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Published May 28, 2012, 05:20 PM

Year Off to Good Start at Grahams Island

GRAHAMS ISLAND (WDAZ-TV) - A popular Lake Region camping destination is experiencing an early spike in traffic after a tough year last year.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

GRAHAMS ISLAND (WDAZ-TV) - A popular Lake Region camping destination is experiencing an early spike in traffic after a tough year last year.

Road construction and rising water kept many campers away from Grahams Island last year. But this year it's a different story.

Only half as many visitors came to Grahams Island last year as the year before, but if Memorial Day weekend is any indication, 2012 will be a rebound year for the park.

"Summer is just starting and it started off with a bang. We didn't know what to expect," Devils Lake State Parks Manager Henry Duray said.

Duray was worried this year's numbers would mirror last year's, but campers are pulling in in droves.

"This weekend we were full and that was good and I'm looking at our reservations for next weekend, and I see they're all full," Duray said.

Duray attributes last year's decline to travel difficulties. The park is on an island, and there's only one road in or out. The road is in the process of being raised to escape the rising Devils Lake. But it's not paved, which still poses challenges.

"This is probably the worst I've seen it is this weekend. Last year it was paved. The water got pretty close to the center line, just a couple of really windy weekends," camper Jodi Hebl said.

Duray urges drivers to take it easy as crews finish the road.

"A $15 million project and you can't do it overnight. So it takes time and people need to be patient," Duray said.

But the road didn't bother campers this weekend. They were too busy enjoying everything Grahams Island has to offer.

"They have the playground facility for children. They have programs on weekends for them, activities for them. Besides I think it's the greatest fishing spot in North Dakota," camper Gerald Knute said.

The park may be booked this weekend but you can still get a camping spot. They only reserve half of the park's camping spots. The others are first-come first serve.

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