Interlochen State Park, a cherished destination for campers, is set to undergo extensive renovations this summer, signaling a temporary pause in its camping season.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that the closure is part of a broader $250 million park renovation plan across the state, a report highlighted.
Located conveniently across from the Interlochen Arts Academy, the park is a haven for those seeking a blend of natural beauty and cultural enrichment.
The park’s unique positioning between Green and Duck lakes has made it a favorite for campers and outdoor enthusiasts. However, this summer, visitors will need to adjust their plans as the park embarks on a significant transformation.
The DNR has allocated approximately $3.57 million specifically for Interlochen’s renovations. These improvements are part of a statewide effort to enhance Michigan’s state parks, ensuring they meet contemporary standards and visitor expectations. The renovations at Interlochen include upgrades to water and sewer systems, public restrooms, and other essential infrastructure.
While the rustic campground remains open, the North Loop of the modern campground will be closed throughout the year, and the South Loop will be inaccessible until Labor Day. Additionally, the park’s day-use picnic area and boat launch will face intermittent closures during the spring and summer months.
The DNR has expressed optimism that some areas of the park may reopen earlier if the renovation projects are completed ahead of schedule. This phased approach aims to minimize disruption and maximize accessibility wherever possible.
Funding for these enhancements comes from the state’s Building Michigan Together Plan, which utilizes a portion of the federal American Rescue Plan money. This bipartisan bill, passed by the legislature in March 2022, underscores the state’s commitment to revitalizing its public outdoor spaces.
Ron Olson, the DNR’s chief of parks and recreation, has previously highlighted the urgency of these renovations, citing a nearly $300 million maintenance backlog in state parks. The Interlochen project is part of a larger initiative that will see improvements in 43 state parks over the next three years. Last year alone, 13 projects were successfully completed under this initiative.
The economic implications of the closure are also a significant concern. State Rep. John Roth, R-Interlochen, voiced worries about the impact on local businesses that rely heavily on tourism, especially considering the park’s capacity of 490 campsites.
Interlochen State Park, established in 1917, is Michigan’s first state park. Its closure this summer marks a significant moment in its history, as it undergoes transformations to better serve future generations of campers and outdoor enthusiasts.
While the temporary closure of Interlochen State Park may pose challenges for campers and local businesses, it is a necessary step towards enhancing the overall quality and sustainability of Michigan’s outdoor recreational facilities. These improvements are expected to bolster the state’s reputation as a premier destination for camping and outdoor activities, ultimately benefiting the industry and its patrons in the long run.
Featured image from Interlochen State Park.