Strong Summer for Van Riper

2012 is shaping up as a very busy year for visitors to state parks in Michigan.

Guests are camping in the parks in greater numbers, and one park in western Marquette County is booming.

Van Riper State Park in Champion has seen very strong visitor numbers this summer.

The park has 147 campsites, and most of them have been full since Memorial Day weekend.

Park supervisor Doug Barry says they had 28% more campers through the end of June than they had in the same period last year.

He says the growth in July camping isn’t quite as impressive — up 7% to 8% — but that’s mainly because the park is already pushing close to its capacity and can’t accommodate many more campers than it has now.

The last statewide figures Barry heard from the Michigan DNR had a 22% to 23% improvement through the end of June.