The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced a change in camping policy at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

Beginning this year, the Michigan DNR will limit the number of designated backcountry campsites at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park to better protect the park and provide an overall better camping experience to those in the park. Annual visitation to the park is estimated at over 300,000 people.

In past years, backcountry campsites were available on a first-come, first-served basis. Park rangers did not limit camping and campers could camp off-trail away from designated campsites.

This year, they are limiting the number of registered campsites to 63 per night. Campers can make a reservation for campsites and all backcountry campers will be required to camp on the specific backcountry campsite or campsites they have registered for.

The cost to camp for one night is $15 for 1-6 people. The maximum number of campers per site is six. Backcountry camping reservations are available six months in advance for May 15 through Oct. 15. Campsites for the remainder of the year are only for sale at the park.

An online reservation is not a backcountry camping permit. Backcountry campers will need to visit one of three stations when they arrive at the park to be issued their backcountry camping permit. Self-registration at the park is no longer offered.