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Camp out close to home

This summer has been the busiest one yet for the Sherlock Park Campground in the Red River State Recreation Area at East Grand Forks. "We had an excellent May, but June was slow because of the flood," Park Manager Gladwin Lynne said. "There were ...

This summer has been the busiest one yet for the Sherlock Park Campground in the Red River State Recreation Area at East Grand Forks.

"We had an excellent May, but June was slow because of the flood," Park Manager Gladwin Lynne said. "There were rumors going around that we were closed, but we really only ended up having to close seven campsites down."

Lynne said July so far has been busy, as well. "Last weekend, the campground was almost full," he said. "The Fourth of July wasn't as big as the weekend; it was more like an average day for us. I think this weekend is going to be another big one, though."

This year, the campground added another site, bringing the total to 73.

"We have one new backpack site, where you park your car and then have to walk to get to it," Lynne said.

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There are 46 full-service sites with sewer, water and electricity. The rest of the sites are made for campers who prefer to rough it.

"We also have two sanitation buildings and a new shower building that was just built last July," Lynne said.

Lynne predicts that the campground will stay busy through the beginning of August. "We have reservations for the Minnesota Snowmobile Club and lots of people coming for the East Grand Forks Jubilee coming up in the next couple of weekends," he said.

Lynne thinks that the campground, which opened in summer 2004, is living up to what was predicted for it.

In 2005, the average number of campers per day for the months of June through August was 12.6. In 2006, the number increased to 19.56 per day, according to Lynne.

"I don't have the numbers for this summer yet, since we're still in the middle of it, but I know the averages will be higher," Lynne said. "The low June numbers will obviously bring the average down, but you can't do anything about floods."

"We make back about 60 percent of what our costs are," he said. "Most parks like this only make about 25 percent of their costs, so we are doing well."

"Parks are more of a service to the public and won't ever completely pay for themselves," he added.

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The cost to stay at the campground is $23 a night for the full-service sites and $15 for the standard sites. The new backpack site is only $11.

"There is also the cost of the permit to get into the park," Lynne said. "You can get a day pass for $5 or an annual pass for $25."

The Red River State Recreation Area will have an open house July 22 from 1 to 4 p.m. During that time, you won't need a permit to get into the park.

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