Sunday, July 2, 2017

Campground Review: Jackie Berger Memorial Park Duquette, MN

I drove east across the top of North Dakota into Minnesota, I have a meet-up in the end of July with my Dad and brothers in Michigan's Upper Peninsula so my plan was to take my time and camp my way there.  Duquette, Minnesota (Pop: 70) is a tiny town in Pine County in north eastern Minnesota that hosts Jackie Berger Memorial Park.  Jackie Berger was a local resident who died on Omaha Beach during World War II's D-day invasion and the park is named in his honor.  Free camping (donation requested) is allowed in Jackie Berger Park and I pulled in in the middle of the week and lucked out and got one of two campsites with electric hookups the park has.

The Park's rustic sign.

For a town of 70 people Jackie Berger Park is very well outfitted with a softball park, tennis courts (bring your own net, apparently) a couple different sets of kid's playground equipment and a covered picnic pavilion.

Pavilion, playground equipment and softball field in the background.

 There is also a series of ATV/hiking trails through the woods that abuts the park.

One of the many hiking trails around the park.
Here's Jackie Berger's data sheet:

Hookups:                                             15, 30 amp                                                                 
Fire ring:                                              Yes                                                     
Water Access:                                     No                                                      
Fresh Water:                                        No                                          
Trash Service:                                      No                                                      
Toilets:                                                Yes (Porta-John)                                                        
Showers:                                             No                                                      
Dump station:                                      No                              
WiFi:                                                   No                              
Level sites:                                          Yes                                         
Laundry:                                              No                                                                  
Store:                                                  No (there’s a general store a block away)                  
Pool:                                                   No                                                      
Shade:                                                Yes                                                     
Verizon reception:                                4G, 1 bar                                                        
Internet reception:                                1 bar                           
Cost:                                                  Free for 4 days (donation requested)  

Willow River runs through the hiking trails and there were fishermen fishing it during my time there (license required).

Willow River from a hiking bridge crossing it.

As I mentioned only two of the 5 or 6 campsites within Jackie Berger Park have access to electricity.  Mine had a conventional hookup box with 30 amp power, the other was a 15 amp socket on a light pole near the tennis court.  Another guy in a camper came in the day after me and utilized the light pole outlet. 

The Mini's shaded site with fire ring and picnic table.

While the camping is free at Jackie Berger Park there is a sign on the pavilion directing campers donations to the one store in Duquette, the Duquette General Store which is about a block from the park.  A lady behind the counter there gratefully accepted my $20 into the donation envelope and told me I'd be surprised at how many campers don't donate at all.  This seems like an awful shame as it's somewhat obvious the town isn't doing that well, economically, like so many of the small towns I travel through, and even a small donation helps defray the park's operating expenses.  I always make a point of donating at parks that request it.

The General Store.  Everything from pork chops to DVD rentals!

Except for occasional trains on nearby train tracks the camping is really peaceful in Jackie Berger Park (no trains after dark).  I really enjoyed getting my daily walks in on the woods hiking trails and overall really liked camping there.  I'll be back!

Thanks for reading!

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