If you could spend your summer exploring rustic state forest campgrounds all across Michigan — traveling to these scenic spots in both the lower and upper peninsulas by RV, your best four-legged companion joining to keep you company — would you jump at the opportunity? Would you maybe even propose such a trip to your boss? 

Project Rustic

Paige Lackey, a Huron Pines AmeriCorps service member serving with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, did just that — she came up with this travel idea and proposed it to her team at the DNR. Why? Paige is an outdoor advocate and absolutely passionate about her community and the environment, but this adventure is rooted in something pretty significant and long-lasting for the DNR, too: it’s a way to gather important information about rustic state forest campgrounds that ultimately will help make these experiences more accessible for future travelers. 

To listen to this episode, click on the player at the top of this post. Or, download the episode (and subscribe to the show!) using your favorite podcast app.

Paige talks about her upcoming trek around Michigan — she’ll be traveling with her dog Willow in a 31-foot RV donated by General RV — and how this is a “woman-powered” adventure. Ami Van Antwerp, communications specialist with the Michigan DNR, also joins the conversation — she’s been heavily involved in planning this epic adventure and will be assisting Paige virtually throughout the journey. 

Paige and Willow

Starting next month and throughout summer, Paige is scheduled to visit 77 rustic state forest campgrounds, collecting data along the way that will be managed and analyzed for use in the DNR’s Recreation Search database. The Recreation Search allows visitors to learn more about Michigan state parks and recreation areas (and campgrounds), state forest campgrounds, overnight lodging facilities, nonmotorized trails, park events and much more. This search features filters to search for amenities and activities you are most interested in, such as beaches, equestrian trails, cabins, hiking, mountain biking and others. (More information can also be found at Michigan.gov/StateParks.)

Paige’s UP stops
Lower peninsula stops

MRG will be checking in with Paige throughout her journey. Stay tuned for a future podcast episode midway through Paige’s journey. Learn more about Huron Pines AmeriCorps program here.

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.


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