Luce County Parks and Recreation Director Ben Rahilly was eagerly anticipating the end of the state Stay Home order. Camping at the Luce County Campground was set to open on May 29 – the very next day after the order was set to end.
But that changed on Friday, when Governor Gretchen Whitmer cited spiking coronavirus cases in areas of the state and extended the Stay Home order through June 12.
“It’s a major bummer for all campers, not just at my campground,” Rahilly said.
In a normal year, the 45-site campground would have been about half full over Memorial Day weekend, he said. At half full, the campground would have brought in about $765 a night.
“This year, with the COVID stuff, if we were able to open, I firmly believe we would have been full for the weekend and the upcoming weeks ahead,” he said.
It’s also cramping the budget of his department, which relies on fees paid by visiting campers for up to $50,000 of its income.
“We’re losing out on lots of money right now,” he said.
It could balance out if we have a pleasant summer with nice weather all the way past the start of school in the fall, he said. Because of the state shutdown, his department laid off staff and saved on wages that way.
“It will be hard, but we can still catch up at the campground itself if we have a good summer,” he said.
Camping at Luce County Park costs $17 a night.
Each campsite has 50 amp power service and water. The campground offers beach access to North Manistique Lake, also known as Round Lake. Rahilly plans to add children’s playground equipment to the park this year, which already boasts swings and a sand volleyball pit, along with floating islands in the water.
At the moment, the county road that feeds into the park is open. Outhouses are available, but the bathrooms with running water are locked.