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Now that school is out and we are proceeding into summer, it is a great time to think about spending time in the outdoors. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the outdoors with family than camping. Whether it is in a cabin, camper or a tent, this is truly a great way for family time spent in the outdoors. If you don’t want to spend the money for a cabin, the other two options will do the trick very nicely.

The thing I really liked about tenting was it made me feel closer to nature. On the other hand, tenting in the rain over a three-day weekend can sometimes bring you closer to nature than you would like. We did have a backup plan for rainy days because we had a pickup with a topper. It was big enough for us to sleep in, but that was about all I can say for that. Looking back on those times of tenting they weren’t that bad, in fact, there are actually times when I miss the simple pleasures of those days.

Tenting is actually the most economical way to find out if camping is for you. Camping in a tent is not without a few challenges; the biggest one is the weather. I can recall a few occasions where the weather made tenting very difficult. One such time was when I had gone to Spider Lake alone for some late September fishing and had borrowed my son Brian’s S10 Chevy pickup which had a topper on it. The second night there it rained and my tent could have been used to name that movie “A River Runs Through It” because that is exactly what it felt like. I ended up sleeping in the back of the pickup on this trip. Another time was on a July trip with Brian and his brother-in-law Jeremy. Each day was rainy and cold, which lasted pretty much the whole week. We had taken a screen tent along and ended up using it to house our portable grill which we converted into a wood stove to get dry and warm up. Another time I was camping with my brother-in-law Mike and it rained every night, but the days were fishable; thank goodness we had cots to sleep on.

Even with a few hiccups, the good times spent tenting definitely outweighed the bad. Our family tented for a few years before we invested in a pickup camper which we enjoyed all the way until the boys were grown up. It’s kind of ironic that as the boys grew older the camper seemed to be getting smaller and smaller, but it still worked for us. We chose the pickup camper because we liked to fish and it only made sense to not only have something to tow the boat, but also comfortable living conditions. I wouldn’t recommend buying a camper without first testing the waters.

One of the more economical places to camp is a state park campground where prices will range from $15-$23 a night with mutual bathrooms with showers, and campgrounds with primitive toilets and no showers can go from $15-$19 a night. Campsites with electricity go for an extra $8 per night with water and sewer hookups costing an extra $6. Obviously; the more rustic the campsite, the cheaper the rate will be and a State Park permit is required and can be purchased for $25. This permit is for one year and is good for all 75 Minnesota State Parks.

State Forest campgrounds are another option and these campsites are available for $14 per night with no bathroom facilities and a vault toilet.

Voyagers National Park in Northern Minnesota has no admittance fee and tent camping fees can range from $16-$20 per night. The park is open year round. Operating hours for the park's three visitor centers change with the seasons. See: www.nps.gov/voya/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.

Guided boat tours are offered during the summer. See:  www.www.nps.gov/voya/planyourvisit/guided-tours.

Snowshoe hikes are offered during the winter. See: www.nps.gov/voya/planyourvisit/winterprograms.

The two national forests in Minnesota, Chippewa and Superior, include campgrounds that cater to campers who want a wilderness, solitary experience, as well as those who don't mind camping around groups of other people. Chippewa National Forest in Central Northern Minnesota spans nearly 1.6 million acres and includes 21 campgrounds. The Superior National Forest in Northeast Minnesota covers 3 million acres and includes 27 campgrounds. It includes the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Camping rate: $15 per day with the maximum stay permitted of 14 days.

There are also some campsites in the Chippewa National Forest located on lakes that are free to use and are on a first come-first-serve basis. I know of at least two lakes in the Marcell area that have these campsites. There are three on Spider Lake that can only be accessed by boat.

If you like a little adventure and enjoy the outdoors, Minnesota has many great options for you.


Musky Talk News

Our June meeting will be an outing on Fox Lake, Saturday June 13th. Morning fishing and quit at 3 pm and meet at Northeast public landing.

Our meetings will take a summer break and begin 1st Thursday of every month starting in October at 7 pm, at the Eagles Club in Owatonna. (NOTE, no more Wednesday meetings.) Our meetings include; informative speakers, updates, door prizes, raffles and lots of musky talk! Good fishing. 

Until next time, it’s time to think camping and fishing and get ready to enjoy the great Minnesota outdoors.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

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