Camp Dearborn has come a long way from the days of Tent Village.
Originally opened in 1948, the city-owned recreation facility in Milford is turning a new corner in camping. Reservations opened June 4 for eight resort-style cabins, which feature a full bathroom, electricity, beds for six, and an outdoor cooking area with a microwave, refridgerator and electric cooktop.
The cabins–which –are booking up fast, according to department Director Greg Orner.
"Thirty percent of the available inventory was booked on the first day," said Orner.
At this time, camp is only booking the cabins for week-long stays, which run $660 for seven nights. If the cabins are not booked, they will open up for daily rental at a rate of $110 per night.
Rates include access to all camp activities and facilities–a fact camp manager Lee Morris touted.
"It's very inclusive," he said. "It's almost like Cancun."
Perhaps a little more rustic, but still with a great location: The cabins sit in a single row along one of the camp's lakes, giving renters a panoramic view.
Morris explained that the upscale cabins were added to meet the demands of a diverse base of customers. While some prefer roughing it, others want to enjoy Camp Dearborn with the amenities of home.
"People's needs change over the years, and we need to change with them," he said. "But camping has increased in its popularity overall."
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the cabins will be held Saturday, June 16, at 11 a.m. The public is welcome to attend, and get a first-hand look at the cabins.
Though the resort cabins will stand out as the most significant change to Camp Dearborn this year, other improvements have occurred, including the addition of free wireless internet at the Canteen. Another change is the removal of the sea wall at Lake 5 in Tent Village, which Morris explained will provide more natural use of the area for swimmers and fishermen.
The changes are part of an overall effort to .
Mayor Jack O'Reilly has said numerous times that while he has looked into selling camp, the city would lose money if it did because the City of Milford will not allow the camp to be rezoned into a more marketable piece of property.
“If we can’t sell it,” O’Reilly said, “it should become a revenue generator for the city.”
As such, the city has pumped money into renovating the camp. It seems to be paying off thus far, as the camp's budget has been in the black since 2006.
Those efforts continued this spring when Dearborn City Council .
It is expected that the contractor will give detailed recommendations for upgrades, changes or rearrangements of the facility in order to make it more appealing to visitors.
Camp Season in Full Swing
Campsites at Camp Dearborn are available May 1-Oct. 31, with the full activity season operating from mid-June through Labor Day each year. The camp offers 191 temporary RV sites, 118 tents, 30 rustic cabins and now the eight resort cabins.
Temporary sites are either full hook-up or electric only and can be reserved by calling either of the camp offices: Dearborn Recreation Department at 313-943-2350 or Milford Camp Office at 248-684-6000.
The camp's facilities–including picnic areas, beach and swimming lake–are also is open to the public daily 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Admission at the gate is $4 per car for residents of Dearborn or Milford, $6 per car for all others and $10 per car for all on special event dates.
Season passes are available for frequent visitors at the rate of $25 for residents of Dearborn or Milford and $35 for the general public.