Memorial Day brings out campers

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer.  Many people are marking the occasion by spending time outdoors.

For many residents in the Upper Peninsula, that means going camping.

Campers began trickling into Van Riper State Park in Champion as early as Thursday for the holiday weekend.  They began pouring in on Friday, and eventually filled the campground.

Until very recently, the campsites were filled with something other than campers.

“We’re normally full on Memorial Day weekend–we did have a late start to spring though,” Supervisor of Van Riper Park Doug Barry said.  “We still had snowbanks a week or two ago, so we’re scampering around and cleaning up.”

Barry added that that at this early point in the season, their campers are mainly U.P. residents who have been suffering from cabin fever from the long winter.

“It’s been a long winter, and they want to get out,” Barry said.  “All friends like to get together and maybe celebrate summer and get together with old friends again.”

Reservations are looking strong for the season at Van Riper.

State and Private campgrounds fill up quickly for the big occasions, like Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day.  Reservations are recommended for those busy weekends.

Some campgrounds have a few sites that they keep open for last-minute campers.