Tag: Michigan State Parks (Page 1 of 2)
Last month, the Michigan State Park System celebrated its 100th anniversary. With 103 parks, there are a lot of places in the state to enjoy natural Michigan. From Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the Western Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in the Detroit River, Michigan State Parks encompass miles of freshwater shoreline, hills, waterfalls, and forests. There is a state park for whatever type of recreation you are looking for.
Mackinac Island was actually the first Michigan State Park as a gift from the Federal Government after a brief stint as the second National Park in the country and became the nation’s first state park (wiki). In 1917, the state of Michigan purchased land to make Interlochen State Park the second state park. By 1919, the Michigan State Park commission was created to “oversee, acquire, and maintain” state parks for the enjoyment of the people. Up until that point, many of the beauties of the state were privately owned and there weren’t places for the average person to go visit in their new automobile (govdelivery.com).
I love how forward thinking the state of Michigan was back in the early 20th century. What else was happening around the country at that time? In 1919, the Grand Canyon became a National Park. Isle Royal, the only National Park in the state, didn’t become a National Park until 1940. Other state park systems didn’t exist until the 1930s.
Back in 2012, I set a goal to visit every Michigan State Park. By my estimation, I have visited 49 so far and I have many more parks to explore! Through my explorations, I have seen some pretty amazing places! Of course, I have shared on here my absolute love of Ludington State Park. I probably visit Ludington more often then some parks which are closer to home. I’ve seen the unique beauty of the big spring at Palms Book State Park. I have witnessed the history of Fort Wilkins and Fort Michilimackinac. Just this past weekend, I camped along the shores of Lake Michigan at Fisherman’s Island State Park. I greatly appreciate the experiences I have had at these wonderful parks and I look forward to many more!
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The fort on the south side of the Straits of Mackinac was constructed by French soldiers in 1716 as a post for the great lakes fur trade. After visiting other early American settlements this summer (Roanoke Island and Jamestowne), Michilimackinac has a different feel. Maybe its that it is a newer settlement (Roanoke was first settled in 1585 and Jamestowne was 1607) but I think the biggest difference was Michilimackinac was originally settled by the French where the other two were British. The French at Michilimackinac had a better relationship with the Natives than the British on the East Coast. The Odawa tribe traded with the settlers and the native-settler narrative was much more positive than what was heard from the British.
In 1761, the fort was transferred to the British and the narrative changed. The local Ojibwe viewed the British policies as harsh. In 1763, as a part of Pontiac’s Rebellion, they formed a game outside the walls of the fort as a ruse to gain entrance. Once inside the fort, they killed most of the British inhabitants and they held the fort for a year before the British regained control and promised to change their relationship with the native people.
Eventually, the British worried that the fort on the mainland was not secure enough. So, in 1781, they built a limestone fort on nearby Mackinac Island. They dismantled and moved the buildings across the straits and whatever was not moved, they burned. In 1960, the grounds of the original fort was named a National Historic Landmark. Today, you can visit a recreation of the fort in Colonial Michilimackinac State Park. You can tour the buildings, learn about the history, and watched costumed reenactments.
To learn more about Fort Michilimackinac, visit MackinacParks.com. Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
On our way back from Port Crescent, we made a stop at the Sanilac Petroglyphs. The petroglyphs are rock carvings attributed to Native Americans and are estimated to be between 300 and 1000 years old. They were discovered in 1881 when a fire swept through the area, burning all the ground coverings. In the top left corner, you can see a chunk is missing from the rock. It is believed that the glyph was actually stolen sometime between the fire and when the first survey was done in 1920. The pictured glyph is known as the “bow man” and is believed to represent a hunter. (Michigan.gov)
While this is an interesting historic location, I would not visit with photography in mind. Its hard to get a good angle to photograph the glyphs and with the pavilion overhead, the lighting is tricky. While I encourage you to check it out and learn about the ancient history of the mitten state, its not the best photo spot in the area.
To plan your visit to the Petroglyphs, visit Michigan.gov. Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.
This past weekend, we ventured out to our first camping trip of the season. We’ve been wanting to check out the Jack Pine campground at Ludington State Park since we discovered it on our first visit to the park several years ago. What really intrigued us about this campground is that it is a hike-in campground a mile from the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. We were really looking forward to this because it would allow us to stay at the lighthouse later and photograph it during blue hour without worrying about our car getting locked in the day use area parking lot. The light didn’t end up being as phenomenal as we were hoping, but it was nice to spend sunset on Lake Michigan. We absolutely loved our campsite (site F). It was secluded and quiet but also close to the road to the lighthouse. One night wasn’t enough. We will have to make plans to stay at this campground again sometime soon!
If any of you are heading to the Jack Pine campground, one tip to know is that the path to the campground is actually a gravel road used to service the lighthouse. They say everything must be backpacked or biked in, but we brought a foldable wagon and it worked great and held more than a backpack would. While Chris’ arm got tired pulling it, I have to think it was easier than carrying everything on his back.
Hartwick Pines State Park is one of the largest state parks in Michigan and is interesting because it is home to 49 acres of old growth pine forest with trees that are estimated to be between 350 and 375 years old. Somehow, these pines that was spared from northern Michigan’s booming logging industry in the 1800s. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps built two buildings to house the Hartwick Pines Logging Museum, which focuses on the history of logging in Michigan, back when Michigan was the largest producer of lumber in the United States.
The above photo shows the Hartwick Pines Chapel, also known as “Chapel in the Woods” which is a popular location for weddings in a natural environment. It is also a great spot for quiet meditation during your exploration of the park.