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August 31, 2010

MADISON - For many campers, the Labor Day weekend marks the last camping opportunity of the summer and Wisconsin state parks and forests are generally bustling with campers.

While many reservable campsites at parks and forests are already booked for the weekend, people looking for a last-minute campsite for the Labor Day weekend or beyond may want to look for a non-reservable campsite, the majority of which are located in Wisconsin's northern state forests.

People interested in camping Labor Day weekend can check the campsite availability on the Wisconsin State Parks and Forest reservation website. Labor Day weekend reservations are for a minimum of three nights and must include Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening. Reservations must be made at least two days in advance, so Wednesday September 1 is the last day reservations can be made for the holiday weekend. In Thursday, September 2, any reservable sites not booked are available first-come first serve.

But more than 1,500 of Wisconsin's 4,600 state campsites are not reservable and are only available first-come, first serve. Most parks have only a small number of non-reservable sites, and they often fill up by Thursday for the weekend. State forests have the largest numbers of non-reservable sites, mostly located in the northern state forests campgrounds: Black River State Forest in Jackson County, the Brule River State Forest in Douglas County, the Flambeau River State Forest near Winter, Governor Knowles State Forest near Grantsburg, Peshtigo River State Forest in Marinette County, and the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest (the most popular of the state forests).

Campers can check with state park or forest offices for current availability, but they will not hold sites for callers. If space is not available at a state park or forest, staff may be able to offer suggestions for other nearby campgrounds.

"Wisconsin's state forests are unsung 'gems' when it comes to camping," notes Angela Jacobs, a forest recreation specialist with the Department of Natural Resources. "It isn't difficult to understand why Wisconsin's state parks are popular with campers. But the state forests also have facilities for campers and can offer outdoor enthusiasts a great experience, and are often less crowded than some of the more popular parks and forests in the more southern areas of the state."

Camping amenities at the state forests will vary, with many forest campgrounds offering more rustic experiences. State Forest campgrounds can be found on the DNR website.

And while Labor Day generally marks the end of summer, Jacobs notes, "that doesn't mean the end to camping in the Badger State. Fall remains a very popular season for park and forest campgrounds as many people venture out to enjoy cooler weather and fall foliage, and the added benefit of fewer mosquitoes."

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Angela Jacobs - (608) 266-5470

Last Revised: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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