Field Guide: Summer 2023

Exploring Michigan: Tips, trends, and tidbits
Ludington Lighthouse
Photo courtesy of the Ludington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Remote Paradise: On Isle Royale National Park, beyond Michigan’s northernmost Keweenaw Peninsula in chilly Lake Superior, visitors may encounter more wildlife — such as moose and gray wolves — than visitors. That’s due to its rugged 45 miles of backcountry wilderness and the fact that you can only get there by ferry or seaplane, from Copper Harbor or Houghton. One of the least-visited national parks, an average island stay is 3.5 days, compared to roughly four hours at most other national parks. During the park’s seven-month public season in 2022, rangers recorded 25,454 visits, with August being the busiest month. Those numbers are up from the 14,038 reported in 2008. In comparison, the Blue Ridge Parkway recorded more than 15 million visitors, or about 40,000 per day in 2022. The island’s “remote location makes it a place only a few visitors ever reach. But those who do visit come back again and again. That’s a testament to the beauty of the park’s land, water, and wildlife,” says Visit Keweenaw Executive Director Brad Barnett.

Cool City Stop: The DNR’s Outdoor Adventure Center, located on Atwater Street along the Detroit Riverwalk near downtown, offers plenty of entertaining exhibits and activities that expose visitors to fun things to do in Michigan, especially at state parks. More than 20 interactive displays focus on ways to enjoy nature and outdoor adventures. Some of the offerings include archery lessons, boater safety classes, and youth and senior programs. The spacious three-story facility is a great year-round destination, especially for kids.

– Compiled by Ron Garbinski

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