The Department of Natural Resources is asking campers to "go green" this season by participating in the department's Camp Green pilot program.
The Camp Green program encourages park guests to follow environmentally friendly and energy-efficient practices while visiting Michigan state parks and recreation areas. There are 10 locations participating in this pilot program: Aloha, Cheboygan, Clear Lake, Onaway, Port Crescent, Seven Lakes, Tawas Point, Traverse City and Wilson state parks, plus Bay City State Recreation Area.
Campers will be given information on how to camp green and will be asked to pledge to become a steward of Michigan's environment. In order to successfully "camp green," guests will be asked to:
- Turn off the air conditioning when it is not absolutely necessary, and not leave doors and windows open when the air conditioner is operating;
- Make sure lights are turned off during the daytime and not left on after a camper retires for the evening;
- Ensure water is used sparingly, by taking shorter showers and not leaving faucets running while brushing teeth or shaving;
- Properly dispose of gray water and sewage, and not dump it on the ground;
- Not burn trash in the fire circle; and
- Recycle at the park.
DNR Recreation Division Chief Ron Olson said that electricity is the largest utility expense for Michigan state parks and recreation areas, and it's a key focus of the Camp Green effort.
"Over the years, many campers have traded in their tents for larger, recreational vehicles usually outfitted with air conditioners," Olson said. "Air conditioning is the largest consumer of electricity in the parks."
Olson explained that Camp Green supporters will be given a "reality check" list to assess how green they camped. Anyone who fills out the registration pledging to camp green, and sends in the checklist to one of the 10 participating parks, will receive a window cling for his or her vehicle.
For more information about the Camp Green program, contact Jeremy Spell at 231-625-2522.
Camping reservations can be made online at www.midnrreservations.com or by calling the central reservation system at 800-447-2757.
The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan’s outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.
Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking "YES" on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.
Non-resident motor vehicles must still display a valid non-resident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site, which can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.