Saturday, July 7, 2007

20 State Forest Campgrounds Closing

At the peak of the summer season, Michigan is closing 20 state forest campgrounds in the eastern U.P. and the northern lower peninsula. The closures will take effect Monday and last at least through the end of the fiscal year in September, the Traverse City Record Eagle reports.

The closures are a response to a $75,000 cut in this year's appropriation from the general fund.

The DNR press release contains the complete list.

Seventy percent of Michigan's tourism is from Michigan residents. The general fund is state revenue. There is only so much money to circulate. Think of it like the hydrologic cycle and lake levels. Water evaporates, clouds form, rain falls, rivers flow into lakes. Repeat. Business thrives, workers get paid, taxes are collected, the general fund is distributed, campers take holidays and buy stuff in small towns. When the system is in balance and stable, times are good.

But climate change can affect lake levels. Higher water temperatures mean less ice cover in winter and more evaporation year round. Lake levels get lower. And drought does its part. Human activity, decisions, priorities and choices influence the climate.

Now we have climate change, economically speaking. Large businesses leave for cheaper labor, Michigan workers get paid less or lose jobs altogether, local economies struggle, revenues are lower than expected, the general fund shrinks, camp grounds close, mom and pop supply stores up north get less of the green at the very moment they were expecting a seasonal financial boost.

Our economic system is a web of interdependencies and symbiosis. The little guy matters. The candy bar you buy in Marquette could be the dollar that helps a shopkeeper make payroll.

Your smoked fish dinner feeds more than you.