After hours arrival requires next day check-in prior to entering the backcountry.

To view the park’s backcountry camping map and for additional information go to  www.michigan.gov/porkiesvc.

Click here for trail maps with campsite locations or descriptions to the park’s 90-miles of trails.  For Jim DuFresne’s Trail Talk blog on the issue of reserving your slice of the wilderness in advance click here.

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