Friday, May 20, 2011

Camping at Backus Lake

Boat Launch at Backus Lake
K Stephenson

For anyone who follows my blog you know I enjoy fishing at Backus Lake. This is due to the tranquility and the good fishing (most days). What I have not previously mentioned is that being this is state land there are campsites by the lake. These sites are purely rustic with NO facilities. And the cost is zero dollars. You just need to fill out a permit at a local DNR station and post it next to your site.

I went out to Backus Lake to do some fishing like I do most every evening. And I was surprised (albeit mildly) that all of the sites by the lake were taken. Not too surprising since next weekend is Memorial Day weekend. What really surprised me was the number of campers on each site. There were no less than two campers per site and some had three.

I have mixed feelings about this since I like to drop my Bass Raider in the water there for some Bluegill and Perch fishing. One it takes away the tranquility since my favorite two spots are just off two camp sites (lots of vegetation and cattails). On the other hand the economic crunch has affected area businesses and several long standing ones have closed recently.

I'm no fan of high gas prices. But the silver lining to this black crowd is more people vacationing closer to home. For Houghton and other area lakes this equates to more exposure a place to go this summer. And maybe for summers to come. Not due to high gas prices but because of great experiences and fond memories of time spent with family and friends in a tranquil setting. Like many of the current residents here I am a transplant from the Detroit suburbs so I know first hand the hectic lifestyle of city living. And I know the relaxing benefits of camping.

There are many excellent state and privately owned campgrounds in the Houghton-Higgins lakes area. Sites at most state campgrounds can be reserved online at the DNR website (click here). Other state area sites include: Reedsburg, North Houghton Lake, North and South Higgins Lake. These are NOT free sites. They have varying fees starting at $16 per night for rustic tent camping. Check DNR website for fees.

As always enjoy what nature has to offer and show her respect by leaving the area better than you found it. Help out by picking up any trash someone may have left behind. I carry a trash bag with me when ever I go out.

Have a great summer filled with memories you'll be talking about for years to come.

Ken S

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