News & Events

Pandemic brings record crowds to Michigan parks. (And trash and trouble)

Aug 17, 2020

Michigan’s beaches, campgrounds, hiking trails and harbors are logging record attendance this summer, as vacationers seek relief from COVID-19 cabin fever and travel restrictions, closures and health concerns limit their options.


Michigan’s beaches, campgrounds, hiking trails and harbors are logging record attendance this summer, as vacationers seek relief from COVID-19 cabin fever and travel restrictions, closures and health concerns limit their options.

At Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan, July crowds shattered an all-time record, with more than 590,000 visitors. In July 2019, the lakeshore saw just under 500,000.

At Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the Upper Peninsula, day-use attendance in July was nearly 60,000, up 4 percent from last year’s already higher-than-average numbers, and the campground was full virtually all month.

Statewide, nights reserved in July were up 25 percent at state campgrounds along with “unprecedented” attendance at first-come, first-served rustic campgrounds, while visitors to the Huron-Clinton Metroparks system in southeast Michigan increased nearly 31 percent so far this year to 2.2 million.

“We’ve seen record numbers of people all week, even on marginal weather days,” said Ron Olson, parks and recreation chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “People have been sequestered at home, and being outside feels like a safer place to go, particularly places that have larger open spaces so people can spread out.”

Full article here