Camping is a great way to connect with the outdoors

Published 9:02 am Friday, July 2, 2010

In these days of hurry here and hurry there have you ever wondered what it would be like to just sit down and chill for an hour or so? Well, there are many times that I’ve been hurrying from one place to another and seen someone sitting on a park bench or in a lawn chair by the lake just looking totally relaxed. This is when I’ve told myself – one day I’m going to take time out to be that person. I’m sure that a lot of us may feel guilty if we take the time to sit and relax for a while when we think of all the things we could be doing. This is when the old cliche “stop and smell the roses” makes the most sense, take a little time out to just sit back and enjoy the moment.

Over the years I’ve found that camping can be an inexpensive and fun way to remove yourself from the hectic pace we set for ourselves. It’s a perfect stress reliever, a way to just relax and enjoy the outdoors at the same time. If you’ve never experienced it before now is a good time to take some time to select a campground and plan a weekend with the family. You can start camping with a minimal investment so you can see if it’s your cup of tea. Camping is a great way for family to spend time together and get to know a little more about nature and the outdoors in general.

An initial investment would be a tent, sleeping bags, maybe a lantern and a flashlight and of course a cooler for food. Many campgrounds have fire rings for roasting hotdogs & marshmallows or for just sitting around and soaking in the outdoors experience. If you’ve never made smores you’re missing out on a real treat. Our kids and grandkids would always look forward to smores as the highlight of an evening spent around the campfire. All you need is a stick for roasting the marshmallows, some Hershey bars and of course graham crackers.

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Now I personally have never known a kid that didn’t like to roast his own marshmallows and of course one for Grandpa or Grandma. There are times when you must make the sacrifice and eat a marshmallow that has been roasted and has also touched the firewood a time or two. This is when you hear “this one’s for you grandpa” and you take it and pretend you didn’t see it touch anything.

There are a lot of campgrounds around our area that have a variety of things to offer. There are some that have a full array of activities for kids to do and then there are some that are more basic and leave it up to the campers to make their own entertainment and just enjoy the natural environment. State Parks are not only fun to visit but are also great places to camp. These parks have nice campsites and they all offer hiking trails and an opportunity to see wildlife in their natural environment. Most parks take reservations but some do leave spots open for first come-first serve campers and on holiday weekends you’d better be there early if you want a spot.

I was watching the news on TV Monday night and one of our local stations did a story about how you had better plan ahead if you wanted a camp spot on the weekend of the 4th. Well if you waited until the Monday before you probably would have been out of luck. Camp spots on holiday weekends are hard to come by unless you reserve early. If you are a first time camper you might want to try a non-holiday weekend.

Beginning your camping experience close to home is a great way to “test the waters” and you’re right here in your own backyard. Myre Big Island State Park is a nice park, but you will need a state park sticker and of course the fee for whatever nights you stay. You can also just buy a sticker and go to the park for a day to check it out. One thing about purchasing a State Park sticker it’s good for any State Park in Minnesota.

The cost for an annual vehicle permit is $25. The cost for camping per night for a discovery with showers or rustic campsites is $12-$16 and $16-$20 for the more familiar sites with showers. There are also remote campsites for $12-$20 and equestrian campsites for $18-$20 per site. Some Parks also rent cabins and they range anywhere from $45 no electric-$50 w/electricity. These prices are for a 12×16 cabin that are called camper cabins. There are bigger cabins and even a farmhouse to rent for an array of different prices ranging all the way up to $210 a night for 2 guesthouses that will accommodate 12-15 people and are fully equipped. Each park has something a little different to offer but the one thing that they all have in common is a lot of natural habitat for wildlife.

There are a wide variety of lodging options available depending on the park. Here is the information for making a campsite reservation or any one of the many lodging options that are available. Online – reservations can be made 24 hours a day, except for the first day a reservation becomes available. On that first day, reservations can be made online at 8 a.m. at

Phone reservations can be made by phone, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

Phone: 1-866-85PARKS (1-866-857-2757)

International: 1-317-249-9327

TDD/Telecommunications Device for Deaf: 1-866-672-8213

CORRECTION: In last week’s column I made mention of some nice former area folks that run a nice family resort on Blackduck Lake, unfortunately I misspelled the name of the resort. It may not seem important to some but when it is in their web address it can make a huge difference. The correct name of Larry and Shannon Kampa’s resort is Dunrovin Resort and their website is where you can see for yourself all the features that this nice family resort has to offer. The fish are biting now. They are also open year-round and I’ve also heard that the ice fishing is very good on Blackduck Lake.

The weather that we’ve experienced in the last week or so hasbrought devastation to many area families. It is sad that a life was lost and it’s also sad that so many have to try to put their lives back together. This is a time when we showed what kind of a community we really are. Neighbors helping neighbors and strangers stepping forward and offering their help in this time of need. That’s what makes a person proud to be a part of this community.

Until next time “respect our natural resources, enjoy the outdoors and Let‘s go fishin‘”.

Take a little time to remember our brothers and sisters who are proudly serving our country so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have today.