West Branch State Forest Campground, located in Dickinson County, Michigan, was closed in 2009 by the DNR due to budget cuts. It was reopened, illegally, over Memorial Day weekend.
An unknown party mowed the grass, jimmied open the doors to the restrooms and removed the roadblocks, a large berm and some boulders, that the DNR had put in place to keep people out.
According to John Pepin at The Mining Journal, the DNR doesn’t know who is responsible or why they did it, but they sure would like to ehm… “talk” to them.
DNR officials said they aren’t sure whether someone just really wanted to camp at the campground or if whoever re-opened the campground was attempting to make a statement about the DNR’s plan announced in April to close 23 more of the rustic state forest campgrounds.
Either way, DNR law enforcement officers want to talk to the perpetrator.
— John Pepin at The Mining Journal
When this unmanned campground was shut down, its facilities included 18 primitive small trailer/tent sites, vault toilets and potable water from well hand pump. The camping fee was $15 a night. It was one of twelve state forest campgrounds that were shut down via Executive Order 2009-22. The state closed 20 campgrounds in 2007. And, as you may remember us telling you, the state plans on shutting down yet another 23 campgrounds this year.
The good news! Dispersed camping is allowed on State Forest land without a fee, if the camp is one mile from a designated state forest campground and it has not been banned by Order of the Director. Campers must post a camp registration card at their campsite. Camp registration cards may be obtained at any DNR Operation Service Center or from the Forest, Mineral, and Fire Management Office in Lansing. (Note: dispersed camping is also allowed on a limited basis within State Game Areas. For more information call Wildlife Division).
Read the full story over at the The Mining Journal
There is also an anecdotal story about it on gawker.com