Yurts Offer New Camping Option for Travelers

PINCKNEY, Mich. (AP) -- A few of Michigan's state parks are offering a new camping option: yurts.
A yurt is a circular tent-like structure with a frame and a durable cover. They're furnished with bunk beds, Booth News Service reported recently, and some come with a wood stove, lake view or free use of a rowboat.
Yurts can be reserved for $60 a night at Craig State Park or Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, both located in the Upper Peninsula, or at Pinckney Recreation Area, in southeast Michigan.
The yurts have a minimal impact on the parks, said Ron Olson, chief of the Department of Natural Resources' Parks and Recreation Division. They can be moved to allow vegetation to grow back on a site.
In the Porcupine Mountains, the state is considering placing them so campers could hike or ski between them, he said.
"Our state parks are clearly where people want to be, in the beautiful environments, the tremendous natural resources and with access to a variety of lakes and streams," Olson said. "This just provides that extra variety people are asking for."
The yurts are one of several alternatives to sleeping on the ground or heading to a motel. Sixteen new two-bedroom "respite cabins" are expected to be added to the rental mix by fall, Olson said.
"We're trying to be creative, trying to be innovative," Olson said. "That's the new philosophy: Be more present-day but preserve our core mission."

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