Committee working on plans for spring

ALPENA – The Negwegon, Rockport and Thompson’s Harbor Advisory Committee heard updates about the state parks and recreation area Tuesday, including the news that Rockport will get funding to put in backcountry campsites.

The Department of Natural Resources has allocated $5,000 to 6,000 to put four campsites in, Unit Supervisor Eric Ostrander said. They will consist of a clearing for a tent, a picnic table, fire ring and an outdoor privy, a pit toilet with three walls for privacy.

They’ll be similar to the ones at Negwegon State Park, Ostrander said. Rockport State Recreation Area has no source of potable water, so campers will need to pack in their own or bring a filtration system.

Friends of Rockport/Besser Natural Area members are helping to pick where these campsites will go, Ostrander said. Once areas are chosen, DNR Stewardship Division employees will evaluate the sites to check for any impacts on cultural or natural resources in the area.

“Some of the members have good thoughts of where to put them, but we have to follow the land management plans,” he said.

In the process of mapping the recreation area’s trails using GPS, Friends of Rockport members have scoped out possible sites, group President Carol Grochowski said. One, located near the junction of two trails running alongside the former limestone quarry, was popular with campers in past years. Friends of Rockport board member Lynn Morrison used to camp there when he was growing up, Grochowski said.

“People like Lynn and the residents around there have a pretty good idea if it would be a good spot or if it would not,” she said. “We’ll rely on their input as far as what will work.”

The group would like to put one campsite near the water, possibly near a sandy beach at Ferron Point, Grochowski said. This would tie the park in with a trail of sorts stretching along Lake Huron’s shoreline. The network of marinas and campsites serve as stopping-off points for those travelling by boat.

Friends group members also are looking to site one near the boat launch, and another in a place where it’s handicap-accessible, Grochowski said.

The campsites should be ready by next spring, although it could be earlier depending on what kind of outside help DNR employees get, Ostrander said. Friends of Rockport members could help with the installation to speed up the process.

In other business:

  • Friends of Negwegon State Park is focusing on removing invasive plant species from the park, NRTH Secretary Jeff Shea said. The group will look into ways to tackle the problem, including possibly seeking a grant from environmental organizations, Ostrander said.
  • NRTH will continue working with the Alpena Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to market all the state parks and recreation area, Shea said. The committee had been working with Deb Pardike, who has since moved on.
  • Ostrander informed the committee that the cost of Recreation Passports, which give people access to state parks, has increased to $11. Other entry fees have increased as well.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5688.