Camping season is winding down

October 16th, 2018

Greetings from my office in Myre-Big Island State Park!  It’s the perfect place for a client meeting, and a meeting with a local attorney, drafting a Petition for Reconsideration… nothing like having a fully equipped office with wheels!  The downside is that there’s a season where it works, and a season where it doesn’t — for sure it does not work in the dead of winter.

We’re getting to the end of the season, it came to an end too quickly.  There was about an inch of snow here, it rained/sleeted/snowed all night Friday and all day Saturay.  Sunday morning people cleared out of here like it was on fire.  Our furnace and little heater kept up well, and one down comforter was sufficient!

Cooking was kinda rough the first two days, but washing dishes was worse!  Then today arrived and the sun was out and it was beautiful!

Sadie got to play with her “cousin” Sandie at the dog park two days running, and she was a happy, pooped, and socialist puppy!  They’re getting along quite well, but Sandie is… well… a PUPPY!  She’s now bigger than Sadie, plump and jiggly, whereas Sadie is for sure greyhound style.

Got to see little bro’s “new” house, and, well, it’s a good thing he didn’t get the first one he told me about down there, Hwy 13 in Hartland, right near Bernie and Cheryl Hagen and right in Bent Tree!  DON’T YOU DARE!  I sent Alan and Sadie out to play while I was writing, and there was some serious bonding going on the first day at the dog park and Home Depot.  A few mods to the camper, we now have two more stable tables, and a new outlet where the camper was designed for an air conditioner plug, so running little electric heater and oven or tea kettle at the same time is no problem.  One less thing to think about.  It was odd, there were two circuits, everything was on one, and nothing on the other, but all set up and ready to run, just needed an outlet. Who needs an air conditioner, particularly in a camper!  But we all need another outlet, eh?

Only one more meeting to go, and then homeward bound!



FYI, there’s a St. Croix State Park Management Plan open for comment, due July 7!  Never been to this one, yet, have looked but… Last year after Lindbergh, I sent the DNR a “We’re All Ears” comment about general experiences in the state parks, and this is more specific, so what the hell!!  I want to encourage them to have wifi in all the camps, particularly where there’s no phone access.  In Michigan, the park way way up at the tip of the peninsula of the UP has WiFi, why can’t we?

Here’s a tour of campsites at St. Croix State Park:

Their page about this plan is HERE.

The DNR will host an open house on June 22, 2017 at the St. Croix Lodge visitor center in St. Croix State Park from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. to answer questions and collect comments on the draft plan.

And the plan itself?  It’s here, check it out:

Draft St. Croix State Park management plan

Comments are due by July 7, and should be sent to:

Jade Templin    via email:

MNDNR Division of Parks and Trails
St. Croix Management Plan Comments
500 Lafayette Road Box 39
St. Paul, MN  55155-4039

Draft St. Croix State Park management plan

There’s also a 25 year Parks and Trails Legacy Plan and from that, there’s a Minnesota State Parks and Trails System Plan, and parks are one of three categories, a “Destination” park, a “Core park, or a “Rustic” park. The “Rustic” parks are ones that they say have minimal amenities, but Charles A. Lindbergh, classified as “Rustic,” had great facilities, and even canoes for rent!  Anyway, I’m digging through this today because we’re not out camping until later this month.

Check how they’ve categorized the parks in the Parks and Trails Legacy Plan, above.  The only one I’d not recommend for any reason is Big Bog, it’s buggy, hot, pretty much just a grassy parking lot, and full of big honkin’ RVs and big honkin’ pick up trucks and big honkin’ boats (it does have docks for most of the campsites).  It’s a class thing. UGH!

Destination Parks and Recreation Areas
Bear Head Lake
Forestville/Mystery Cave
Fort Snelling
Gooseberry Falls
Jay Cooke
Lake Carlos
Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine
Mille Lacs Kathio
Split Rock Lighthouse
St. Croix
Wild River
William O’Brien

Core/Adventure Parks and Recreation Areas
Blue Mounds
Cuyuna Country
Iron Range OHV
Temperance River

Core/Gateway Parks and Recreation Areas
Buffalo River
Grand Portage
Lake Bemidji
Lake Maria
Myre-Big Island
Nerstrand-Big Woods
Upper Sioux Agency

Core/Classic Parks and Recreation Areas
Big Bog
Big Stone Lake
Cascade River
Crow Wing
Father Hennepin
Fort Ridgely
Glacial Lakes
Great River Bluffs
Hayes Lake
La Salle Lake
Lac Qui Parle
Lake Bronson
Lake Shetek
McCarthy Beach
Moose Lake
Red River
Rice Lake
Sakatah Lake
Savanna Portage
Split Rock Creek
Zippel Bay

Rustic Parks
Beaver Creek Valley
Charles A. Lindbergh
Franz Jevne
Garden Island
George H. Crosby Manitou
Greenleaf Lake
Hill Annex Mine
John A. Latsch
Judge C.R. Magney
Kilen Woods
Lake Louise
Minnesota Valley
Monson Lake
Old Mill
St. Croix Islands

My beautiful pictureHell Creek State Park, Montana, circa 1966


Comments on the Hell Creek State Park Master Site & Management Plan – Draft_10-28-15 are due November 25, 2015.  They’re looking at choices to address the serious overcapacity use of the park, and to determine what to do when the “no-cost lease agreement” with the Army Corps of Engineers expires in 2021.  At this point, they’re wanting to address site infrastructure needs, make priority improvements and continue management of site and concession facility under a new contract with USACE. Send Comments, labeled as “Hell Creek State Park – Comments” to:

Montana State Parks
1420 East 6th Ave
PO Box 200701
Helena, MT  59620-0701

or online: HellCreek12 Decades ago on a family camping trip, we went to Hell Creek State Park, and it was stunning in its vast austerity.  It was on the bank of the Fort Peck Reservoir, the dam being part of our infrastructure tour that summer, and it was so bleak, hot, and dry, I wondered how people survived out there. Here’s the one campsite now with a tree! HellCreek17 We had to drive this intensely bumpy dirt road from Jordan, the nearest town, about 26 miles away, and it took a LONG time.  When we got there, we were the only campers, and were warmly greeted by the ranger, who showed us around, warned us about the cactus and said to be careful what shoes we wore because those spines could come right up through flimsy tennis shoes!  He also displayed his day’s work, he’d been out shooting rattlesnakes that day, and had half a flour sack full of dead rattlesnakes.   I don’t remember a beach, though there must have been a designated swimming area, and for sure there would have been a boat launch.  What I do remember of the reservoir, other than the dam, was an old wagon, the wooden kind, with a bench seat, the bench sticking up out of the water, which reminded me of what was probably lurking underneath the water, whatever was left when they flooded the river valley. I’ve wanted to go back there, and now with the camper, it’s on the agenda (let’s hear it for online reservations with photos!).  And in looking at the park, I found this Plan, and it presents some interesting issues, ranging from dealing with outfitters who direct clients to the park and use it as a base; moving to increased online reservations and a reservation only system; dealing with water and sewage issues, fish cleaning waste; and campground improvements to water, sanitary sewer system, electrical and cell service (there is NO cell service in the area). If you’re a camper, fisher, hunter, check out this plan and let them know what you think!