The primitive campground at Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area (FWA) will close on March 1 and be converted to wildlife habitat to align with the property’s primary mission.
Factors in the decision to close the 44-site campground include increased operating costs, declining revenue, growing maintenance needs, staffing constraints, fewer users and the availability of other campgrounds nearby.
The DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife, which operates Pigeon River FWA, discussed alternatives to closing the campground, including rate increases, hiring employees to work specifically on the campground, or allowing a private vendor to operate it.
Each alternative included drawbacks and the DNR decided its resources are better used on wildlife management.
Fish and wildlife areas are funded by fishing and hunting license revenue as well as through excise taxes on shooting, archery and fishing equipment, and motor boat fuel.
The Pigeon River Campground was developed years ago when there were few, if any, private campgrounds in the area. There are now almost 40 private campgrounds operating in LaGrange and Steuben counties, plus DNR-managed Pokagon State Park 20 miles away.