Rainfall forces early campground closures at Baraga, Porcupine Mountains state parks

Contact: Michael Knack, 906-885-5277 or John Pepin, 906-226-1352
Agency: Natural Resources

Backcountry, rustic sites at Porcupine Mountains remain open

Oct. 11, 2018

Significant rainfall over several days has forced the early closure of campgrounds at Baraga State Park in Baraga County and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon County.

The modern campgrounds at both parks were closed Wednesday for the remainder of the season.

Park staffers at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park closed the Union Bay Modern Campground, after almost three weeks of rain showers.

“The park has received nearly 18 days of continuous rain and the campsites are completely saturated,” said Michael Knack, park supervisor. “All of the campsites have standing water and ruts from vehicles and campers that have been getting stuck.”

The Presque Isle Rustic Campground, cabins, yurts and backcountry campsites will all remain open. The closure at Union Bay comes about one week before park personnel would have turned off the water and winterized buildings.

Hikers and backcountry campers are being urged to not take any unnecessary risks and to evaluate thoroughly any attempts at informal river crossings.

“The river and creek currents are turbulent, and waters are much deeper than normal,” Knack said. “Use extreme caution.”

Check in at the Wilderness Visitors Center for the most current closures and trail conditions at the Porcupine Mountains.

The campground at Baraga State Park was closed Wednesday, roughly two weeks early, given issues with flooding and standing water.

"We have flooding in about 90 percent of the campground," said Kelly Somero, DNR western Upper Peninsula recreation programmer. "Camis USA, Inc. (the DNR's reservations contractor for state parks and harbors) will be contacting our future reservation holders to issue refunds. Our current campers will be able to stay until they were due out or they can be refunded if they wish to leave early."

The Otter Lake Boating Access Site has extreme flooding. The skid pier is completely submerged and the launch is not usable.

"We have reports that Big Eric’s Bridge State Forest Campground, King Lake State Forest Campground, Bond Falls Scenic Site, Prickett Dam Boating Access Site and other DNR sites in Baraga, Houghton and Ontonagon counties have very high water levels, so visitors should exercise caution when visiting these sites," Somero said.

Other state park campgrounds in the western Upper Peninsula also are experiencing wet campsites. Calling ahead to check on camping conditions is highly recommended.

Twin Lakes State Park staffers in Houghton County reported their campground is relatively dry and the park currently has availability for the upcoming weekend.

To make campground reservations, visit the DNR's reservations page at midnrreservations.com.

For the latest on campground, trails and other DNR closures, visit michigan.gov/dnrclosures.

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 michigan.gov/dnr.

Accompanying photos are available below for download. Suggested captions follow. Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Baraga: Water inundates the campground at Baraga State Park in Baraga County.

Campground: Lake Superior waves roll in toward a flooded and rutted campsite at the Union Bay modern campground at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon County.