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Official State Park Map & Guide

Guide F A C T

Logs, felled (or cut) from trees prior to 1921 still wash up on the shore of Otsego Lake State Park. Amazingly these logs look brand new!


5 Fun Things to do Today in Your Park Chat it up


Park rangers are the park experts. Take the time to talk with one to get the inside scoop. Before you start your adventure, ask a ranger where their favorite spot is, how long it takes to get there, and why it’s special to them. Their favorite part of the park may become yours too. For more ideas see the Ranger Recommendations article.

Hunt for treasure


if your kids love to hunt for treasure, how about planning a scavenger hunt? While hiking they can learn to identify different plants and trees. Put natural items like acorns and pinecones on your list of things to find. The first one to correctly identify a species checks it off their list. Use this time to talk about keeping the park clean and healthy for the next visitors. For a list of ideas go to



Want to try to merge some technology with your time in the park? Walk one of the many nature trails found in state parks searching for one of the hidden geocaches using your GPS. if you do not have a GPS, teach your child orienteering using a basic compass. Whether you are a seasoned geocacher or new to the game, you are sure to have a great time using GPS or time-honored methods to search for hidden “treasures” in our parks or just to have fun on the trail.


Meet the Locals Snakes

From coastlines to forests, dunes to streams, Michigan state parks and recreation areas provide habitat for many common and rare wildlife species.


Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Found only in the Lower Peninsula, this is the only venomous snake in Michigan. They are shy and usually retreat from a threat (you). They are listed as a “species of special concern” and it is illegal to harm these snakes. Please keep a safe distance.


Attend one of the Explorer Guide programs held at 47 parks. campground hosts also schedule activities for both kids and adults. And be sure to check out one of the nine visitor centers located in the parks that plan programs for all ages.

Burn it off

Eastern Garter Snake This 2 to 4 foot long snake is striped with variable coloration. Most are gray, brown, or greenish with three yellowish stripes down the back and pale white, green or yellow belly. The most common species in Michigan, they feed on earthworms, frogs, toads, tadpoles and small mammals.


consider taking your family on a hike. it is good fitness and it burns up energy. Try wearing a pedometer— an easy way to track your steps—to see how much you walked. The average person takes 2,000 steps to walk one mile. do you walk this much back home?

This large blue or bluegray snake can be 4 to 6 feet long. They inhabit a variety of habitats from open woodlands to marsh edges. Racers are active, climbing bushes and low trees to escape enemies.

Wild Turkey

White-Tailed Deer

common throughout the state, turkeys are identified by their unique tracks and unmistakable gobble. Often found foraging on forest floors, they feed on nuts, seeds, fruits, insects and salamanders.

Fawns may look cute but they should be left alone when found in the wild. chances are the doe is near, watching you. All wild animals fare best in their native habitat.

Great Blue Heron

Raccoons are frequent guests of the campgrounds. Please keep your food and garbage out of reach and don’t feed them.

This large blue-grey bird is often seen wading in shallow water in marshes, ponds and along lakeshores and stream edges. Herons feed on fish, frogs and other small animals, captured by a quick jab of its bill.

Red-Tailed Hawk This well known large hawk can often be seen soaring in wide circles high over a field. in high winds they may face into the wind and hover without flapping, eyes fixed on the ground.

Blue Racer

Get smart




Black Bear Bears are shy by nature, so if you are hiking in the woods the bear will most likely hear you or pick up your scent and run off. Never leave food accessible to bears. Act responsibly when vacationing in bear country, and know what activities are likely to attract them.

Michigan State Parks and Recreation Division maintains over 800 boating access sites around the state and 17 harbors on the Great Lakes. Visit Michigan Recreational Boating Information System (MRBIS).


Simple tips for Great Photos

Make your park memories last with strong outdoor photography. Follow these tips from the managing editor of National Geographic Traveler magazine.


How You can Help Your Park

Leave your park better than you found it by following these few, simple tips. By helping your park today, you will save it for future generations.

Leave No Trace


Get Up Early

We encourage you to practice Leave No Trace when visiting your park or any outdoor trail or area. it is easy to do and allows others to enjoy the park, including animals that call here home. The Leave No Trace Seven Principles are: Plan Ahead and Prepare; Travel and camp on designated Surfaces; dispose of Waste Properly; Leave What You Find; Minimize campfire impacts; Respect Wildlife; Be considerate of Other Visitors. To learn more, visit:

Early morning and late afternoon offer “magic hour” light—rich in tone and low-angled, casting soft shadows that give definition and depth to your subjects. Midday light, on the other hand, casts harsh shadows, flattening your subjects. So get up early to catch the best light. LESSON TWO

Give it Scale

When shooting a mountain, meadow, body of water, snowscape, or other outdoor composition, add a sense of scale by including something of known size—whether a person, cabin, tree, or animal. This gives perspective, helping viewers understand what they’re looking at.

Report Invasive Plants


Tell a Story

Shoot more than just scenery. Also get action shots of your loved ones enjoying the park: hiking, biking, setting up tents, preparing a meal, spreading out a trail map on a rock. Take a variety of wide shots, closeups, and portraits. Such pictures tell the story of your outing.


Keep a lookout for unwanted invasive plants while you enjoy your favorite state park. Help stop them before it’s too late! Japanese knotweed, black swallow-wort and garlic mustard are being targeted in 2010. Help find and control these new invaders. Posters with photos of these plants can be found in the parks. if you see these destructive plants, go to dnr-parkstewardship to help get them removed!


Frame it

Paintings look better when framed, and photo compositions often do, too. Use an element in the foreground—a rock outcrop, doorway, window, person, trees, or branches—to lend depth to your picture. The frame can go along one, two, three, or all four sides of a picture.

More to Explore: • The Ultimate Field Guide to Travel Photography by Scott S. Stuckey (National Geographic Books, 2010) offers many additional photo tips from 15 professional photographers. $21.95; • For more great images of Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas go to the Photo Gallery at

Include the Kids

Each year millions of people benefit from a state park experience, make sure your kids do too! Find one of the Explorer Guides’ programs offered at 47 park locations throughout the summer months. Or consider taking a child fishing. Free Fishing Weekends are June 12

and 13 in 2010 and Feb. 19 and 20 in 2011. children 16 and under do not need a fishing license. don’t forget to check in with your campground host, many of them provide programs for kids and adults.


in the Park We want our dogs to enjoy the park as much as we do, while still preserving others’ experiences:

• Keep your dog on a 6’ leash or shorter • Always clean up after your dog • Keep your dog quiet and calm • All vaccinations must be current • Do not leave dogs unattended





Ranger Recommendations STAYING OVERNIGHT Michigan state parks and recreation areas provide many types of camping, from very rustic backcountry opportunities, to lodges where the visitor may find all the amenities of home in a great outdoor setting. There are over 13,000 campsites ranging from barrier-free paved sites with electricity to wooded rustic sites. LODGES Now located in 12 state parks and recreation areas, these renovated buildings, which sleep six to 22 people, can be found at Tahquamenon Falls, Traverse City, Wilson, Porcupine Mountains, Hoeft, Mears, Fayette, Proud Lake, Highland, Wells, Grand Haven and Twin Lakes. Many are available to rent year-round and come with all amenities. Call for reservations. CAMPER CABINS These popular cabins have crossed the Mackinac Bridge and are now also located at Van Riper, Tahquamenon Falls and Fort

Wilkins. Shoreview camper cabin is new to Black Lake in Onaway State Park. We’ve also added new camper cabins at Proud Lake, Metamora-Hadley, Waterloo, Pinckney, Holland, Orchard Beach, Lakeport, Tawas Point, Port Crescent and Interlochen. Most of the camper cabins are open in the winter, sleep six, have refrigerators and microwaves and are located on a lake or overlooking one.

BACKCOUNTRY CAMPING Camping in the backcountry of Michigan has been a popular activity at the Porcupine Mountains for many years, but now Negwegon, Tahquamenon Falls and Wilderness also offer this exciting and popular camping opportunity. Contact these parks for more information on locations of these sites and the trails to follow to get there.

Pick your kind of overnight stay

A variety of camping options exists here, from the basic backcountry choices, to the lodges, cabins or yurts across our parks. Choose from roughing it to the luxury life—or anywhere in between. YURTS The popular and unique yurts at Pinckney Recreation Area, Craig Lake and the Porcupine Mountains, continue to be a hit with visitors year-round. Waterloo Recreation Area will have a new a yurt at the Green Lake Campground in 2010. Be sure to call ahead for reservations.

HISTORY Sanilac Petroglyphs will be open for viewing on June 26 and August 7 in 2010. These rare Native American engravings of mythical water panthers, deer, a Native American archer and other prehistoric forms are found in a sandstone outcrop that was

discovered after a massive forest fire swept the Lower Peninsula in 1881. Native Americans created this unusual artwork 1,000 to 300 years ago. The petroglyphs provide a glimpse into the lives of an ancient woodland people who once occupied Michigan’s Thumb. Fort Wilkins Historic State Park is a well-preserved 19th century military post and lighthouse complex. Built in 1844 to keep peace during Michigan’s Copper Boom, the fort was abandoned just two years later, and then briefly re-garrisoned in the late 1860s. In a setting virtually undisturbed by modern intrusions, 19 buildings survive, 12 of them dating from the 1840s. Through museum exhibits, audio-visual programs and costumed interpretation, visitors can explore the daily routine of military service, experience the hardships of frontier isolation and discover the life and times of a bygone era. Waterloo Recreation Area’s Gerald Eddy Discovery Center houses more than 300 arrowheads and 100 original tools used by early Native Americans, as well as a mastodon tooth found in one of the local bogs.

FUN THINGS IN THE PARKS William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor is located on the Detroit River and provides fishing along the river and a beautiful walk through a lowland/wetland interpretive area. Bewabic State Park is located on First Fortune Lake, the largest of a chain of five lakes. These lakes

are great for fishing, boating and wildlife viewing. The chain makes an excellent day trip for paddlers. Wilderness State Park has kayak lessons and guided trips through “The Outfitters” of Harbor Springs. For sightseeing and shopping visit nearby Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island. Muskegon State Park is scheduled to open a year-round luge on a wheeled track in June of 2010. Bay City Recreation Area features an “Archery in the Park” program at the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center. Leelanau State Park offers bicycle rentals for riding in and around the park, and Traverse City State Park connects to a bike trail that will take you to the sights and sounds of this great city.

GREAT VIEWS & IDEAS Rifle River Recreation Area has a new accessible hunting blind. When not reserved by the park for hunters it is great for wildlife viewing and photography. Brimley State Park is a great place to watch the ships head to and from the Soo Locks. There are more moose sightings in Tahquamenon Falls than anywhere else in the eastern Upper Peninsula. Tawas Point State Park and Leelanau State Park both offer the opportunity for individuals to stay in the lighthouse and be a lighthouse keeper.

Clear Lake State Park has a lake that is 100 feet deep and is spring fed. This park and surrounding area are great places to look for wildlife, including elk. Yankee Springs Recreation Area has a barrier-free trail. It’s one-half mile of hard surface and wooden boardwalks that cross wooded, wetland and lakeshore habitats ending at a viewing deck and fishing pier on beautiful Gun Lake. Brighton Recreation Area has also added a one-mile barrier-free trail. William Mitchell State Park is the home of the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center. Archery and shooting programs at the pellet gun range are very popular with children. Sleepy Hollow, Fort Custer, Waterloo, Holly and Newaygo state parks all have Disc Golf courses. There are no green fees to play this fast-growing sport, all you need is your state park permit. WILLIAM G. MILLIKEN STATE PARK & HARBOR


Great Campsite Tours Trip 1: Upper Peninsula:

After crossing into the Upper Peninsula from the Mackinac Bridge, you’ll first land at Straits State Park. Here you’ll find postcard-like views of the bridge you just crossed. Spend a night here before driving along scenic MI-123 about 70 miles to Tahquamenon Falls State Park, where the falls are one of the largest falls east of the Mississippi. On your third day, continue west on MI-123 to CR 47 north. At Muskallonge State Park you can spend a night along the Lake Superior coast. Your last day backtrack down CR 47 to the southern shore and take Rt 2 west to Indian Lake. Here you can enjoy one of 145 campsites at Indian Lake State Park. Before bedding down for the night, a quick trip during the daylight hours just west of Indian Lake to Palms Book State Park is a must. A trip to the Upper Peninsula is not complete without a trip on the accessible Kitch-iti-kipi (Big Springs) raft at Palms Book. Over 10,000 gallons per minute gush from the underlying limestone. The raft trip allows visitors to see underwater views through the crystal clear water. Bonus trip: While you are in the area, visit the historic mining town at Fayette State Park only a 30-minute drive from Manistique where you’ll add a day to your trip by staying for the night in one of 61 sites.

Trip 2: Sunrise Coastline: Start your tour with a night at

Bay City Recreation Area so you can visit the Saginaw Bay City Visitor Center

and hike in one of the largest remaining freshwater coastal wetlands on the Great Lakes, the Tobico Marsh. Then tour Michigan’s Sunrise Coastline where you will see the great beaches of Lake Huron. Drive north on Rt 23 and camp for the night at Tawas Point Lighthouse beneath the shadow of the Tawas Bay Lighthouse. In the morning, continue north up the coast about 30 miles to Harrisville State Park, where just a short drive away is Sturgeon Point Scenic Point, home to the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse. Continue your travels to Hoeft State Park in Rogers City, 70 miles north of Sturgeon Point for your last night and enjoy the bicycle trail into Rogers City and find out about the unique history of Hoeft State Park.

What: Receive a $24 credit for reservation fees on your Michigan road trip. Where: Any four parks suggested in the Best Campsite Tours. How: After staying at four of the parks on successive nights in 2010, present your receipts at the last park you visit and a $24 credit will be applied on your credit card.


In 2002, 130 acres of trees were taken down by wind at Fort Custer. Much of that area has now been restored to native prairie. Park visitors can enjoy this important piece of Michigan’s Natural Heritage.

MI10MP // Michigan DNRE Cover Photo: David Kenyon


Great Discount!


Explore either the Upper Peninsula or Michigan’s Sunrise Coastline, sampling several state parks along the way.


Official State Park Map & Guide F A C T Logs, felled (or cut) from trees prior to 1921 still wash up on the shore of Otsego Lake State P...