Locals take advantage of Blackwater State Forest for family vacations

By Jody Conrad | Special to the Press Gazette

As the economy slows, some are wondering if family vacations are a thing of the past. Fortunately, many locals have already discovered the plethora of places locally where families can inexpensively get away and enjoy nature via camping.

Whether you own a fancy Class A motor home or a tent, there are many places nearby in the Blackwater State Forest alone. ReserveAmerica.com handles reservations for most American state parks.

Members of the Lawson family enjoy their campsite during a recent trip.

“We have small camper, and we keep it pretty well fully stocked and ready to go,” said Susan Hutzenbuehler, an avid camper. “We can decide at a moment’s notice that we want to get away, and within an hour we’re there.”

Cindy Lawson Reymundo is another avid local camper. She and her husband Johnny recommend keeping a list of camping necessities, including a detailed map of all of the hiking, biking, off-roading, and horseback riding trails.

Both women agree that the beauty of camping is about spending quality time with family and friends and enjoying nature.

“We all need to get away from TV, computers, and cell phones," Lawson said. "There’s nothing like spending the evening playing cards and board games with our grandchildren after sitting around the campfire talking, singing, and guitar pickin.'

Johnny Reymundo and his grandson set up to play a game at their campsite.

“It’s about doing what people used to do, like enjoying each other’s company. Getting away from distractions makes it easier,” she added.

Just north of Munson Highway on Highway 4 is Krul Lake, known to locals as "Munson’s Pool."

“It’s called this because people in this area have always used this lake as the local swimming hole,” Hutzenbuehler said. “Krul Lake offers swimming, but doesn’t allow pets or fishing.”

Randy Hutzenbuehler does what he loves most at Karick Lake.

Another site is Bear Lake, which features great fishing and is pet friendly.

“This is probably the most kid friendly site,” Hutzenbuehler said, “because a wooden walkway connects Bear and Krul Lakes so you can fish and swim, and the wildlife viewing along the walkway is incredible.”

The park’s Hurricane Lake has two camping areas, as does Karick Lake, just a few miles north of Baker. According to Hutzenbuehler, “Karick has a stocked fishing pond, nice docks, is shaded and quiet, and the wildlife viewing is fantastic.”

Karick Lake has its own fishing pier visitors can use.

“It’s all about the experience and what you make it of it. Go simple or go gourmet, but get outdoors and have some fun,” Lawson added.