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Campgrounds are in demand. Make sure yours is licensed.

Tent lit up at night at campground at Big Bear lake Credit: DNRWith a resurgence in camping that is on pace to set a record year in Michigan (according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources), it's wise to make sure the site where you'll be pitching a tent, setting up your camper or reserving a cabin is licensed to operate. That ensures that all rules regarding sanitation and safety standards for campgrounds and public health have been substantially met.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is responsible for with issuing construction permits and annual operating licenses to campgrounds with more than four sites in Michigan. Over 1,300 campgrounds are regulated by EGLE staffers in the Campgrounds and Pools Programs within the Environmental Health Programs Unit.

As part of the permit process, EGLE and local health departments work together to ensure that the campground water supply has sufficient capacity, water quality, and proper well construction.

If the campground will have an on-site wastewater system, the local health department must evaluate the soils to determine site suitability and permitting for onsite wastewater disposal.

A campground license means the overall campground facilities -- including water supply/ distribution and sewage collection, treatment and disposal have been deemed safe by the local health department and substantially -- meet rule requirements.

Campground owners are required to post the campground's license in a prominent location on the campground. If you are trying to determine if a campground is licensed, please first check the list of "Licensed Campgrounds in Michigan" on EGLE Campgrounds program webpage. Then, consult with your local health department, zoning, and building departments to inquire locally. If you decide to contact the state, for quicker service, please email

Please note that EGLE only licenses campgrounds with five or more campsites/recreational units. If there are fewer than five sites present, you should contact local authorities about local ordinances. In addition, "tiny homes" and resort cabins with plumbing are not considered "recreational units," but are regulated locally.

Photo caption: Tent lit up at night at campground at Big Bear lake. Photo credit: DNR

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