Campground planned near Marquette Mountain

Development undertaken by Mark Curran


MARQUETTE — Following delays due to fire code concerns, a new campground development is now in the works along the Carp River next to Marquette Mountain that will feature full RV hook-up sites, year-round cabins and a swimming pool.

Developer Mark Curran, of Curran & Co., owner and operator of numerous apartments and rental units in Marquette, said he hopes the Rippling River Resort will be a destination in itself.

“This is (going to) be my fun project,” Curran said. “We build all the apartments and everything, this is just you know, my family and I, we love to go camping, we visit national parks every year … all across the nation, … and little Marquette is its own national park.”

Curan said he bought the 37-acre parcel last fall from Pete O’Dovero, with construction on the project to begin this spring.

With permitting still in process through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the health department, Curran said he aims to open the resort by late summer.

Approval of the development was delayed due to fire protection concerns.

According to Feb. 7 public meeting minutes of the Marquette Planning Commission, Curran’s decision not to install firefighting water supply will make it the only over-night occupancy in the city without municipal fire hydrants or water supply for the protection of its customers and responding firefighters.

Correspondence from the Marquette City Fire Department in the minutes states the fire department had previously denied the campground site plan, but approved it after James Elenbaas, the regional supervisor for the Fire Marshal Division of the Michigan Bureau of Fire Services, said they couldn’t legally deny the project for that reason.

“The Marquette City Fire Department is not in agreement with the lack of water supply for firefighting operations at the campground and the attendant risk to life it promotes, however, we recognize at this time, we may not legally require the proper (National Fire Protection Association) water supply standards at this location,” the letter states, according to the meeting minutes.

In the minutes, Curran said regarding the fire concerns that all of the cabins will have sprinkler systems off of the domestic water supply system under the NFPA sprinkler code, and the wells at the site will provide substantial water.

The Rippling River Resort will have 50 full hook-up sites for RVs, other sites with electric only, several walk-in tent sites along the river, 14 year-round log cabins with kitchenettes and an outdoor pool, splash pad and spa, Curran said.

Located at 4321 M-553, the resort’s location will make it ideal for mountain biking, fishing, family recreation and skiing — with proximity to Marquette Mountain allowing visitors to ski right out of their cabin to the hill, Curran said.

The campground will feature 2,000 feet along the Carp River, with access for swimming, fishing and other recreation.

Curran said the Carp River is one of the best trout streams in Michigan.

“That section of the Carp River is some of the most gorgeous river in the U.P. It’s fast running water and just clean, it’s gorgeous,” Curran said.

It will have a large pool and hot tub, with a splash pad consisting of a concrete surface with water fountains and features that squirt for kids to play in.

“This is (going to) be more of a destination campground. You’re (going to) come here and hopefully stay for a week or at minimum a long weekend, you know, you’re not (going to) be just passing through. You’re (going to) come to play on the trails, play on the river, play on the splash pad and then enjoy everything else that Marquette has to offer.”

Also in the meeting minutes, Curran stated that there is substantial vegetation in the area, and they will be very selective in how they put all of the sites in. He stated the trees are going to be relocated where the campsites are planned to go. He also stated the cabins will be built on skids and will look very rustic and interesting.

Also during the meeting, Curran said one of the cabins will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, along with some of the camping cabins that do not have plumbing. The pool, bathhouse and office area will be ADA-compliant as well, he said.

The land intensive recreational use permit for the development was unanimously approved by the planning commission Feb. 7 following a public hearing. The property is zoned for conservation recreation.

Mary Wardell can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.