Hey, I'm planning a backpacking trip to the Porkies this August and I'm having a bit of hard time finding information about regulations and such and I was wondering if you could help me out there. The main thing I'm wondering is where you can and cant camp in the park and what kind of registration/reservations are required.
yeah, i know what you mean: their website is CRAP! it is tough to know what is going on up there sometimes...
to answer your two biggest questions:
1) you technically are allowed to camp anywhere in the park's backcountry, as long as you are 1/2 mile from all cabins. however, if you do not camp in a designated campsite (they have fire rings), you cannot have a fire. that's about the only big thing. the designated sites are usually pretty sweet though, with nice locations and good views, etc. check out this map (http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/07porkies_backcountry-brochure__map_184899_7.pdf) for better information about the site location and trail mileages, etc. when i hike there, this is the only map i carry
2) in terms of permitting, you need to stop by the park headquarters/visitor center before you head into the backcountry and register your group. the fee is (a rather steep) $14 a night, and you can get a cash refund for any unused nights you paid for. there is no limit, they just want to know who's back there
hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!