Reports of increased number of 'disrespectful' Minnesota North Shore visitors trashing campsites

Locals say most people have been great, but there are higher levels of disrespect this year.
North Shore camping

A campsite at Eckbeck Campground in the Finland State Forest along the North Shore. 

Locals in northeastern Minnesota say they're tired of seeing examples of people visiting the North Shore and leaving it a mess. 

Nina Simonowicz of North Shore Visitor wrote on Facebook July 1 what she called an "unpleasant update," saying that while most North Shore visitors have been wonderful, but others have have been disrespectful. 

"Last night someone emptied their camper septic off the side of the road I live on, [2.5 miles from a major municipal campground]," she wrote. "There have been lots of other less disrespectful acts. This one kinda put me over the edge."

The number of daily visitors to the North Shore has rivaled what is typical reserved for holidays, a local tourism expert told the Star Tribune. The DNR's weekly conservation officer reports show that "state parks were checked with near-capacity crowds at many of them" in the Lake Superior area. 

Bryan Hansel, an award-winning landscape photographer, said he's witnessed an "abnormally high level of disrespect shown to the land and people who live here." 

"I've seen remote, small and often unknown campsites just trashed and left for us to clean up. People have been camping wherever they want and just making campfire rings in parking lots," Hansel wrote on Facebook.

"Some dude just camped out in the parking lot of the Fishing Museum the other day for a couple of days. Many of the campgrounds aren't open this year, so you need to plan ahead. You can't just come up and expect to find a campsite this year."

Hansel said he's seen 14-inch white pines chopped down, in addition to visitors digging up trees and hauling them away. Other issues include people failing to pick up dog poop on beaches, parties that leave beaches littered with garbage. 

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Simonowicz echoed Hansel's statement about some visitors being rude, in addition to failing to wear face masks even though Cook County doesn't have any ICU beds, which are critical for vulnerable patients in the event of disease transmission. Simonowicz is urging all future visitors to plan ahead, and use her guidelines: 

  • Don't camp in a closed spot because you didn't plan.
  • Don't yell at the shop owner because they are closing and had to cut off the wait line.
  • Don't curse out the staff for requiring masks.
  • Don't take it out on the front desk because the State Park lots were full.
  • Don't think you can skip precautions because you are on vacation or because we have a small amount of COVID cases.

As of July 6, Cook County, Minnesota's northeastern-most county, has one confirmed case of COVID-19. Neighboring Lake County has six cases, while St. Louis County, which includes Duluth, has 180 cases and 15 deaths. 

"We understand it's not easy for you, but come on, we're all in this together," she wrote. 

Next Up


Mel-O-Glaze, DreamHaven Books robbed at gunpoint minutes apart

The businesses were hit by three robbers just six minutes apart on Oct. 21.

Cambridge house explosion

Explosion destroys house in Cambridge, 5 injured

The explosion occurred early Saturday morning on the 33000 block of Hillary Circle.


Charges: Lyft driver sexually assaulted woman in her home

The defendant is being held on a $100,000 bond.

Pixabay - black bear

Black bear bites professional baseball player in western Wisconsin

The former MSU-Mankato star was bitten in his back.

mickey moore driver's license shared

Beleaguered Ward 9 city council candidate loses Strib endorsement

Mickey Moore has faced questions in recent days about where he actually lives.

CDC biohazard scientist health work

New clue may explain how rare tropical disease sickened Minnesotan

The disease, known as melioidosis, killed 2 people earlier this year.

Sen Mark Koran crop

MN lawmaker encourages donations for locals charged in Jan. 6 insurrection

"They are a good family!" Sen. Mark Koran wrote Friday.


Money Gal Coaching: Mastering the spiritual parts of money

Kelly Blodgett used her passion behind becoming debt free to launch Money Gal Coaching.

University of minnesota sign

U of M will now require proof that employees have been vaccinated for COVID

Previously, only students were required to be vaccinated.


Want snow? They're buried in crazy amounts up north

In some spots, they've have 85 percent more snow this year than last year.

A black bear.

Sheriff's office sees 'significant' increase in bear complaints recently

Natural food sources have been slim, so bears are finding alternatives provided by humans.

snow, tape measure

North Shore dunked on with upwards of a foot of snow

It's not like it's almost May or anything...

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 8.22.02 AM

6 North Shore resorts bought by Minnesota investment group

The investors were only looking to buy one resort, but ended up buying an entire portfolio.

Watch: Dangerous waves crash along the North Shore

Winter Storm Xanto is pounding the Duluth area with huge waves.

Woman killed in 'fluke' North Shore accident was Edina school teacher

Her car fell from a steep driveway as she and a friend tried to release the brake.