To the Journal editor:
We have returned to Michigan every year since 1964 to visit relatives and enjoy the area. However, in the last few years, we have been surprised at the new fees for certain things that used to be free for public access.
The first thing is the $30.50 fee to camp in a state park. We camped at VanRipers some years ago and paid $25 then, and even then, we were of the opinion that this was a fee which penalized out-of-state campers. Now at the current rate and $11 for residents, that still is steep.
So we are now camping at a private park for the month, and have for the last 4 or 5 years, where we pay a monthly fee which is considerably less than paying for a month at a State Park, and this also includes full hook-up.
The other thing we were disappointed in is the fee for Passport's required to get into certain areas or lakes. Last year, we drove over a narrow dirt road to Craig Lake, which we had enjoyed in the past, only to get to the lake and find a gate with a sign saying Recreation Passport Required for Entry.
This year, we drove quite a distance to one end of Squaw Lake, only to find the same sign. We tried to get to Little Presque Isle, again the same sign. It seems that State land is becoming private land, unless you have a Passport.
A question we wondered, if Passport's are required for entry to certain areas, why isn't a sign posted at the entrance of the road, instead of having people drive miles, only to find out they can't get in?
The TV stations here are always showing Pure Michigan commercials. Yet it leaves a bad taste in the mouth when tourists have to pay extra to enjoy a lake or campground.
Speaking for ourselves, we spend a lot of money in the U.P. every year, but really feel like we are being taken advantage of, simply because we are not residents.
If Michigan wants people to visit and vacation, it might be wise to re-consider some penalties that are charged because of being from out-of-state.