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Pandemic cabin fever may have caused winter camping to spike

David Schultz

The pandemic may have given a lot of Michiganders cabin fever.

Jason Fleming is a spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources.

He says nights spent at state campgrounds between October and February were up about 40% from the same time period last year.

"You know, the reality is, people want to get outdoors, they want to get out of their house," says Fleming.

He says reservations going forward are up as well. But it's not clear at this point if that means more people will be camping over the summer, or if people are just making their reservations earlier. 

"If you haven't made your reservation yet, there's plenty of time. There's plenty of space, and plenty of opportunity out there," Fleming says.

Fleming says he encourages people to try a different campground if the one they have their eye on is filled. And he says to check back often, because people often make cancellations at the last minute.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.