Crowded Porcupine Mountains limits backcountry camping

(Michigan DNR)

SILVER CITY, Mich. — As Michigan’s largest state park becomes increasingly popular, officials are limiting the number of backcountry camping permits to prevent overcrowding.

The DNR says more than 300,000 people a year are visiting Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park in the western Upper Peninsula.

Backcountry campsites previously have been available on a first-come, first-served basis and people were allowed to camp off-trail away from designated sites.

But in recent years, officials say overcrowding has compromised the wilderness experience.

Supervisor Michael Knack says backcountry campers now will be required to use designated sites for which they’ve registered. Porcupine Mountains has 63 backcountry campsites. They cost $15 per night. The maximum number of campers per site is six.

The 60,000-acre park features old-growth hemlock-hardwood stands, roaring waterfalls and spectacular sweeping vistas.